A dormitory in New College East will be named Mannion Hall following a “major gift” from Martin Mannion ’81 and his wife, Tristin Mannion, per a University announcement. The dorm will open in the fall of 2022, along with the rest of the new residential college.
New College East and its neighboring residential college New College West will provide housing for 500 additional students, expanding the student body by 10 percent. Martin Mannion said he hopes that Mannion Hall and the increased student population it facilitates will result in more equitable educational opportunities.
“[It’s] all about access,” he wrote in an email to The Daily Princetonian. “Princeton is the richest University in the world, and can provide incredible opportunities to deserving students who may not be able to afford to come otherwise. By increasing class size and facilities, more kids will get a chance.”
Martin Mannion is the son of Irish immigrants and grew up in a “fifth-floor Bronx tenement,” according to his statement in the University’s press release. He traces much of his future success back to his experience at Princeton University.
“I had a great experience at Princeton. I was lucky to get an incredible education from an impressive faculty, played basketball for a hall of fame coach, and made lifelong friends, and I watched two of our kids attend the University and have similar experiences,” he wrote. “Princeton, along with my high school, set me on a path that was not the usual course for someone where I grew up.”
Mannion graduated from Princeton with a degree in economics. He was a systems engineer with IBM and later earned his MBA from Harvard Business School. He worked as a chief operating officer, chief investment officer, and managing director at Summit Partners, and he is now Summit’s senior advisor and chair of the board of managers.
Tristin Mannion previously worked as an attorney at Deutsch Williams and Peabody & Brown. She is currently an adviser for the Martin J. & Tristin Mannion Charitable Trust, a member of the board for VIA Art Fund, as well as the vice-chair and trustee for Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art. She is also a trustee for both the Buckingham Browne & Nichols School and the Phillips Academy.
She similarly hopes that Mannion Hall will lead to more educational access.
“Supporting efforts to expand student access and affordability is important to us, due to our own experiences as students who received financial assistance,” she said in the press release. “As a parent of Princeton students, I appreciate the transformative impact of a Princeton education and want to help extend those opportunities to more students.”
The Mannions are involved in many other charitable organizations. Martin Mannion is the chair of the boards of Berklee College of Music and Up Education Network, an educational nonprofit in Massachusetts. He is also a trustee for Regis High School in New York City and on the board of Rockefeller Capital Management.
Despite their extensive philanthropic work, there has never been a building named after the Mannions, until now.
“We have been very fortunate and have been able to donate to a number of philanthropic causes, but shied away from naming opportunities. But as we thought about it, what better place to have a legacy asset named after our family?” Martin Mannion wrote.
“Maybe someone will see that and realize that anything is possible. And maybe someday a descendant of ours will be on campus and see what the school meant to us,” he continued.
For Martin Mannion, this donation represents a way to express his gratitude to the University.
“We’ve been very lucky and there are lots of people that I want to thank for investing in me. [It’s] important to say thanks, particularly in [today’s] environment, and this is our way of thanking some of the folks that believed in me many years ago,” he wrote.
In the University press release, President Christopher L. Eisgruber ’83 commented on the significance of the Mannions’ donation.
“Tristin and Marty Mannion are philanthropic leaders in the effort to expand student access from kindergarten through college,” he said.
“Recognizing the transformational impact that a Princeton education can provide, they have been thoughtful partners as the University expands and enhances its residential college system to support a greater number of talented students. We are deeply grateful to Tristin and Marty for their generosity and look forward to the opening of Mannion Hall,” Eisgruber said.
Naomi Hess is a news editor emerita who focuses on university policy and alumni affairs. She can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @NaomiHess17.