Manning himself was a Jerseyman, born in Elizabethtown, raised in Piscataway and educated at the Presbyterian-run College of New Jersey. Before attending the precursor to Princeton University, he prepared for his religious studies at the Hopewell Academy, the first Baptist educational institution of its kind in America.
If the impetus for the founding of Brown came from Hopewell and Philadelphia, then why is the school located in Rhode Island? The answer is simple: the colony then known as Rhode Island and the Providence Plantations was home to the first Baptist church in America. The training ground for ministers would be located at the cradle of the faith. Congregationalist ministers were working to establish a school there, as well, so the two groups joined forces to develop what's known as Brown University.
Manning was the first president of the college, also serving as minister of the mother Baptist church in Rhode Island. Later, he was appointed to the Seventh Congress of the Confederation of States, the nation's legislative body before the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. Not bad for a Jersey guy, huh?