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Endicott College names arts center for Rockport resident

By Wendy Killeen
Globe Correspondent / July 19, 2012
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A GIFT OF ART: Endicott College in Beverly recently named its center for the arts  in honor of Walter J. Manninen  of Rockport.

In making the announcement, college president Richard E. Wylie  thanked Manninen for his generous commitment to the college.

“Walter has donated his renowned art collection to the college, consisting of more than 200  works by important American artists with connections to Cape Ann and Massachusetts, including many pieces by acclaimed artist Theresa Bernstein,”  Wylie said. “His deferred gift, including the art collection, is valued in the millions of dollars. To honor Walter’s vision, his generosity, and his passion for the arts, Endicott is both pleased and proud to name the college’s new art center the Walter J. Manninen Center for the Arts, and endow a chair in the fine arts in his name.”

The arts center opened in January 2009,  and has since received thousands of visitors each year for theater, music, art exhibitions, gallery talks, and a variety of events and programs.

Wylie said the collection donated by Manninen “elevates our increased desire to be a major source of art on the North Shore and to be a resource to the community and region. Mr. Manninen’s generosity demonstrates his commitment to education and the arts.”

An entrepreneur, Manninen first served as chief financial officer and then as president and chief executive officer of CXO Media Inc.,  a company that published magazines for senior managers in the fields of marketing, technology, and security. He also has 10  years of experience in banking as a treasurer and loan officer.

In 2004,  Manninen was nominated for an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.  He is also the recipient of the International Data Group’s Chairman’s Award for Entrepreneurial Leadership.  He joined the staff of the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center’s Northeast office  in 2005.  He earned a bachelor’s degree from Salem State   and a master’s degree in business administration from Suffolk University. 

Manninen has served as treasurer of the Rockport Art Association,  and remains an active contributing member for its major exhibitions.

The Walter J. Manninen Center for the Arts  is a 62,000-square-foot  building that supports a variety of arts studies and performance venues with facilities that include a 250-seat  recital hall; a 100-seat  black box theater; galleries for visiting art exhibitions, gallery talks, and community shows; a student art gallery; separate painting, photography, printmaking, ceramics, and woodshop studios; computer labs for graphic design and visual communications; music and drama practice and rehearsal rooms; a photography studio; and offices and student and faculty lounges with facilities for public receptions.

WHO’S WHAT WHERE: Arthur Epstein  is being honored at Cohen Hillel Academy’s annual gala Aug. 19 at the Boston Opera House  with the Dr. Bennett I. Solomon Community Leadership Award.  Epstein was instrumental in organizing the building fund for the school’s site adjacent to the Jewish Community Center of the North Shore in Marblehead, and his commitment and direct support of the school’s learning center has enabled Cohen Hillel to further serve its students by meeting their individual needs, building skills and encouraging all learners to take on new challenges, according to the announcement on the award. Raised in Malden and a graduate of Boston University, Epstein is chairman of Cohen Hillel’s board of trustees, and has contributed his time, expertise, leadership, and resources to the Jewish Federation of the North Shore,  Congregation Shirat Hayam,  North Shore Medical Center,  the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation,  Jewish Family & Children’s Service,  and Boston Children’s Hospital  . . . Susan Wollitz,  a longtime resident of Amesbury and vice president of human resources at the Provident Bank,  has been elected president of the Rotary Club of Amesbury.  An active Rotary Club member for the past four years, Wollitz will set goals and provide leadership for the 39-member chapter. She is also a member of the Amesbury Chamber of Commerce’s  annual golf tournament committee, and a volunteer at Best Foot Forward.  She began working at the Provident Bank as a teller, and has managed its human resources department for 16  years.

Wendy Killeen can be reached at wdkilleen@gmail.com.

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