He’s Helping to Write a New Chapter for Northeastern’s Library

Peter G. Manson, DMSB’65, fell in love with libraries at a young age. His early childhood memories are of weekly class trips to the local branches near where he grew up, first in Waban, and then in Weston, Massachusetts. He can still recall the specific routes taken, the streets and landmarks along the way, and the librarians reading to his class.

Today, when Manson shares his Northeastern story, including the reason for his ongoing support of the Northeastern University Library, his enthusiasm is just as expressive. It is clear Northeastern has filled his life with intellectual curiosity and growth, and that his sustained involvement as an alumnus and donor brings him great joy.

“Northeastern was my first choice then and would be my first choice now.”

—Peter G. Manson, DMSB’65

His Northeastern Journey

During his high school years, Manson worked a summer job at the American Mutual Liability insurance company. There, he met Eustis Wolcott, a vice president at the company who also served as a member of Northeastern’s Corporation. Wolcott recommended that Manson apply to the university. After graduating from Weston High School in 1960, Manson enrolled at Northeastern, becoming the first in his family to attend college. More than 60 years later, he smiles as he thinks about how the university has grown, exclaiming, “My degree is worth quite a bit more now!”

While attending Northeastern, Manson continued working at American Mutual Liability as a co-op student and was hired full time after graduation. His career in insurance, human resources, and administration took off, and he enjoyed many years of professional success as a manager, traveling the country and leading high-achieving teams. Reflecting on his accomplishments, Manson attributes his success to that initial introduction to the university, along with the “unparalleled” Northeastern co-op education.

Manson’s senior profile in the 1965 Northeastern yearbook The Cauldron. 

Leaders of the Christian Science Organization at Northeastern, including Manson (back row, right), are pictured in the 1962 Cauldron.

The Northeastern Library: Then and Now

During Manson’s undergraduate years, the Northeastern University Library held dual appeal as both a quiet place where he could study and as a hub of campus life. In the 1960s, many Northeastern students were commuters who relied on the library as a sanctuary for concentration and deep learning. Then located in Dodge Hall, the library was also a crossroads with prime views of Krentzman Quad—the site for all the campus happenings. Manson recalls watching the Kingston Trio perform on the grassy quad and witnessing the Mayor of Huntington Avenue competition there, along with many other activities and events.

Today, the Northeastern Library is much more than just a physical space, as it serves the university’s global system as a digital-age resource center. Robust online offerings, databases and scholarly subscriptions, and a dedicated team of online and onsite librarians support students, faculty, researchers, and community members wherever they are in the world.

In Boston, the flagship Snell Library is nearing the end of a two-year renovation project designed to offer the building’s estimated two million annual visitors a more contemporary and welcoming atmosphere for research and learning. The upgrades include additional rooms for individual and group study, expanded creative spaces and services, new facilities for the university’s archives, and reimagined architectural and interior details to create a more inviting and natural, light-filled environment.

A view of Dodge Library’s reception hall in 1952. 


Students study on the newly renovated fourth floor of Snell Library in 2023. Renovations to the flagship library offer its two million annual visitors a welcoming atmosphere for research and learning.

Krentzman Quadrangle in 1952, with (left to right) Dodge Library, Carl S. Ell Student Center, and Richards Hall.

Members of the Northeastern community study in the newly renovated Snell Library fourth floor common space in 2023.

A Family’s Library Legacy

Manson’s daughter Amy inherited her father’s love of libraries, working at the public library in Southington, Connecticut, throughout high school, and later earning a master’s degree in library science from Simmons University in Boston. She is now the head librarian at the Faneuil Branch of the Boston Public Library in Brighton, Massachusetts. Amy helped persuade her father that a gift to the Northeastern Library would be a meaningful way to give back to the academic community that gave him so much.

Manson’s wish is to leave a legacy that enables the Northeastern Library to thrive for many years to come. In addition to his support through a recurring gift and a planned estate gift, Manson is also a proud Northeastern University ambassador. He’s always on the lookout for a student in a Northeastern t-shirt whose hand he can shake, or a prospective parent whose questions he can answer by sharing his own story. It’s a role he takes very seriously.

“Northeastern was my first choice then and would be my first choice now,” he says.

To join Peter G. Manson, DMSB’65, in supporting the Northeastern University Library, email Michal Biletzki, at [email protected].

Manson with his daughter Amy, and his husband Peter Durfee, in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. 

This article was originally written by Michal Biletzki
and published in the Northeastern Library Supporters’ Newsletter