$1 million gift will go toward $500 million match campaign
McPherson College has announced the creation of an endowed scholarship fund for students pursuing a degree in automotive restoration. The Rob Walton Scholarship Fund will focus on attracting and retaining the best students in the college’s unique automotive restoration program.
The $1 million gift from the Rob and Melani Walton Foundation will be supplemented by the two-for-one donor match announced by the college in November, resulting in $3 million for the McPherson College endowment. The anonymous double-match estate commitment of $500 million is the largest in the history of any liberal arts college in the United States.
“This grant helps us fulfill our mission of being the center of excellence for students serious about automotive restoration,” said McPherson College President Michael Schneider. “Students completing their degree from our program are the skilled craftsmen, technicians, historians, curators, managers, marketing and communication persons, and leaders necessary to preserve the classic car industry.”
The Waltons join the former host of The Tonight Show and car enthusiast Jay Leno in providing student scholarships for the program and continues the significant contributions toward the $500 million match recently announced by McPherson College.
“Driving and collecting vintage automobiles is a personal passion,” said Rob Walton. “We’re pleased to contribute to educating the next generation of car restorers and making college more affordable for McPherson students.”
The McPherson College automotive restoration program combines a liberal arts approach with hands-on craftsmanship that prepares students to be successful in a broad range of careers in the automotive industry. Graduates of the nation’s only accredited four-year bachelor’s degree program in automotive restoration go on to work for the biggest names in the automotive industry. Current students are restoring a 1953 Mercedes-Benz 300 S Cabriolet that will be entered in the renowned Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2023. The program has attracted the attention of industry leaders and car enthusiasts such as Richard Lundquist, who donated a 1972 Ferrari 365GTB/4 Daytona to the program.
Beyond offering one-of-a-kind educational opportunities, McPherson College is committed to helping students graduate with little to zero student debt. Its Student Debt Project utilizes financial literacy, mentoring, and matching funds to assist students working while attending college. So far, students in the program have reduced their projected debt at graduation by $12,000. Scholarships, like the Rob Walton Scholarship Fund, work in tandem with the Student Debt Project to help minimize the need for student and family educational loans.
To date, the college has raised over $130 million of the $250 million needed to secure the $500 million match, including a $50 million commitment from Californian philanthropists Melanie and Richard Lundquist. To learn more about the $500 million two-for-one match applied to endowment donations and estate gift commitments made to McPherson College, visit www.mcpherson.edu/500match.