History 101: GSU’s First Business Dean

George Manners

George Manners

When George Manners became dean of the College of Business in 1947, he worked tirelessly to raise the profile of the college as well as that of the entire university.

According to a 2001 article in State of Business Magazine, published by the J. Mack Robinson College of Business, Manners was known for his ability to recruit world-class faculty and for his efforts to improve the standards of not only the business program but of the institution as a whole.

Kenneth Black Jr., a former dean emeritus of the college, said in the article that Manners “will never get all the credit he deserves, but he was the only one with the vision to turn the business school around. Only Dr. Manners had the drive to accomplish all he did.”

Manners served as dean of the School of Business Administration from 1947 to 1969 and then as Regents’ Professor until he retired in 1977. He died Nov. 6, 2000. An army veteran who earned a Bachelor of Science in Commerce in 1935 from the Georgia Tech Evening School (which would eventually become GSU), Manners is credited with making major improvements in the curriculum for business students.

He worked to raise the standards of part-time M.B.A. programs for working professionals to a level of quality equal to those offered to full-time students, which helped lead to full accreditation for the College of Business Administration.

Manners’ commitment to higher education extended even beyond his school: He spearheaded a special committee for the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business that helped raise the standards of academic business programs for working professionals nationwide.

He was born George Mamalakis in New York in 1910 to Greek immigrants. His family moved to Savannah, Ga., when he was a child, and as a young man he took on the surname Manners, the English translation of his Greek family name.

Manners studied opera and classical music in hopes of becoming a singer, said his wife, Claire Manners, in his Atlanta Journal-Constitution obituary. (This love of music led his brother, Nick Mamalakis, to persuade the widow of legendary Savannah lyricist Johnny Mercer to donate Mercer’s personal papers and the Oscar he won for “Moon River” to GSU in 1999.)

Manners, who taught at GSU as a part-time instructor as early as 1936, was president of the Alumni Association during 1938-1939 and was honored as Alumnus of the Year in 1965. In 1985, he was honored as an inaugural inductee of the J. Mack Robinson College of Business Hall of Fame.

In 2001, he was recognized for his dedication to the college when the Robinson College’s main meeting center, the Atlanta Room, was renamed the Manners Room.