James Manifold Weighs Anchor

by Ann Mayhew '13

James Manifold

Not many people can say that they have seen almost half of the alumnae of Scripps College graduate.

James Manifold, who retires this June as the College’s vice president of business affairs, is one who can.

Manifold joined the Scripps team in 1982 as treasurer, after teaching accounting at Claremont McKenna College and serving as director of finance and administration for the House Institute in Los Angeles. He was promoted to his current position in 1988. For nearly three decades, he has played an essential role in the progress of Scripps during a period of significant growth and expansion and helped make Scripps the strong, nationally recognized institution it is today.

Although Manifold works with the school’s finances, he is most proud of accomplishments that don’t concern money — even if the school’s endowment did increase 12-fold during his tenure to close to $270 million today. As Manifold would say, “That’s a number to be admired.”

What pleases him most is the expansion of the campus from Columbia Avenue to Dartmouth Avenue, which includes the purchases of Steele, Garrison, and the Lang Arts Building. Under Manifold’s influence, the College has renovated almost all of the major campus structures, including Elizabeth Hubert Malott Commons, the Performing Arts Center, and Vita Nova Hall, and added three new structures: the Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Residence Hall, Tiernan Field House, and the Lincoln Ceramic Art Building. The size of the campus increased by 20 percent, with 100,000 square feet of new academic and co-curricular space — all done with a respect for Scripps’ distinctive architectural and landscape heritage.

Even with all the new construction, Manifold’s favorite spots on campus tend to be historic: Margaret Fowler Garden, the Clark Hall living room, and Turtle Court in Browning Hall.

It was under Manifold’s direction that the College installed a computerized irrigation system in 1990, igniting the College’s drive toward innovative sustainability efforts. He also oversaw the reduction of $20 million in deferred maintenance.

To many at Scripps, Manifold is the campus’s leading tour guide; it is almost de rigueur for every new College employee to take a stroll through campus with Manifold, who points out the history and details of campus buildings and grounds with delightful wit and encyclopedic knowledge.

“It’s rare for someone to stay with a job this long,” he says. “The pleasure of doing so is seeing the fruits of my labor — the options for the future — being exercised.” However, he says he will miss all of his dedicated colleagues: the students, faculty, and staff.

So, where will we find him next year, peacefully retired?

“I grew up on the water,” the former U.S. Coast Guardsman says, “so now that I will have the time, I am really looking forward to some sailing trips.”

Bon voyage to a man who has made a lasting contribution to excellence at Scripps College.


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