posted Sep 07, 2007 in ALUMNI
Each year in late August, one of the largest and most prestigious car shows in the world takes place at the Pebble Beach golf course in California. Started in the 1950’s by the Classic Car Club of America, this gathering, now known simply as “Pebble Beach,” has become the premier venue for displaying historic and significant automobiles of all types.
It also has become something of a gathering for McPherson College automotive restoration alumni. This year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, held on Sunday, August 19, had a total of 19 alumni, current students and faculty of the college in attendance. These people weren’t just there to watch the show though – they were helping to make it.
The group of 19 represented 13 different companies, ranging from major restoration shops to automotive museums to classic automotive insurance companies. Current students played a role through internships in which they’ve participated.
“It was exciting to see so many auto restoration students and alums at so prestigious an event; an event 1500 miles away from McPherson, Kansas. It was even more exciting to know that 18 of these students were there in some official capacity,” said Garrick Green, restoration department chair.
A member of the restoration program’s National Advisory Board, Roger Morrison, entered a 1932 Ford hot rod originally built in the 1950s by the Berardini brothers, and restored at a shop in Colorado by two McPherson graduates. Morrison walked away with the Dean Batchelor trophy, sponsored by Ford Motor Company.
“When the 17 current students and graduates gathered around the Berardini roadster, the crowd that formed to see what was so special about this group took my breath away,” said Brian Schippert, a current student and intern at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.
“Having so many students on the show field this year speaks volumes for the job the restoration program is doing in obtaining internships and employment, but Chris Wiens, Director of Career Services, should get a large share of the credit,” said Green. “Chris has done a fantastic job of getting students matched up with intern providers as well as helping students obtain employment after graduation.”
Increasingly, events like Pebble Beach have become a gathering place for McPherson College alums. One of them, Jonathan Klinger, says, “When I first attended Pebble four years ago, there were two students serving internships and two graduates representing cars. Now, in 2007, there were 19 on the field. It is great that so many of us have the passion and opportunity to participate in one of the finest displays of classic and vintage automobiles that takes place each year.”
“I was amazed that the 19 people there represented 13 different companies. I think that is a testament to the quality of graduates produced at McPherson College,” adds Dan Hudachek, Director of Automotive Restoration Development.