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Paying it forward

A daughter honors her father with a scholarship that keeps on giving

After John Manning was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and told he had just a few months to live, his daughter, Nancy Wick, spent those months caring for him and learning from his example.

“He had a lot of integrity and honesty. He would tell you how it was,” Wick says of her father. “He showed that integrity throughout his whole life—even when he was sick. He never wallowed. He was always upbeat and positive.”

Manning, who died a little over a year ago at age 61, grew up in Kentucky in a family of nine children and served in the Army for four years. He moved his family to Minnesota from Maine when Wick was a child and worked at a large accounting firm before establishing his own company focused on helping small businesses.

When she received an inheritance following her father’s death, Wick says she carefully considered what to do with the money. “I feel like I’ve had a blessed life, and I wanted to ‘pay it forward.’

“I wanted to establish a legacy in my father’s name—one that would live forever,” she says. “I wish my father could have, but it’s the next best thing.”

Wick, who was working at the University of Minnesota as a business analyst at the time of her father’s death, created the John M. Manning Endowed Fund to support female medical students at the University who are studying to be oncologists and who have lost a parent to cancer. “I picked oncology because my father died of cancer. I’d love to see the day when cancer doesn’t exist,” she says.

Proud owners of three Bengal cats, Wick and her husband, Tom, also created a fellowship through the University’s College of Veterinary Medicine to benefit feline medicine.

Wick says she’s hopeful that her scholarships will benefit women working in these fields and that it will inspire them to support others in the future. “I hope that when they are at a point in their life when they could pay it forward, they will,” she says.

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