Manken Family Scholarship

Manken Family Scholarship

Very few students were aware of the Manken Family Scholarship before scholarship awards for 2013-2014 were announced, but that soon changed. Following Dr. John R. Manken’s death in 2012, CLU received the largest scholarship bequest in its history. Since that time, hundreds of students have received the Manken Family Scholarship to assist them in their academic pursuits.

John R. Manken grew up in Pacific Palisades. His father John H. Manken owned a thriving plumbing business and his mother kept the books. Together John and Augusta Manken gave their only child a firm foundation in the Lutheran faith, a penchant for discipline and hard work, and an appreciation of the fine arts. They believed that a good education was something to be achieved through diligent study rather than received as a right. With strong parental backing, John earned several degrees at the University of Southern California, including bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music and a doctorate in educational administration.

It was the Ed.D. that ultimately directed John R. Manken’s professional career, first in the classroom and soon as a school principal. In 1993, after 40 years of distinguished service in elementary education, Dr. Manken retired. He then devoted the same energy and attention to maintaining his home, his investments, his social entertaining and his love of art treasures.

John was first introduced to California Lutheran University by Mrs. Josephine Bell, whose father had baptized John and whose husband had been professor of biology in CLU’s early years. It was Josephine’s collection of rare books by Martin Luther and John Calvin that inspired John’s first gift to the college—oak bookcases for the library. Through the sale of property in Kern County, Dr. Manken created a charitable gift annuity which enabled CLU to launch the scholarship in his name soon after his death. But it was his long-range estate planning and wise investing that ultimately created the generous scholarship endowment.

Even though John had been an only child, the sense of family was very important to him. Raised during the Depression years, his work ethic demanded much of him; he expected nothing less from those who worked with and for him. Having received a college scholarship himself, he felt that he should do the same for others. In establishing the criteria for the Manken Family Scholarship, John designated the scholarship for students majoring in bioengineering, physics, mathematics, religion and education (specifically, the teaching credential program).

What a marvelous gift his bequest proved to be. If only the future recipients could have met him in person to thank him.