When students and guests come to McPherson College today, they’re usually greeted by a small sign, a lawn, and a parking lot, but that’s soon to change dramatically.
MC recently unveiled plans for a new, more welcoming “front porch” at McPherson College along Kansas Avenue – which includes a new entrance gate and student life center.
In October, President Michael Schneider stood up in front of a crowd of hundreds that was gathered to dedicate the new entrance. They circled around the first portion of the project’s first phase – a bricked-in garden and bench feature.
As Schneider spoke, large posters of concept art were revealed – showing that the garden was a part of a much larger project. Next to where the dedication took place, the plans for phase I of the project call for a brick plaza – approximately eight times larger in diameter than the existing garden – with the official McPherson College seal inset into the bottom.
A low wall in front of this circle proclaiming “McPherson College” and turned at 45 degrees from the avenue toward anyone coming west on the Kansas Avenue overpass. At the back of the circle will be pillars about two stories tall that display the date of the college’s founding – 1887 – at the top. These pillars will form three archways that hearken to the college’s mission of “Scholarship. Participation. Service.”
The plans get even bigger from there. Phase two calls for a new student activity center – just northwest of the planned entrance arches – that’s set to be more than double the size of the current Hoffman Student Union where the cafeteria is located.
The seed gift to make this expansion possible came from Don S. Peters, vice president-investment strategy for Freestate Advisors in Wichita. Peters is a 1966 graduate of McPherson College and the son of the seventh president of McPherson College – Dr. W.W. Peters, who oversaw MC through the war years of 1941 to 1950.
“Don has been a good friend, and a good friend to McPherson College,” Schneider said. “Don just does the right thing. This has been a fantastic project, and we’re so thankful for the Peters family.”
Peters said he was pleased to honor his father at McPherson College in such a meaningful way.
“Education was important to him and education is important to me,” Peters said, “And I really believe in the small colleges. It just means a lot to give back to this small college that means so much to me.”
Chuck Thomas of San Antonio, Texas, Peters’ son-in-law, said he was impressed and thought the expansion would be give students a great first impression.
“It’s the way your present yourself to the outside world,” he said. “That’s an attractive design and it will communicate something about the college.”