Alumna Sara Jo Manning `58,`60 Awarded William Peace Medallion

October 1, 2019

On September 30, alumna Sara Jo Manning `58, `60 was awarded the William Peace Medallion, the highest and most prestigious (non-academic) recognition that can be awarded by William Peace University. President Brian C. Ralph, Ph.D. presented Sara Jo with the medallion last night at the opening concert of the 2019 – 2020 season of the Manning Music Series.

The Peace Medallion was established to recognize an individual who, through a lifetime of support and commitment, has demonstrated the true spirit of the University’s mission statement through incredible service to society, exceptional loyalty to Peace, and outstanding character. This presentation is only the tenth time that the Peace Medallion has been awarded since its establishment in 1998, previously honoring alumna Fay Jackson Anderson `54 in 2016.

Sara Jo is incredibly deserving of this honor and the entire campus community celebrates with her. It has been a privilege to engage with her and to see and feel the impact of her leadership and legacy here at the University.

President Brian C. Ralph

Sara Jo Manning has been a familiar face on William Peace University’s campus for many years and active throughout the Triangle region – especially, at the North Carolina Symphony. She has served in a leadership role on various Boards over the past 15 years including the Alumni Association Board, the Board of Visitors, the Sesquicentennial Commemoration Committee, and she served as a class agent, helping to build relationships with and secure giving from her class towards The Loyalty Fund.

Presentation of Peace Medallion to SJ
President Brian C. Ralph presenting alumna, Sara Jo Manning `58, `60 with the William Peace Medallion on September 30, 2019.

Today, Sara Jo remains an outspoken advocate for Peace and the arts here on campus. President Brian C. Ralph is the first to champion Manning’s impact on campus, stating: “Sara Jo is incredibly deserving of this honor and the entire campus community celebrates with her. It has been a privilege to engage with her and to see and feel the impact of her leadership and legacy here at the University.” Through her generous contributions to Peace, she has continuously supported our community and advocated for our University’s success. For her longstanding service to Peace, Sara Jo was named the 2008 recipient of the Alumni Distinguished Service Award and is the recipient of an honorary Ph.D. from WPU in May of 2015. She is an honorary member of Omicron Delta Kappa.

Most recognizably, Sara Jo’s namesake program, The Manning Music Series has been a staple of the Raleigh community for more than a decade. This program is put on in collaboration with the North Carolina Symphony and provides an annual series of concerts to the William Peace University community. Manning established this program in 2007 as a way to combine two of her passions — music and her alma mater. She wanted to bring music here – to Peace – for students, faculty, staff, neighbors, and community members to all enjoy at no cost. Over the years, the series has evolved, offering a wide variety of genres and musicians.

Her legacy stretches beyond Peace, as Manning has also been an impactful leader in the Raleigh community. She worked as the Secretary to the Bishop of The (Episcopal) Diocese of North Carolina for many years before retiring in 2002.

William Wolfram, American Pianist, performed alongside the NC Symphony at the First Concert of the 2019-20 Season of Manning Music.

Additionally, she has served on the Board of Directors for both The United Arts Council from 2000-2001 and the North Carolina Prevention of Blindness from 1981-87, and as the Vice President of the Raleigh Arts Commission in 1990. She had a significant impact serving on the executive committee of the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, and The Junior League of Raleigh once called Manning their President. Finally, she was named to the Outstanding Young Women in America.

WPU is grateful to Sara Jo Manning for her years of outstanding service and dedication to our University. Our community looks to Manning as an exemplary example of Peace values and alumni engagement, and we are inspired by her legacy of selfless giving and warm spirit.

For more information on the upcoming concerts of the 2019-20 WPU Manning Music Series, please go to To find out how you can support the arts and our community, please visit and explore how your investment can change lives at Peace and beyond.