A family’s life-long passion for cars has made it possible to establish an endowed scholarship at McPherson College with an initial gift of $400,000 in the name of Col. Daryl and Ann Hemken. The permanent fund will award scholarships annually to students in the automotive restoration program.
“The Hemken family’s love of cars is extraordinary and their desire to support the next generation of automotive leaders assures that their family’s passion will continue well into the future,” McPherson College President Michael Schneider said. “The impact of their gift will be far-reaching, not only on the lives of our students but also on the automotive restoration industry that will benefit from our graduates.”
The late Col. Daryl and Ann Hemken started buying and collecting cars shortly after they were married in 1954. What started as a hobby turned into a passion that involved their entire family and eventually led to the founding of The Hemken Collection Museum in Williams, Iowa, where they lived. The collection was sold at auction in September 2021.
Daryl Hemken began his military career in 1948 and spent 34 years in the Army Reserve, retiring in 1982. He earned a degree in agriculture from Iowa State University and moved to Williams in 1962 where he farmed until retiring in 1994. Ann Hemken graduated from Cornell University and was a teacher for 24 years. Their love for collecting cars began with a 1914 Model T Ford Roadster purchased in 1960. Over the years, they acquired well over 150 automobiles and a wide assortment of parts. The core of their collection included cars from every manufacturer in the United States made between 1947 and 1948. They opened The Hemken Collection Museum in 2000 where Ann continued her love of education by giving tours to guests as well as researching, cataloging, and creating displays for the museum. Her commitment to education was a factor when the museum’s board of directors considered places to receive the proceeds from the auction.
In addition to the generous gift, the museum also hosted two McPherson College student interns to work for a summer preparing the collection for the auction.
“These scholarships acknowledge the Hemkens’ strong love of the automotive experience and belief in the value of education,” Amanda Gutierrez, vice president for automotive restoration, said. “In honoring Colonel and Mrs. Hemken with this gift, the family also honors the automotive experience that they all enjoyed together. And, they support a generation of students pursuing a career that carries on that love of the automobile.”