|Source: North Manchester Journal, August 17,
Rev. and Mrs. Otho Winger are here
from Bloomington on a visit with her parents, Amos B.
Miller and wife. Mr. Winger was formerly a college
student here but is now completing his course at the
Source: News-Journal, May
AUTO PRESENTED TO PRESIDENT WINGER
A more tangible expression of North
Manchester's appreciation of President Otho
Winger's many years of service as a leading
citizen was made Friday in the presentation to him of a
new, marooned colored DeSoto automobile. It came as a
complete surprise to Pres. Winger and he was quite
overcome. The presentation was made at the conclusion of
the Senior Recognition Day Program Friday morning.
President Winger was guided to the front steps of the
administration building where a crowd was gathering with
Coach Carl Burt as master of ceremonies. Dean Carl Holl
paid tribute to the president for his service to the
college, and City Attorney Raymond Brooks expressed an
appreciation for the townspeople. then as E.W. hearn
drove the automobile which had been concealed near the
boys' dorm, out on the walk in front of the steps,
Robert Stauffer presented Winger with the set of car
The thought of the presentation came when it was
discovered that Pres. Winger was bargaining for an old
second-hand Ford. A committee was quickly organized with
Carl Burt as chairman, consisting of E.W. Hearn, Robert
Stauffer, Ad Urschel and Clay Syler, to raise funds to
purchase a new car. A canvass of citizens, members of
the faculty and business men readily produced the
necessary funds for a new DeSoto, equipped with a
heater, and full coverage insurance for a year.
Source: NMHS Newsletter Feb 2006
Otho Winger and
It's reasonable to
think of Otho Winger as a part of Manchester College. I
personally doubt if Manchester College would be a living
- and important - part of North Manchester today if Otho
Winger had not come to College in the fall of 1898, and
had not agreed more than a decade later to become the
When Otho came as a
student the College was primarily a Bible School and an
academy or high school. The Church of the Brethren was
not supportive of education but Otho likely came
primarily to prepare to be a minister in the Church. The
tuition was a bit more than a dollar a week and board
and room cost less than two dollars a week. During the
four years he was in College there were four different
presidents. One of the four was L. D. Ikenberry and,
although Otho was very impressed with him he had no idea
that the two of them would work together to build
Manchester College for thirty years.
But the College was in
a desperate financial condition. The trustees owned the
institution and they had given all the money they could
but there was still heavy debt. Something had to be done
or the institution would be forced to close. Otho Winger
offered to solicit money among the Brethren. Here is his
description of that experience:
"In the middle of the
year I quit my studies and started out. It was a
different thing then than now to solicit money for a
college among the people of the Church of the Brethren.
Many of them were not sympathetic. Not many had ever
given to the college cause. In fact, giving was not
insisted upon very much anywhere. I began my work in
Huntington County. It was in the dead of winter; the
snow was deep; there were no automobiles to take one
from place to place. Sometimes I might have gotten
somebody with a horse and buggy to take me, but not many
people were willing to do this. So I proceeded on foot
from house to house and asked folks for money to help
save Manchester College. My success was not very great.
Here and there I secured a ten-dollar donation, but not
much more than that. ... I remained out until the close
of the winter term. I secured only a few hundred
dollars, but every bit added to the possibility of the
sucess of the venture. I received some very good
training for the soliciting I was to do in later years."
After finishing a
Master's degree at Indiana University in 1907 Otho
Winger was called to come to Manchester College to teach
history and education. The first term he taught history
and education and also classes in English, Latin and
philosophy. For the next three years he taught thirty
hours a week in several departments but had no
administrative duties. Meantime, a new president had
been chosen and Otho was chosen as the vice-president.
The new president remained only one year.
These are Otho Winger's
words to describe what happened next:
"I shall never forget
the night the trustees called me in and said I had been
selected President of the college. I frankly told them I
didn't think they had selected me because I was best
fitted for the presidency but because they thought I was
about as well fitted to break my neck trying as anyone
else they knew of. I knew the situation and outlook for
the school were not good, but I did not know it all.
Could I have foreseen what would have to go through, I
would certainly have refused, and yet after thirty
years, seeing the development and progress of the
institution, I am glad to have had something to do with
it in one of its most trying periods."
That first year was
critical. Otho continued to teach a heavy load. Each
weekend he solicited money among the churches. Any
letter he had to write himself since the school had no
money to hire a secretary. Opening day everyone was
happy to learn that about 125 were enrolled. But tuition
was about $15 a term.. the dormitories were not filled.
L.D. Ikenberry was the treasurer and he tried to keep
down the expenses and the year closed without a deficit.
In 1911 arrangements
were made to build a gymnasium. Professor L. D.
Ikenberry acted as architect and manager. The town
businesses and the faculty were solicited for money and
students gave some money but far more work hours.. Now
and then a school holiday for half a day gave time for
work by faculty and students. Soon there was a gym big
enough for basketball. This building later became the
Biology building and even later was used by maintenance
before it was demolished. It was the first of several
buildings built during the Winger years.
The second made it
possible to have a central heating plant built in 1914..
then in the summer of 1915 a Science Hall.. giving a
whole room to chemistry and another for biology. It also
housed agriculture classes and practical crafts such as
woodworking. This building became the library and, more
recently the Communications building. Enrollment of
women was increasing and in 1916 a wing of Oakwood Hall
was built which also included a dining hall.
In the midst of the
expansion, which included increasing enrollments, war
came and attendance declined as men entered the war. And
a very different crisis faced the College.. The flu came
to campus. School was closed for four weeks.. Most of
the students stayed on campus since the situation in
their home areas was no better. At its worst there were
65 cases on campus and few well enough to care for them.
President Winger spent most of his time trying to do
what was possible for the men. Two of the students were
faithful help for the women. Four students died: three
at their homes and one on campus.
Soon after the flu
experience, the armistice was announced and that
demanded a special celebration. A new bell had just
arrived destined for the Mission Chapel. It was still in
a crate. No one asked permission: it was quickly loaded
on a truck which drove through the streets of town that
whole day and far into the night, students ringing the
bell to express their joy.
After the experience
with the flu, there are increased concern about medical
care on campus. Donors gave money to buy a house close
to the campus to be used as a hospital. Then a full-time
physician was employed with an office in the hospital.
Many students were treated there. When the hospital was
closed the building was used in the Home Economics
department as a home management house
and in the early '70s it became Aafro house before it
was sold to a private owner.
In 1919 a church as
built on the west side of town called the Mission
chapel. Students had been having Sunday schools in
private homes for several years. Money was solicited to
build a church and equip it and it was used for a number
of years for a variety of religious services.
By this time the
enrollment had reached 500 and buildings were crowded.
After much discussion it was decided to join the College
Hall and the Bible buildings and call the large building
that would be formed the Administration Building. Begun
in the summer of 1920, it was dedicated in January 1921.
A former governor of Pennsylvania and former president
of Juniata College (a sister college to Manchester),
gave the address. This building more than doubled the
classroom space. Then the size of Oakwood Hall was
doubled in 1926.
The gymnasium had been
too small for some time and in 1926 a new combined
gymnasium-auditorium. Work was begun in August and by
the first of January they were playing games in the new
building. Winger reported that "this entire building,
heated and seated, cost us less than $60,000." A women's
gym was added twelve years later. The Goshorn Chemical
Laboratory was erected with funds given originally by
George Goshorn of Clay City to his home church with the
condition that if that church ever closed, the money was
to be used by his brothers as they saw fit.
So it came to
Manchester. Meantime, more land was
purchased, little by little as it became available until
the campus reached the Eel River and included the
Winger describes how
these buildings were built with the limited funds
available to the College. L. D. Ikenberry was "a
practical builder and helped to supervise most of the
buildings that had been erected." No architect was used.
Local artisans were used under Ikenberry's direct
supervision. He also purchased the materials and, at
least on one or two occasions purchased used bricks.
It was not until the
1920s that the College took on a strong aura as a
college. Dean V. F. Schwalm and Professsor A. W. Cordier
received their Ph. D. degrees from the University of
Chicago, and C. Ray Keim, also with a Ph. D. from
University of Chicago, joined the faculty. Charles
Morris joined the faculty in 1926 though he did not have
a Ph. D. until 1930. Dr. Schwalm left to become
President of McPherson College. Carl Burt and Robert
Stauffer led a strong program in athletics and physical
education. George Beachamp who came to the faculty in
1929 had the ability and the enthusiasm to take
Manchester to the front in debating and built up one of
the largest debating tournaments in the United States.
Professor Paul Halladay
came in 1928 and led the music department in achieving a
strong postion. When Mt. Morris ( a sister institution )
was forced to close we gained only one professor, O. W.
Neher, and he added strength to the biology department.
Many other strong professors with Ph. D. degrees were
added: Lloyd G Mitten in commercial, Robert H. Miller in
Bible, O Stuart Hamer in education along with Nettie N.
Leasure in 1936 and Samuel L. Flueckiger in music. Dr.
Lucille Carman came as staff in the hospital and Harry
Weimer came in 1938. So from a small beginning, the
College had a faculty of more than forty members, twelve
with a Doctor's degree and even more who were well
prepared, by the end of Winger's tenure.
Attracting students was
a critical aspect of growth. In 1911 the number of
students was very low; there had to be more if the
College was to survive. As Winger described that summer
he said, "If I could have worked more hours of the day,
I would have done so." On enrollment day, he was keenly
anxious. At the end of the day there were one hundred
twenty-five registered; the largest enrollment for
several years. From that time forward, it was a steady
climb. Faculty and students were strong boosters. The
new buildings helped. By 1917 it was more than 550. In
1923 there were l,015. Near the end of his presidency he
claimed more than ten thousand different students had
been enrolled during his time here. The academy closed
in 1923 and after that all the students had regular
college standing. At the same time the alumni group was
increasing and spreading strong support for the College.
A more formal
recognition of the College required a significant
increase in the endowment. In June of 1919, the minimum
was reached and the State declared Manchester a standard
college. But the North Central Association raised the
requirement to five hundred thousand dollars. After a
major effort that goal was reached in 1924. The next
goal was to obtain membership in the North
Central Association. The administration asked for a
survey in 1931 and were very uneasy about the results.
President Winger reported that "It was one of the
happiest moments of my thirty years when it was
announced at the meeting (of the North Central
Association) that Manchester had been admitted to the
And so, as Winger
writes, "the years went by." He found no place to
"slacken pace." "Really, I never knew how to be
president of a small college like Manchester without
doing a lot of work."
But he was finally
slowed by illness. In 1936 he developed a serious
infection back of his eye. It formed a dangerous pocket
of pus. They tried to keep him in the hospital until it
could be done but he refused, did some high school
commencement addresses, but it continued to worsen. He
lost one eye: it was removed in spring, 1938. This
experience became a turning point for him. His
statement: "I began to realize that I had had a serious
sickness that, combined with my age, had greatly
weakened my constitution." In 1940 he had an attack of
In September, 1940 he
prepared his last report to the Trustees. His
resignation took effect as the end of that school year.
In that year he wrote "Memories of Manchester" from
which these materials have been taken. During the busy
years as president he had also written other books among
which was a History of the Church of the Brethren in
Indiana and a series of little books about Indian
history in the local area.
In 1945 he wrote "And
now I am old and tired. There are still things I long to
do but I cannot. I have done my best for my church, my
school and my family and for God. I will try to be
Otho Winger died August
13, 1946 and his funeral sermon was given by Dr. Vernon