Jack Manning, CSOM ’20, was awarded the Boston College Strong scholarship at a ceremony Monday morning sponsored by two survivors of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. The scholarship was presented by Patrick Downes and Jessica Kensky, both BC ’05, both of whom lost at least one leg in the aftermath of the bombings. Manning, who lost a leg to cancer 10 years ago, is the first recipient of this scholarship award.
“Jack [Manning] is the ultimate complement to the BC community,” said University Spokesman Jack Dunn.
The BC Strong scholarship award is designed to reward exceptional individuals in the BC community who also live with physical disabilities. Although Manning now uses a prosthetic, he played both football and baseball at Roxbury Latin School, while also biking in the 192-mile Pan Mass Challenge two years in a row. Additionally, he is often seen lifting weights in the Flynn Recreation Complex.
When Downes and Kerensky, supported by many of their friends both spiritually and financially, decided to pay forward the outreach and support they have received from the BC and Boston communities, they said that Manning was exactly the type of person they were looking for.
“To find someone like Jack, who is part of that next generation of BC students, to see all the things he decides to explore, we are incredibly excited to invest in him,” Downes said.
Kensky, who married Downes just seven months before the bombings, added, “Once we met Jack, it felt like it was a perfect fit. And while every candidate going forward will mean a lot to us, there is something extra special about Jack.”
Not only does Manning maintain a 3.75 GPA while working 12 hours per week at Hillside, but he also mentors young children who face amputation as a result of cancer. This service, Downes and Kensky said, was another contributing factor as to why Manning was selected for the scholarship. As of now, the scholarship fund has received more than $400,000 in donations from nearly 1,000 supporters.
“The support we’ve received has been amazing, and I can’t even wrap my head around what he’s been through,” Kensky said. “He still turned out to be this amazingly well-adjusted person who is kicking butt in school and finding time for work. He’s the exact right person for this.”
“It’s almost hard to put into words what this means to me. I’m eternally grateful to Patrick and Jessica and everyone involved,” Manning said. “Thank you.”
Featured Image by Lee Pellegrini / University Communications