Born in 1915, Manning was born and raised in Drew and attended MDCC from 1933-1935, which was Sunflower Junior College at that time.
"At that time they were very strict. There was a high school connected to the school and younger students with discipline problems were sent there," said Manning.
Despite the administrators being strict, Manning still managed to pull a few pranks during his time there.
"I used to take a pan full of water to my room to shave because so many of us wanted to shave at the same time. I started to put that pan on top of the door and my friends walking through the door got baptized," he said with a smile as he described the pan falling from the door and soaking his friends.
Manning said during that time many of the attending students had trouble paying for school.
"Most of these boys were from the hills and didn't have the money to go to school," he said.
Manning said one administrator made all the efforts possible to ensure students were able to pay for school by finding jobs for those students.
That administrator's name was J.S. Vandiver, MDCC superintendent and president from 1918-1935.
Manning said the work-study positions were always so filled up that he was unable to apply.
"I couldn't apply for a job my first year because I had appendicitis and my mother didn't want me to and so we had to pay for the school year. When I went to Mr. Vandiver he held up a stack of papers and saying he had 19 applications already and he knew my parents could get me through. He did everything he could to make sure the students who couldn't go to school could. If you don't write anything you write that," Manning said.
"He made jobs for students and he helped those students go to school," he said.
Manning said he chose to stay connected to the school because "it's a wonderful school and so many people went there that couldn't have gone anywhere else.”
Debbie Gantz, director of alumni relations at MDCC, said, "Several alumni wanted to honor him because he's been such an active supporter of the school as well as an active member of the alumni association. It's for his dedication and years of service for the alumni association."
Gantz said Manning is the oldest alumnus of the school he is truly worthy of the recognition.
“Mr. Manning truly loves the college and we are honored to recognize a man who has supported the institution and the alumni association for many years,” said alumni director Debbie Gantz. “Mr. Manning always talks about the impact that the college had on this life, particularly then president J. S. Vandiver.”