A McPherson business with deep roots in the community is making a significant investment in McPherson College’s most ambitious building campaign. Peoples Bank and Trust has committed $500,000 toward the college’s signature building project – the Campus Commons. In appreciation of the gift, the third-floor Welcome Center in the building will be named the People’s Bank and Trust Welcome Center.
Peoples Bank and Trust’s pledge propels McPherson College closer to completing fundraising for the Campus Commons. The bank’s pledge also boosts McPherson College toward securing a $2 million challenge grant from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation.
“This gift recognizes the special relationship between McPherson College and Peoples Bank and Trust,” said McPherson College President Michael Schneider. “It’s fitting that the gift comes during the bank’s 125th anniversary and supports a project that will have a lasting impact on our community.”
Once completed, the Campus Commons will stand as one of the most prominent buildings in McPherson, serving students, employees, and community members. The 55,000-square-foot building will serve as the beating heart of student life on campus, providing a state-of-the-art event venue, service hub, and place to grab a bite—while passing through a three-story atrium with classic cars on display, celebrating McPherson’s one-of-a-kind Automotive Restoration degree program. “The Commons” will be a true signature facility that will accommodate McPherson College’s growth and provide a new “front door” to the campus and a welcome to the city of McPherson.
“We are extremely pleased to partner with McPherson College on their Campus Commons project,” said Tom Pruitt, president and CEO of Peoples Bank and Trust. “We have worked alongside McPherson College since the bank began in 1898. Our founder, F.A. Vaniman established a relationship with the college when he moved to town and began Peoples State Bank. That relationship has continued to grow over the past 125 years. We are very excited for the impact the new Campus Commons project will have on the college, as well as the community.”
The gift is part of the successful $60 million Building Community comprehensive campaign, which is the catalyst of the college’s largest-ever investment in new buildings in its 135-year history. In addition to new structures, nearly half of the $60 million in new funding will directly support educational initiatives on campus, such as student scholarships, Health Science, Automotive Restoration, and other academic programs and growth areas.
Peoples Bank and Trust was founded in 1898 by F.A. Vaniman. The bank, known then as Peoples State Bank, was in downtown McPherson in the same location today. Over the years, the bank has supported McPherson College in various ways, a partnership that has reaped benefits for both organizations while serving the people of McPherson. Notably, in 1959 the Vaniman family home was donated to the college and used as a dormitory, and later as the McPherson Museum. In addition to the Vanimans, Sargent family members held prominent roles in the bank, with many attending and graduating from McPherson College. The Houghton family — current bank owners — have been highly involved with McPherson College by serving on its board of trustees and supporting the development of new academic programs.