Blairsden-Graeagle resident plans $1.1 million gift to alma mater

Michele Piller and David Greene. Photo submitted

Michele Piller of Blairsden-Graeagle, considers her time at her alma mater, Manchester University in North Manchester, Indiana, a “transformative experience,” and has planned a $1.1 million gift to the institution.

A 1979 graduate of Manchester, Piller spent the first few years of her career as an attorney before becoming executive director of Plumas Rural Services. The Northeastern California community-based nonprofit provides services and opportunities for the well-being of local residents and families to improve quality of life and self-sufficiency by promoting health, education, prevention and treatment. Services are provided in Lassen, Modoc, Plumas and Sierra counties.

Her career was devoted to helping others, and now she is giving back to Manchester.

“I received a good, well-rounded liberal arts education, something I would not have received at a larger university,” she said. “With no children, my husband, David Greene, and I decided Manchester was a good place to receive our bequests.”

The planned gift is undesignated, which means there are no specific instructions for how it should be used, but her hope is for it to benefit the University and its students.

“We are extremely humbled by their altruism. Michele embodies our mission statement of graduating students of ability and conviction,” said Melanie Harmon, vice president for advancement. “This generous gift ensures that we can continue providing transformative experiences similar to the many Piller had.”

The opportunities Manchester provided Piller changed her life and fostered a lifelong passion for traveling. For decades, Manchester has offered various three-week travel courses during the month of January. These sessions range from in-state trips to exploring different continents.

“My three January trips included going to Colombia with Professor Ken Brown, the Soviet Union with Professor Jim Bishop and West Africa with Professor David Waas,” Piller said. “Thank you, Manchester, for these magical experiences.”