Inducted in 1996
Manley R. Whitcomb, a leading and influential figure in the development of wind band performance, was Director of Bands at Florida State University from 1953 to 1970. He received his Bachelor of Music Education degree in 1934, and the Master of Music degree in 1935, both from Northwestern University. Immediately thereafter, he began a successful tenure as the marching band director at Ohio State University, a position he held until 1952. In 1952, he attended Columbia University in New York City, going on in later years to complete the doctoral degree.
He came to Florida State University in 1953 when the growth of the school was just beginning. He quickly built the Marching Chiefs into a regionally recognized leader in marching band pageantry. He also pioneered new concepts in wind band concert performances by programming original works for band at a time when serious wind band music was not widely heard. He took leadership roles in the field of instrumental music education, providing countless numbers of clinics, workshops, papers, and adjudications. He also held leadership positions in the College Band Directors National Association, the American Bandmasters Association, and other professional organizations. He founded the Florida State University chapters of Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma, two organizations of which he was especially proud.
Manley Whitcomb was the recipient of numerous awards, including: the Distinguished Service Medal, presented to him by Kappa Kappa Psi; the first Professor the Year award, presented by the FSU Alumni Association; and in 1972, the School Musician Magazine designated him one of ten outstanding music directors in the nation. Whitcomb's keen intellect and propensity to analyze an endless array of topics served him well in his role as graduate advisor and mentor to many struggling young graduate students. The legacy of his influence on them can be found in their accomplishments and positions of leadership in the field of instrumental music education today.