Dr. Michael Schneider, president of McPherson College, recently received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Higher Education Management Executive Doctoral program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. The award recognizes program alumni who have demonstrated significant and effective leadership and management and have had a substantial impact or influence at an organizational, regional, or national level.
“We were pleased to welcome Michael back to Penn’s campus to receive the executive doctorate in higher education management Distinguished Alumni Award,” said Dr. Diane Eynon, senior fellow and director of the program. “I had the opportunity to work closely with Michael as his dissertation chair and it was clear then that he had a vision for what was possible and a strong sense of what it would take to accomplish it. That vision and commitment to excellence is why his peers choose him as this year’s award recipient.”
President Schneider’s passionate vision to elevate liberal arts through an entrepreneurial mindset has sparked the imagination of an entire campus. Under his leadership in the past year, the college gained recognition for having a student-restored 1953 Mercedes-Benz 300 S Cabriolet win second in the Post-War Luxury Class at the Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance, the most prestigious car show in the world. Additionally, the college achieved a historic milestone by securing a $1 billion endowment commitment, one of the largest philanthropic commitments in the history of higher education.
“The Executive Doctorate program prepared me well for the challenges facing smaller liberal arts institutions,” President Schneider said. “I am grateful to receive this award and fortunate to stay connected with many talented colleagues associated with the program. This award recognizes the work of an entire college as McPherson College does its part to transform the future of higher education.”
President Schneider, a 1996 graduate of McPherson College, assumed the role of president in 2009, becoming one of the youngest college presidents in the United States. During his tenure, he has solidified the college’s commitment to debt-free education and post-graduation placement rates. The college’s job and placement rates rank among the best in the nation, while the average debt per student at graduation is one of the lowest of any four-year college in Kansas. For the past nine years, McPherson College has been named in the Chronicle of Higher Education as a “Great College to Work For,” with honor roll recognition for the past eight years.
Since becoming president, Schneider has served the higher education community as board chair of the Associated Colleges of Central Kansas, Kansas Campus Compact, and Kansas Independent College Association; as executive committee member of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities; and as national advisory board member for Future Business Leaders of America and Distributive Education Clubs of America.
The award was presented to President Schneider at the Higher Education Leadership Conference in Philadelphia in January.