Fred C. Manning was the first person in Canada to receive the honour of having a business school named after him—and for good reason. From humble beginnings, he created one of the largest and farthest-ranging business empires that ever had its genesis in the Maritimes. To accent this accomplishment, his success was achieved in the bleak economic conditions that prevailed during the Depression years. His parent company, United Services Corporation, was comprised of service stations, automobile agencies, bus lines, trucking companies, along with wholesale automotive supplies, gasoline, oil, radio, and electrical components. His portfolio was as diverse as the multifold items found behind the counter in his father's village store, where Fred began his business career as a clerk. At his death in 1959, he was Vice President and Director of the Bank of Nova Scotia, Chairman of the Board of the Industrial and Development Corporation of Venezuela, and served as a director for a half dozen other corporations.
Known in life for his personal warmth, agreeable outlook, and keen sense of humour, Fred C. Manning is posthumously remembered for his unstinting generosity: his Fred C. Manning Charitable Trust has disbursed millions of dollars to universities and organizations across the Atlantic region. Acadia University became a beneficiary of his liberality in 1957. In that year, Sheldon Fountain, B.A. (Acadia), MBA (Boston), assistant professor of economics and son-in-law of Mr. Manning, taught the inaugural courses in the emergent degree of Bachelor of Business Administration, which he championed and sponsored. In the years since, the pioneering spirit, strong work ethic, and exciting brand of entrepreneurship that typified Fred C. Manning has been faithfully transmitted to the graduates of the School that is his namesake and perpetuates his remarkable legacy.