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Broadway Comes to McPherson Campus

Jay Rudetsky

Sirius/XM Radio’s Broadway host Seth Rudetsky brings his hilarious one-man show, “Deconstructing Broadway,” to McPherson College to open the 2019 Fern Lingenfelter Artists Series on September 30 at 7 p.m. in Mingenback Theatre. Admission is free and seating is limited.

The college encourages those interested in attending to make seat reservations by September 25 by contacting the Alumni Office at (620) 242-0434 or email to Doors will open for reserved seating at 6:20 p.m. and for general admission seating at 6:40 p.m. There will be an opportunity to meet the artist after the performance.

Rudetsky is a Broadway performer, producer, director and three time Emmy nominee. In this cabaret-style show, Rudetsky’s performance is a tour-de-force featuring his trademark “deconstructions,” in which he uses his amazing audio/video collection to break down brilliant performances from beloved Broadway divas, like Patti LuPone and Betty Buckley, as well as showcases mind-boggling videos like The Osmonds singing a medley from “Fiddler on the Roof.” Rudetsky devotes an entire section of his performance on Barbra Streisand, who actually came to his show in Los Angeles and loved it.

“Deconstructing Broadway” is described as a combination of “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” “The Tony Awards,” and “The Daily Show.” The award-winning show recently played to a sold-out audience in London where it received five-star reviews. The Boston Globe called the show a genuine treat and said, “What is great about “Deconstructing Broadway” is that it’s appealing to both musical-theater geeks and novices alike.”

Admission to the Lingenfelter concert is free thanks to a generous commitment to McPherson College established in 2016 honoring Fern Lingenfelter. Her son, Steve Clark, chairman of Clark Investment Group of Wichita, established the fund that supports two annual music performance events with special emphasis on piano. Lingenfelter, an alumna of McPherson College, taught piano in McPherson for many years to both college students on campus and younger students at her studio downtown.

Rudetsky will host a master class earlier in the day for the Heartland Choral Festival at McPherson College. The festival invites high school choirs to campus for a day-long clinic.

McPherson College Ranks in U.S. News & World Report “Best College” List

For the fourth year in a row, McPherson College has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report on the 2020 “Best Colleges” list for Regional Colleges in the Midwest. Additionally, McPherson College is among only four schools in Kansas ranked as a “Best Value” school by the report.

Only schools ranked in or near the top half of their categories are included on the “Best Value Schools” ranking list. When evaluating colleges for this list, U.S. News & World Report considers the most significant values to be among colleges that are above average academically and takes into account academic quality as well as cost.

“It is an honor to be included on such a well-respected list,” President Michael Schneider said. “It’s further proof that McPherson College is being recognized for the work being done by our faculty and staff to ensure quality education, excellent student experience, and value.”

Initiatives such as the college’s Student Debt Project, which teaches students how to graduate debt-free, and the college’s successful career placement rate are just two examples of why McPherson College is recognized on the “Best Colleges” list, according to President Schneider.

“We have some of the highest placement rates in the country with two-thirds of our graduates having jobs or graduate school placement before they even graduate,” President Schneider said. “Combined with our focus on eliminating student debt we are proving to students and families that a McPherson College education is the best choice, and resulting in growing enrollment this fall and steady retention over the past few years.”

This year, McPherson College moved up 10 places in the “Best College” ranking, and was included in the top twenty schools for Campus Ethnic Diversity as well as in the top twenty of Top Performers on Social Mobility. The social mobility ranking is new to the report this year and measures how well schools graduate students who receive federal Pell Grants (those typically coming from households whose family incomes are less than 450,000 annually, though most Pell Grant awards to students with a total family income below $20,000.)

The U.S. News & World Report has been ranking colleges for 35 years. The rankings are based on several key measures, each weighted as a percentage of the total score. Graduation, retention rates, and social mobility, assessment of excellence by peers, quality of faculty resources (such as class size and student-faculty ratio) account for more than three-fourths of the ranking.

The remaining one-fourth of the ranking is determined by a college’s student selectivity, and amount of alumni giving and the financial resources at the institution’s disposal. The data gathered for the rankings serves as an objective guide for students and families who are making decisions about attending college.

Helping Students Graduate with Zero Student Debt Should Be the Goal of All Colleges

Student Debt Project

By Michael Schneider, President
McPherson College

Kylee Martin from Goodland was one of thousands of Kansas high school students considering their college options. She visited a couple of state schools. Even after receiving some great scholarships, she knew that student loans were inevitable. She qualified for over $40,000 in loans to pay for her degree—it was tempting to take the money, but she didn’t need it. She didn’t end up at a state school. Instead, she came to McPherson College. As a student here, she realized quickly that she didn’t have to mortgage her future. Kylee joined our Student Debt Project and learned how to manage her finances to take care of the cost of education before graduation.

We don’t think graduating with a mortgage on your education needs to be a solution to college access. And as a private institution, we’ve done something about it. We make college accessible without lots of debt. The Student Debt Project helps students at McPherson College eliminate their need for loans so they can graduate with little—to zero—student debt.

National media are obsessed with the price of a college education, while colleges are countering with bigger scholarships. Nationwide, student loan debt is at an all-time high of $1.52 trillion—second only to mortgage debt. Some 371,000 Kansans collectively owe more than $11.5 billion in federal student loans. In fact, among all Kansas graduates in the class of 2018, nearly 60% of them graduated with debt. I think what Kansans are worried about most is college loan debt. Debt should be the new focus of our discussion with college-ready families.

There’s a myth that students who attend private colleges accrue more debt than their public university peers.  But it’s not true nationally, and especially not true here in Kansas.  In fact, McPherson College graduates finish with no more debt than graduates from Kansas’ public universities—both average less debt than the price of a new Honda Accord.

Funny thing, though—about 81% of McPherson College graduates finish their degree in four years, compared to 66% of Kansas’ public university students.  That means our graduates are already out in the workforce earning a living, while their friends at public university are still working on their degrees.

The Student Debt Project combines financial literacy education, jobs and mentorships to create a pathway for students to graduate with little or no debt. McPherson College is matching a percentage of every dollar students contribute to their education while they are in the program.  Dedicated community mentors are supporting our students as they balance work, education and life during their college career, as well as providing financial management skills for a lifetime.

We developed the Student Debt Project because it’s good for the economy, good for families, good for Kansas, and good for the nation.

As the president of a small college that competes with state-run and for-profit schools, I’m often asked the question: Should small colleges exist?

My answer is, absolutely! Programs like the Student Debt Project are one reason why.

And when the Class of 2020 graduates in May, our focus on financial literacy, employment and mentorships will speak for itself. Kylee Martin will walk across the stage to receive her four-year degree at McPherson College, graduating with little—to zero—student debt.


Learn more about the Student Debt Project at McPherson College.

McPherson College Announces New Director for Career Services

Amy BeckmanMcPherson College announces Amy Beckman will lead the Office of Career and Experiential Learning as its new executive director. Beckman brings a great deal of local experience to her role, which focuses on ensuring McPherson College graduates are placed in their field while broadening the level of student engagement across campus.

“McPherson College’s career placement and graduate school acceptance rates are some of the highest in the country,” President Michael Schneider said. “We continue elevating the scope and visibility of our career service efforts, giving our students opportunities to explore, experience, and engage in career development.”

Results from the college’s focus on career development are encouraging; 98 percent of McPherson College graduates are employed in their field within six months after graduating, and two-thirds of its graduates report having a job before graduation. The Career Services Office integrates a model for student engagement that encourages students to explore options in their field through research and conversations with industry professionals; experience the actual work through practicums, clinicals, and job shadowing; and engage in internships, projects, and jobs.

“There is a great energy around the career service efforts here,” Beckman said. “Everybody on campus, from faculty and staff to the students, are engaging and curious how to get involved in learning about becoming part of the working community. There is also great support from our community reaching out to the college about how we can partner and offer job opportunities and learning experiences for our students.”

Last year, the college added an online resource tool for student job search that connects students with job opportunities on campus, locally, and across the country. The online tool currently lists more than 400 jobs and has 400 more pending approval.

“It is significant that we have that kind of interest in hiring our students,” Beckman said.

Beckman explained there are many ways local employers can partner with the college, including giving company tours, offering mentorships, job shadowing, or internships. She encourages local employers to contact her at

Prior to her new role at McPherson College, Beckman worked for 12 years at CHS Refinery in McPherson where she recruited and hired for various positions along with coordinating the internship program and assisting with performance management. For the past two years, she has been working in human resource management.

McPherson College Teams With McPherson Hospital to Offer New Model for Rural Health Care

Health Care Initiative launch

An initiative introduced by McPherson College and McPherson Hospital with a focus on community health sets out to become a new model for community health care in rural areas.  It features a new enhanced health science degree at the college with a wide variety of hands-on educational opportunities thanks to a partnership with the hospital.

Working together toward healthier communities is the goal of the partnership. The partnership will provide opportunities for student learning and community outreach with the intent to create a new model for rural community health in Kansas. There is more to a healthy community than just treating people who are sick, explained McPherson College President Michael Schneider.

“We are looking at this from a holistic, patient-centered approach to health care in rural communities,” President Schneider said. “In small communities, you need to be resourceful uncovering ways to build a healthy community. It includes everything from mentoring at-risk youth to making sure our elderly citizens are safe when they return home from a hospital stay. It also includes solving our challenges to provide good mental health support and treatment for all. This partnership will put our students out in the community working with support from McPherson Hospital to solve these challenges.”

The new degree and partnership was announced August 29 at McPherson College where Rep. Roger Marshall, M.D., spoke about the importance of working together to support rural health.

“Health care, like many industries in Kansas, struggles to find qualified employees,” said U.S. Congressman Marshall. “I served as an OBGYN for more than 25 years and understand the need to find and retain hardworking, qualified medical staff. Partnerships and educational opportunities like the one announced today are an important step in meeting the health care needs of all Kansans and creating educational opportunities for those who want to live and work in rural America.”

The joint initiative aligns the college and hospital to provide students access to its facility resources and people for internships, field experiences, observation, and clinicals. The cooperating effort offers students opportunities for real-world experiences in all aspects of health care delivery, and develops a workforce pipeline for the hospital and other health care agencies across the state as students graduate from the new program. One of the first efforts the new initiative will pursue is a survey of all the health related opportunities available for students in Central Kansas.

“The delivery of health care and the needs of consumers have changed dramatically over the years and are likely to continue,” Terri Gehring McPherson Hospital president and CEO, said. “By combining our resources, talents and expertise we have the opportunity to accomplish so much more than we can individually to address these needs.”

President Schneider add, “Our organizations face similar challenges. This partnership allows us to work together with common goals. The primary focus of the college is creating pathways to careers in community health for our students. By working with the hospital, we also have the ability to provide signature outreach programs for some of the most vulnerable populations of any community, such as at-risk youth and the elderly.”

Last year, the college conducted an environmental analysis that included community focus groups with more than 60 area health professionals and community leaders participating. The research uncovered opportunities for developing an enhanced health science degree focused on health careers as well as support for a college and hospital partnership.

“The concept of partnering makes a lot of sense,” John Worden, chief operating officer at the hospital, said. “It became clear as we discussed the possibilities that we can unite and work together in a way that improves the health care delivery model and provides educational opportunities for students.”

Over the next 10 years the U.S. Department of Labor projects a 10-20 percent growth in careers related to community health. In Kansas, community health careers in telemedicine, telehealth, behavioral health, health care administration and community health planning are in high demand. Locally, a Community Health Needs Assessment, conducted annually by the hospital, prioritized the need for more mental health resources and services.

Kansas is among states with the highest number of rural hospitals and greatest shortage of health care professionals of all types, according to the National Rural Health Association. Additionally, according to the Kansas Hospital Association, more than 25 percent of the state’s population lives in rural areas.

“In the focus groups, we observed amazing community support for both the college and hospital,” Gehring said. “Participants were excited about the potential partnership and asked how they could help. This reinforced why McPherson is such a great community. We work together with a shared vision of success.”

Curriculum for the new degree will be offered beginning in the fall of 2020. The degree is designed for students who want to study in the field of health care while participating in outstanding internship opportunities which allow them to give back to the community. For more information about the community health degree program, please contact McPherson College admissions at

McPherson College Students Join Stine at Des Moines Concours

For the past five years, students from McPherson College have taken part in the Des Moines Concours d’Elegance serving as apprentice judges. Myron Stine, a McPherson College alumni and vice president of the Iowa Automobile Heritage Foundation, says the association with the college has been good for the students and good for the concours.

“It is an opportunity for the students to experience a prestigious car event and work with the judges,” Stine said. “I know those involved with the concours really enjoy having the students there. I’m proud that the Des Moines Concours recognizes that the students from the McPherson College automotive restoration program are top-notch.”

This year, six students from the automotive restoration program will have the opportunity to experience one of the Midwest’s premier car shows on September 7-8. They will work alongside judges that critique the more than 100 vintage and classic motor vehicles selected for the concours. The experience reinforces what the students learn in the classroom, said Amanda Gutierrez, vice president for automotive restoration.

“Our partnership with the Des Moines Concours gives McPherson College students an opportunity to experience the classic cars beyond the classroom and helps them to identify how they are part of the future of the automotive restoration industry,” Gutierrez said.

Students attending this year’s concours include:

  • Wally Behrens, Crested Butte, Colorado
  • Cole Tanner, Lunenburg, Massachusetts
  • Cedric Brown, Culpeper, Virginia
  • Matt Shrader, Olathe, Kansas
  • Curren Harris, Hiwassee, Virginia
  • Geoffrey Smith, Brownsburg, Indiana

Renowned Kansas Artists on Display at McPherson College Gallery

Randy Regier art installationTucked away under layers of dust in a forgotten corner of an old maintenance building on the McPherson College campus an interesting object was recently uncovered. Although the discovery appeared to expose a long-lost piece of American history, it turned out to be another page in the narrative of Kansas City-based artist Randy Regier’s latest creation.

Regier, a sculptor, designs pieces that play with fact and fiction. The centerpiece of his multi-media exhibition, which is currently on display in Friendship Hall at McPherson College, is a 1960’s styled, fictional civil defense emergency warning scooter. At first glance, the scooter and its story seem very plausible. However, as viewers examine the piece closer they will uncover fiction mixed with the facts. For example, the seat of the scooter is actually a stadium chair mounted on an old overhead projector, the fenders are taken from a 1950s Plymouth, and the headlight is really a plastic champagne flute.

From the early 1940s through the late 1970s, the United States government made various efforts through offices of civil defense to educate and warn citizens about the threat of attack from hostile nations. The artist draws from this history for period-correct details such as the color and logo designs that were used by the civil defense. Regier said everybody who sees the exhibit has a right to interpret what it is for themselves.

“Many artists see it as their social responsibility to make people aware, think and critically analyze–contrary to most mass media” said Michaela Valli-Groeblacher, professor of art and gallery director. “This exhibit deals with the use of propaganda, fact, fiction, lies, and truth. It connects rather recent history with today.”

Also on display is the art of William Counter. Counter is a regional artist whose studio is located on a family farm outside of Chapman, Kansas. The group of paintings on display is a reprise from shows over the past three years, the subject derived mainly from mass media publications. Counter’s paintings explore the often contradictory messaging that occurs between news and advertising. The majority of the source material is vintage, and selected because of its relevance to current affairs.

The unique exhibit spans several academic disciplines, including history, English, communication, philosophy, psychology, sociology, auto restoration, and art and design, and will have appeal to a wide audience. The exhibit will be on display through October 13 and can be viewed during regular business hours. A closing reception for the artists is being planned.

McPherson College Announces $1 Million Gift

The Lundquists hosting McPherson College

McPherson College has announced a gift of $1 million from Richard and Melanie Lundquist, noted California philanthropists. The gift recognizes the work of renowned car restorer, Paul Russell and Company, and was announced at a private event hosted by McPherson College at the Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance. Russell serves as president of the college’s national advisory board for automotive restoration.

“We are committed to McPherson’s automotive restoration program, particularly since it is the only four-year program like it in the country,” Melanie Lundquist said. “The college strives to provide the best student experiences. We really enjoy the collaborative partnership we have developed with the college.”

1938 Talbot Lago restored by Paul RussellPaul Russell and Company restored a 1938 Talbot-Lago T150-C SS Figoni and Falaschi Teardrop Cabriolet owned by the Lundquists that took top honors as Most Elegant Convertible class and was among four contenders for the Best of Show at this year’s Pebble Beach Concours.

“Having just gone through a concours-quality restoration project, the Lundquists appreciate the value of craftsmanship and understand the importance of educating the next generation of craftsmen,” Amanda Gutierrez, vice president for automotive restoration at McPherson College. “We are grateful that they have recognized McPherson College as an institution worthy of their support.”

Chris Hammond, a McPherson College graduate, was senior mechanical restorer on the project, and Paul Russell and Company currently employs three McPherson College graduates. Russell is a champion of educating the next generation of craftsmen and has been a long-time supporter of the McPherson College program.

“McPherson College is honored to be recognized with this gift from Richard and Melanie,” President Michael Schneider said. “This gift is evidence that the quality of education provided at McPherson College is valued. Our entire campus works hard providing outstanding educational opportunities and career experiences. This is a signal to the industry that we are committed to excellence and it takes people like the Lundquists stepping up to help us drive the future of this industry.”

The McPherson College Automotive Restoration program began in 1976 with funding from local entrepreneur, Gaines “Smokey” Billue, and has evolved into a nationally recognized and award-winning leader in restoration education, offering the only four-year bachelor’s degree for restoration technology in the country. The program offers student experience outside of the classroom at some of the most prestigious car events in the United States, like Pebble Beach. The college also has a growing alumni base who work in all facets of the car collecting world including Hagerty, Mercedes-Benz Classic Center, Historic Vehicle Association, RM Sotheby’s, in their own shops, and private collections.

McPherson College Reports Record Enrollment

Incoming class of 23 photo

McPherson College welcomed its largest incoming class to campus when fall semester classes began on August 20, continuing its upward enrollment trend established over the past five years. With 316 new freshmen and transfer students, it is the largest class in school history. As classes get underway, full-time equivalent enrollment is up to 840.

“This is a milestone for McPherson College and two years ahead of the goals we set in our strategic plan, Community By Design,” President Michael Schneider said. “While many wonder whether or not a small college should exist, this one is attracting and retaining students.”

According to Ruffalo Noel Levitz, an enrollment management firm that surveyed 63 private higher education institutions in the Midwest, average enrollment is down three percent.

“We know families question whether they can afford to send their children to college. McPherson College is showing students how it is possible to graduate with no student loan debt and it is attracting their attention,”President Schneider said.

The McPherson College Student Debt Project is a unique program that aims at helping students graduate with no student loan debt. The project focuses on financial literacy and mentoring, as well as starting financial discipline that can be used throughout life. In addition, students in the program make a commitment to work during college and the college matches a portion of their earnings.

“When you add the Student Debt Project to our success placing graduates in jobs, students and families are seeing that McPherson College is the best choice,” President Schneider said. “Our faculty care about what happens to our students after they graduate. We are proud that nearly every student is working in their field or enrolled in graduate school.”

Focus on career education and experiential learning is spread throughout the McPherson College curriculum, resulting in 98 percent of its graduates in careers within six months of graduation. Two-thirds reported having a job before they graduated.

The success at McPherson College is no accident. This is evident as the college has been recognized for the past four years by the Chronicle of Higher Education as one of its “Great Colleges to Work For,” and has been included among institutions meeting the highest criteria on the list’s honor roll for three years. Last year, McPherson College was the only Kansas school included on the list.

McPherson College Student Receives Statewide Scholarship

MC student Kento AizawaKento Aizawa was recognized by the Kansas Independent College Foundation (KICF) for his excellence in academics, character and integrity, along with his commitment to the value of a private college education in Kansas. He was among 20 students from private colleges across the state to receive the Maud Wyatt Recognition Scholarship presented by KICF.

Aizawa, who is from McPherson, is a senior at McPherson College majoring in math. He hopes to work as an actuary after graduating; he has been working as an actuarial intern at Farmers Alliance Insurance Company since 2018. Recipients of the scholarship are full-time, degree seeking students on the cusp of graduation who maintain GPAs of 3.5 or above and contribute to their communities.

Along with being a top student, Aizawa is an acclaimed student musician. He plays clarinet in the McPherson College Band and has performed with several other local and regional bands. In high school he played with the Wichita Youth Symphony, and as a sophomore at McPherson College won the Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony Orchestra’s Young Soloists Competition. Last year, he auditioned for and received a permanent position with the Salina Symphony. He also tries to pass on his love of music to younger generations by volunteering at the McPherson Middle School.

“I like helping the band students get better by helping them understand what they are playing. It makes it more enjoyable,” he said. “I pursued this because as a child I didn’t have a lot of money to pay for lessons. This is my way of giving back – paying it forward.”