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McPherson College Announces Teaching Awards

McPherson College announces the recipients of the 2022-23 Teaching Awards. The college presents the awards yearly at the annual Honors Convocation to one tenured and one non-tenured faculty member. This year’s recipients are Dr. Kim Stanley and Dr. Amanda Yamaski.

A committee of three students and last year’s teaching award recipients reviewed nominations in each category from students and faculty colleagues to select this year’s honorees. Thanks to the foresight and generosity of Thelma Kightlinger, the college enjoys the benefits of an endowed faculty development fund, which provides a modest honorarium for these awards.

The committee selected Dr. Kim Stanley, professor and chair of modern languages, for the tenured award. Dr. Stanley was recognized for her commitment to the college’s mission of scholarship, participation, and service in all that she does. She was nominated for her skill as an educator and for supporting students and the institution. Dr. Stanley is a respected leader on campus and is known for her thoughtful, creative, and balanced approach to projects. She has served as department chair, program reviewer, accreditation committee member, and Horizon Fund Award team.

“Her work in and out of the classroom is guided by a clear set of principles that every student should develop the capacity to read and understand the stories of others, even when, or maybe especially when, those stories differ from their own,” said Amanda Gutierrez, provost, in recognizing Dr. Stanley.

Dr. Yamasaki, assistant professor of biology, was selected for the non-tenured award. She was nominated for her enthusiasm in the classroom and the high priority she places on both students’ academic development and personal well-being. In the classroom, Dr. Yamasaki is known for teaching challenging subject matter, finding creative methods to engage students, and helping them connect to the content in meaningful and lasting ways. She extends her support beyond the classroom to offer encouragement whether it’s study strategies or advice on life. One comment from her nomination said, “no matter how rough the rest of my week has been, I always leave class invigorated!”

Kansas Community Colleges and Kansas Independent Colleges Sign Universal Transfer Agreement

From the Kansas Independent College Association.

Student transfer opportunities expanded today after the Kansas Community Colleges and Kansas Independent Colleges announced initiation of a Global Transfer and Course Articulation Agreement that paves the way for students to seamlessly transfer from any Kansas Community College to any Kansas non-profit college or university. After the implementation of the agreement, any student awarded an Associate of Arts (A.A.) or Associate of Science (A.S.) from a Kansas Community College shall be deemed as having fulfilled the general education requirements of their choice of any Kansas Independent Institution. This consistent coordination and ease of transfer will help ensure students graduate on time, with less cost, and with the goal of keeping these students in Kansas.

“Across the country, debate rages on about college access and affordability,” said Kansas Independent College Association President Matthew Lindsey. “We believe that KICA and KACCT have developed a forward-thinking and sustainable resource to demonstrate to Kansas families and taxpayers we are leading the way.”

This new transfer agreement was formally adopted during a signing ceremony on Tuesday, September 20th at 2:30pm at Friends University in Wichita, following a joint discussion by presidents from both the Kansas Community Colleges and Kansas Independent Colleges on current and future opportunities to serve students better.

Kansas Association of Community College’s Executive Director Heather Morgan praised the partnership, noting “The benefits of the new transfer agreement, the student opportunities it provides, and the potential for additional partnerships to benefit Kansas students reflects the synergy that we need in higher education. We’re working to meet the needs of Kansas learners and this transfer agreement is a key link to ongoing student success and advancement.”

Dr. Michael Schneider is President of McPherson College and Chair of the KICA Board of Directors, celebrates the event by saying, “The spirit of innovation and the road to success intersect at the passion of a Kansas student. The agreement we signed today is the preamble to the new stories of enterprise that our students will write.”

Kansas leaders understand and hold strong to the quantitative proof that higher education leads to an improved quality of life for students, their families, and their communities. A positive experience while in college in Kansas leads to more students living and working in Kansas, a benefit to the entire state.

Today, more than half of Kansas college students attend one of the state’s 19 community colleges or 1 of the 20 Independent Institutions.

Fall Semester Begins With More Than 60% Participating In The Student Debt Project

MC Class of 2026

McPherson College maintained the upward enrollment trend established over the past eight years as it welcomed the class of 2026 to campus on August 24 for the start of fall semester classes. More than 60% of all students beginning the new academic year are enrolled in the college’s Student Debt Project.

In its fourth year, the debt project offers McPherson College students an opportunity to reduce their student loans by blending financial literacy education, mentorship, and work ethic while reinforcing life skills and values of personal responsibility, self-reliance, and financial well-being. Along with matching funds and a pay-as-you-go option, the program matches students with mentors to answer financial questions. This year, more than 60 alumni and friends of the college from across the country serve as mentors to individuals and small groups of students in the program. Students also gain leadership skills by serving as peer mentors for each of the mentoring groups.

So far students participating in the program have reduced their projected debt at graduation by nearly $12,000 while maintaining a higher-than-average 3.3 GPA for working students. The average debt at graduation for the class of 2022 was $16,700, one of the lowest among four-year colleges and universities in Kansas. At the end of the 2021-22 academic year, nearly 30% of the students in the debt project reported zero debt, and nearly another 30% reported less than $2,000 in debt. And 93% of the students who participate in the debt program return to McPherson College to complete their education.

“The debt project was an idea that evolved from our Community by Design strategic plan,” said Michael Schneider, McPherson College president. “It is rewarding for our campus to see the positive impact it has on our students. Especially our graduates who are leaving here with less debt on average than students at other institutions and starting their post-graduation life financially healthy.”

Cheneal Benne, who has been in the program for three years said, “The biggest benefit I receive is definitely the matching funds. It has been my motivator to be smart about my spending habits.”

The Student Debt Project is just one way to gain important career experience. A majority of McPherson College students work at part-time jobs or internships that when paired with a career-focused curriculum gives them an advantage when they join the job market. At commencement in May, two-thirds of the graduating class had secured jobs, military service, or post-graduation placement. That is three times the national average. After six months, 95% of McPherson College graduates are employed or accepted into graduate school.

“The Student Debt Project, along with our focus on experiential learning gives our students a head start when they join the competitive job market or apply for graduate school,” said Amy Beckman, executive director of the Career and Experiential Learning Office. “McPherson College students are eager to enter the workforce to gain valuable experience for their future careers.”

Learn more about campus resources or becoming an employer partner at the Career and Experiential Learning Office.

McPherson College Teacher Education Program Receives Accreditation

The teacher education program at McPherson College received national accreditation from the Council for Accreditation for Educator Preparation (CAEP) as well as state accreditation from the Kansas State Board of Education after program reviews earlier this year.

CAEP is a professional accreditor focused on accrediting teacher education programs at colleges and universities in the United States. It sets the national standards in teacher education and granted McPherson College full accreditation through 2028. The state accreditation status is valid through June 30, 2029

“Receiving full accreditation from CAEP and KSDE validates the quality of our program,” said Shane Kirchner, professor and chair of the teacher education program. “This process helps ensure that the future teachers we prepare are ready for the challenges they will encounter in the classroom.”

Dr. Kirchner, along with Dr. Vicki Schmidt and Professor April Counts, M.A.Ed., M.A., comprise the teacher education program.

The program at McPherson College offers licensure in 16 areas. The college also offers an accelerated program to incoming freshmen that leads to a bachelor’s in elementary education and a master’s in curriculum and instruction degrees with licensure in K-6 and endorsement of either ESOL or special education completed in as little as four years.

Learn more about the teacher education program at

Kansas Student Receives Full-Tuition Presidential Scholarship

Rebekah Ballast, MC Scholarship recipient

Rebekah Ballast, a 2022 graduate of Oskaloosa, KS High School, was ready to see another part of the world and thought she would attend college out of state until she visited McPherson College. Ballast competed in one of the five Presidential Scholarship days at the college and was selected to receive a full-tuition scholarship.

“I was apprehensive at first because it was not what I had in mind,” she said about the college. “After I visited campus, I could actually see myself there and I was able to meet faculty and sit in on a class and was very encouraged.”

Ballast will major in theatre and plans to participate in the choir when she joins the campus this fall. She was selected from a field of 107 high school seniors to receive the four-year renewable, full-tuition scholarship awarded to one student each year. Students who apply to McPherson College and qualify academically are eligible to compete in the Presidential Scholarship program. Award packages, combined with Merit Scholarships, range from $12,000-$22,000 per year for first-time freshmen based on their high school academic record, round table discussion, personal interview, and cognitive ability test.

Even before receiving the scholarship, Ballast said McPherson College was among her top choices. She applied to 13 schools in five states and was accepted to nine schools. After visiting two out of state, she determined they would not be affordable.

“The Presidential Scholarship day was a great experience and reinforced my decision to attend McPherson College. It was really cool to meet the staff and visit with current students to hear about their college experiences,” Ballast said. “It was unbelievable when I found out I had gotten the scholarship. I was still a little away from comfortably affording college but would have made it work, so the scholarship takes that pressure off of me and my family.”

Ballast has been active in community theater, as well as theater opportunities with her church and at school, and she is looking forward to learning more about every facet of the theater.

“I’m looking forward to being immersed in all aspects of theater at McPherson College and working with other students who are passionate about theater,” she said. “I met assistant professor Jen Pollard on my visit. I loved her excitement. She was the kind of person I envisioned working with at college.”

McPherson College Student Receives KICF Scholarship

Lola Hipp

Lola Hipp working in the campus graphic design lab.

Lola Hipp was recognized by the Kansas Independent College Foundation (KICF) for excellence in academics, character, and integrity, along with her commitment to the value of a private college education in Kansas. She was among 20 students from private colleges across the state to receive the Maud Wyatt Recognition Scholarship presented by KICF.

Hipp, who is from Goodland, KS, is a junior at McPherson College majoring in art & graphic design. Her plans after college include becoming an in-house designer for a company focused on rebranding or working as a photographer. During her time at McPherson College, she has worked as a graphic designer for the campus creative arts journal, Inscribe. She is a member of the shotgun sports team, active in the Bulldog Adventure Program, and a student ambassador for the college.

Along with her studies, Hipp also participates in the McPherson College Student Debt Project. As a member of the program, she works two part-time jobs while attending college and is making progress toward reducing her student debt prior to graduation.

“I wasn’t sure about going to a private college at first, but McPherson College was one of the best colleges I toured,” Hipp said. “The two main reasons for choosing McPherson College were the class sizes and the staff. I appreciate being able to directly communicate with my professors and being recognized by name. As a first-generation student, it helps to know if I have questions, I can talk to my advisor or coach and they will help me find an answer.”

McPherson College Honor Roll, Honorable Mention for Spring 2022

McPherson College recognizes its highest academic achievers in the spring 2022 Honor Roll and Honorable Mention. To qualify for the Honor Roll, students must be a full-time student and earn a grade point average of 3.55 or higher during the previous term. Students earning a grade point average from 3.25 to 3.54 are named to the Honorable Mention Roll.

Students named to the McPherson College Honor Roll for spring 2022 include:

Israel Acosta, Houston, TX
Clarissa Adamyk, McPherson, KS
Natalia Ahrens, Lees Summit, MO
Kaylie Akiona, Kaaawa, HI
Davis Alksnis, Latvia
Wyatt Allen, Topeka, KS
Amanda Ambrosy, Haslet, TX
Carter Anglin, Louisburg, KS
Lindzie Archer, McPherson, KS
Bailey Avila, Corinth, TX
William Bandy, Bel Air, MD
Thane Barta, Anchorage, AK
Darril Baty, Sharpsville, IN
Luke Beddow, Pauls Valley, OK
Michael Beltran Rubio, Bogota, Cundinamarca, Columbia
Cheneal Benne, Courtland, KS
Samantha Bennett, North Richland Hills, TX
Caden Beurkens, Byron Center, MI
Caeley Billings, Gardner, KS
Mia Birkes, Mcpherson, KS
Brady Blanka, Wamego, KS
Taylor Bohannon, Belle Plaine, KS
Kevine Bondo, Cape Girardeau, MO
Molly Booker, Roseville, CA
Kyrstin Branscum, Gravette, AR
Felix Bravo, Hanford, CA
Owen Braxmeyer, Manhattan, KS
Garrett Brenning, Culbertson, NE
Kaelan Brockway, Salina, KS
Raegin Bromenshenkel, Phoenix, AZ
Oscar Brouwer, Groningen, Netherlands
Maggie Brown, Wallace, KS
Cedric Brown, Culpeper, VA
Maxwell Brucks, Columbia, MO
Kourtney Brumley, McPherson, KS
Victoria Bruno, McPherson, KS
Edwin Buiter, Ireton, IA
Jaden Cain, Wichita, KS
Jacob Campbell-Roberson, Nyack, NY
Kaci Chadwick, Cheyenne Wells, CO
Colton Chamberlain, Reno, TX
Kade Chapman, Durham, OK
Vannesa Cisneros, North Highlands, CA
Tate Clem, Wichita, KS
Cole Coggins, Kiowa, KS
Isiah Collins, Henderson, NV
Daniel Connell, High Peak, Derbyshire, UK
Austin Cooper, Carmichael, CA
Abigail Cordova, Henderson, NV
Susanne Cunningham, Chanute, KS
Joseph Cyr, Saint Louis, MO
Jesse Davis, Fontana, CA
Antoine Detavernier, Bruges, Belgium
Anthony DeVries, Arvada, CO
Wendy Diaz, McPherson, KS
Katherine Dudte, Canton, KS
Braden Dunn, Frisco, TX
Kurtis Ebling, Lindsborg, KS
Mackenzie Egan, Vandreuil Dorion, Quebec, Canada
Gershom Epp, Hesston, KS
Sarah Ewing, Hutchinson, KS
Brionnah Fessler, McPherson, KS
Nathanael Fetters, Whitewright, TX
Caleb Feuerstake, Waterdown, Ontario, Canada
Heidi Fischer, Aledo, TX
Jadin Fleming, Castle Rock, CO
Theodore Flint, Sagle, ID
Hayden Foster, Little Elm, TX
Koen Gakstatter, Stilwell, KS
Taeylon Garland, Fort Hood, TX
Naomi Campbell Gateka, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, West Africa
Martin Gentes, Florence, MA
Alexandra Gipson, Harrison, AR
Johannes Glymour, Manhattan, KS
Kollin Goering, McPherson, KS
Kurt Golubski, Paola, KS
Conrad Gramckow, Ojai, CA
Alexis Grattan, Newton, KS
Sierra Grow, Halstead, KS
Michael Halgren, Leawood, KS
Madison Hall, The Colony, TX
Jailynn Hammel, Salina, KS
Bailey Hartley, Arp, TX
Jonathan Hawkins, Baldwin City, KS
Scott Hayford, Spring Creek, NV
Derika Helms, Inman, KS
Rachael Hendricks, McPherson, KS
Shyanne Henkis, Laveen, AZ
Sydney Hicks, Broomfield, CO
Lola Hipp, Goodland, KS
Jonathan Hoffman, Wysox, PA
Caleb Houghton, McPherson, KS
Lauren Houston, Sugar Land, TX
Heather Hudson, Greenville, TX
Adam Hughes, Newman Lake, WA
Ethan Huston, Saint John, KS
Spencer Ice, Cameron, MO
Thomas Impson, Durant, OK
Tya Jackson, Wichita, KS
Makenzie Jansonius, Prairie View, KS
Zoe Jerke, Great Bend, KS
Anika Jobe, Eudora, KS
Kadee Johnson, Groveton, TX
Brandt Johnson, Peyton, CO
Kennedy Johnson, Colorado Springs, CO
Jordyn Johnson, Lakewood, CO
Cameron Jones, Harrison, AR
Gracia Kasongo, Lubumbashi, Zaire,
Polina Khoroshevskaya, Kemerovo, Russia
Raegan Kleppe, Durant, OK
Alexander Ko, McPherson, KS
Stephanie Ko, McPherson, KS
Sylvia Ko, McPherson, KS
Jacob Koehn, Wichita, KS
Christa Kondziola, North Newton, KS
Brooke Krapes, Arvada, CO
Matthew Kroeker, Wichita, KS
Dane Kudera, Baggs, WY
Lauren Kunda, Claremont, CA
Drew Labertew, McPherson, KS
Arianna Lathrop, Fort Worth, TX
Emily Leeson, Roswell, NM
Toby Leffew, Reno, NV
Madison Logan, Driftwood, TX
Samantha Lombela, Johannesburg, South Africa
Tyler Loy, Topeka, KS
Jocelyn Mabery, Haltom City, TX
Lauren Machado, Elizabeth, CO
Carelle Mampasu, Kinshasa, Congo
Thomas Mancuso, Chesapeake Beach, MD
Daniel Marcano, San Jose, Costa Rica
Tyler Marcum, Missouri Valley, IA
Ellyce Mares, Riverside, CA
Kael Markham, Topeka, KS
Colby Marshall, Montgomery, TX
Dylan Martell, Colorado Springs, CO
Bethany Masters, Howe, TX
Grace Maxey, Damascus, OR
Benedict Kirabo Mbogga, Oxford, England
Kenya McCain, Plano, TX
Evan McGoldrick, Flower Mound, TX
Hannah McKay, Golden, CO
Celeste McMillen, Kittanning, PA
Wyatt Miceli, Woodacre, CA
Cole Miller, Mcpherson, KS
Christopher Miller, West Milton, OH
Maria Miranda, Great Bend, KS
Palmer Moe, Seattle, WA
Austin Moffet, Toronto, KS
Ezra Monroe, Melissa, TX
Ethan Montalvo, La Feria, TX
Braylon Moody, Pine Bluff, AR
Jayla Moore, Forney, TX
Katelyn Moore, Douglass, KS
Tanner Morrow, Topeka, KS
Arni Mualumba, Kinshasa, Congo
Madison Mullen, Wichita, KS
Vanessa Mundo, Houston, TX
Trey Murphy, Wagga Wagga, Australia
Paul Kapya Mwengwe, McPherson, KS
Michel Mwengwe, Lubumbashi, Congo
Hunter Nicholas, Amarillo, TX
Fabio Nickel, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
Alexis Obregon, Atascosa, TX
Jason Okoro, Plano, TX
Haven Ousley, Camden, MS
Grant Owens, Hutchinson, KS
Alexandrea Pak, Pulyallup, WA
Erica Paradise, Bakersfield, CA
Emma Parker, Hayden, ID
James Pawlak, Palatine, IL
Emily Peterson, Canton, KS
Aidan Pham, Frisco, TX
Corianne Phelps, Peck, KS
Carly Pomrenke, Brighton, CO
Sierra Portenier, Phillipsburg, KS
Jeremy Porter, Seneca Falls, NY
Quintin Powell Jr, Terry, MS
Brianna Powers, Adel, IA
Kennan Puckett, Mesquite, TX
Kaden Quint, Hutchinson, KS
Tyler Rainey, Saint Louis, MO
Robert Ramberg, Topeka, KS
Kaden Rapp, Hennessey, OK
Logan Rees, Franklin, IN
Gregorio Rivera, McPherson, KS
Luis Rodriguez Jr., The Colony, TX
Devin Roff, Comstock, WI
Cameron Rogers, Elkview, WV
Frank Romanaggi, Portland, OR
Curtis Rose, Midwest City, OK
Daniel Rowlett, Gustine, CA
Claudia Russe, Frsco, TX
Briana Ruth, McPherson, KS
Kendyl Saffer, Arriba, CO
Natalia Salto, Cimarron, KS
Andrew Schaefer, Sag Harbor, NY
Dustin Schnacker, Tulare, CA
Kody Scholl, Colorado Springs, CO
Robert Schonberner, Omaha, NE
Alexander Schoneweis, Lincoln, NE
Cole Schroeder, Russell, KS
Logan Scott, Caulfield, MO
Emily Segura, North Las Vegas, NV
Madison Servaes, McPherson, KS
Gerod Shaffer, Topeka, KS
Aidan Sharkey, Deland, FL
Austin Siegal, Panama City, FL
Eliseo Silva, Sterling, KS
Emma Singleton, North Las Vegas, NV
Meghan Smith, Lindsborg, KS
Olivia Smith, Wichita, KS
Ross Smith, Panama City, FL
Amare Sonson, Jackson, GA
Valick Sorter, Kismet, KS
Sarah Stebbins, Pittsburg, KS
Andrew Steinbeck, Liberty, MO
Mason Stephens, Forney, TX
Kenneth Storer, McPherson, KS
Colby Swift, Sedgwick, KS
Tristan Szabo, Sparks, NV
Xavier Taylor, Waynesville, MO
Emily Terry, Springfield, MO
Reagan Thai, Las Vegas, NV
Samantha Thompson, Forney, TX
Sean Thomson, Blandford Forum, UK
Kaden Tichenor, Holcomb, KS
Adriana Tilleman, Paris, TX
Trinity Tovar, Haslet, TX
Brandy Trengove, Denver, CO
Nicholas Turner, Hemphill, TX
Mackenzie Unruh, Hesston, KS
Leandro Vera, McPherson, KS
Hannah Wagner, San Antonio, TX
Antonio Watson, Oklahoma City, OK
Morgan Watson, Loveland, CO
Kassidy Weaver, Katy, TX
Collin Wedel, Moundridge, KS
Ann Weesner, Hutchinson, KS
Isaak Welch, Pacific City, OR
Matthew Whitney, McPherson, KS
Benjamin Wiebe, Laramie, WY
Austin Wiley, Kansas City, MO
Luca Winterton, Thunderidge, England
Ellis Woodruff, Princeton, TX
Andrew Woods, Nevada, TX
Cameron Wright, Denison, TX
Val Zarkh, Hawthorn Woods, IL

Students named to the McPherson College Honorable Mention for spring 2022 include:

Evariste Abeli, Kinshasa, Congo
Nicholas Acierno, Phoenix, AZ
Cori Alexander, Haslet, TX
Andres Artola, Miami, FL
Sarah Asher, Kansas City, MO
Victoria Ates, Dallas, TX
Robert Aurner, Topeka, KS
Mason Ball, Spring, TX
Ellen Barrett, McPherson, KS
Harley Blaske, Sylvia, KS
Cameron Boyce, Tebbetts, MO
Thomas Boyer, Rogers, AR
Tate Brewer, McPherson, KS
Chase Brous, Hays, KS
Kobe Brown, Balch Springs, TX
Hannah Butler, McPherson, KS
Julia Canales, Big Spring, TX
James Canar, Longmont, CO
Cassandra Carmichael, Raleigh, NC
Noah Carpenter, Kearney, NE
Kevinn Castillo, Miami, FL
Arian Cervoni Ortiz, Conroe, TX
Joe Chapman, Roeland Park, KS
Zane Cornejo, Wellington, KS
Cailey Cornett, Lindsborg, KS
Katherine Corrigan, Phoenix, AZ
Moriah Delgado, Saginaw, TX
Prince Difima, Kinshasa, Congo
Zachary Dittert, Hillsboro, KS
Dyron Dixon, Leander, TX
Paul Calvin Dusabe, Commune De Limete, Zaire
Thomas Eichelberger, Euless, TX
Sierra Flanigan, Wichita, KS
Rolando Fletes, San Tan Valley, AZ
Joshua Fowler, Round Rock, TX
Hayden Fry, Cushing, OK
Summer Garcia, Ontario, CA
Nathaniel Gaut, Scottdale, PA
Miranda Gaytan, Edinburg, TX
Darby Gilbert, Bay Minette, AL
Riley Granger, Lebanon, IN
Tavian Gray, Hutchinson, KS
Graedon Green, McPherson, KS
Samuel Grim, Johnstown, CO
Sean Guzman, Aurora, CO
Nathan Hall, Windsor, NY
Addie Heitschmidt, Lindsborg, KS
Clayton Henderson, Dexter, KS
Kelly Hoffman, Wysox, PA
Dashawn Holliman, Fresno, CA
Bailey Hulce, Baldwin City, KS
Carlos Jacobo, Great Bend, KS
Trevor Johnson, La Mesa, CA
Jacob Jonas, Cedarburg, WI
Eli Jordan, Claremore, OK
Lasheicka Joseph, West Palm Beach, FL
Jennyfer Kemper, Creede, CO
Jordan Kingcaid, Fort Worth, TX
Morgan Kobe, Fate, TX
Carson Lambakis, Yukon, OK
Matthew Mahan, Topeka, KS
Isabel Medina, Garden City, KS
Emma Meinholdt, Topeka, KS
Michael Mercer, Topeka, KS
Martin Millos, Vigo, Spain,
Khalil Morris, Tulsa, OK
Nathan Muamba, Kinshasa, Congo
Colin Murphy, Garnet Valley, PA
Tyler Natkin, Warrington, PA
Tyler Neshyba, Anna, TX
Immanuel Newsome, Yukon, OK
Anselm Nyambuka, Arlington, TX
Brett Oden, Sterling, KS
Kayla Ortiz, Brownsville, TX
Frances Parish, Anderson, MO
Calijah Peay, Glenn Heights, TX
Andrew Penrose, McPherson, KS
Carissa Peters, Frisco, TX
Katelyn Potestio, Mansfield, TX
Dryden Powell, Council Grove, KS
Joseph Ramirez, Hutchinson, KS
Chloe Ramirez, Pearland, TX
Melvin Reid, Waterford Works, NJ
Dustin Rhoads, Tonganoxie, KS
Parker Roberts, Carbondale, KS
Hunter Robinson, Edgewood, TX
Wildiomar Roman Morales, Vega Alta, PR
Christopher Roshell, Grand Prairie, TX
Kento Saiki, McPherson, KS
Gustavo Sanchez, Hidalgo, TX
Robert Schmidt, Litchfield Park, AZ
Kaitlyn Sedlack, Broken Arrow, OK
Brianna Shaw, Tulsa, OK
Jordan Simmons, Royse City, TX
TiJanae Simmons, Baytown, TX
Naomi Smith, Farmington, NM
Riley Sojka, Wichita, KS
James Solomon, McKinleyville, CA
Rebecca Steffen, Vinton, IA
Oliver Stout, Sandusky, OH
Genesis Thompson, Austin, TX
Alexander Van Patten, Almena, KS
Isaiah Vazquez, Montebello, CA
Lacy Weaver, Midlothian, TX
Zhiyuan Wei, Guangdong, China
John Wells II, Newton, KS
Lucas Williams Fernandez, London, UK
Collin Young, Garland, TX

McPherson College Celebrates Class of 2022 in Commencement Ceremony

MC graduates of 2022

McPherson College conferred bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees to 130 students at the 134th Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, May 22, 2022, at McPherson Stadium.

In his final ceremony, which completed a nearly 40-year career at McPherson College, Dr. Bruce Clary, vice president for academic affairs, gave the homily. Dr. Clary has held the position of VPAA since 2014; however, during his career at McPherson College, he has worked in development and alumni affairs, as Spectator advisor, faculty chair, and professor of English. He is a 1977 graduate of McPherson College and earned a master’s degree in English from Wichita State University and a Ph.D. in English from Kansas State University. Dr. Clary will retire in July after 39 years of service to the college. In his homily, he praised students for persisting through unpredictable obstacles caused by the pandemic during the past two years.

“You have learned things that will serve you well the rest of your life,” said Dr. Clary. “The most lasting impact of education is the profound recognition that the world, life and other human beings are infinitely complex. The truly educated presume they know very little.”

The ceremony included the presentation and hooding of honorary doctorate recipients, Richard and Melanie Lundquist, who are among California’s most significant philanthropists. The faculty and Board of Trustees voted unanimously to bestow the Doctor of Humane Letters upon the Lundquists in 2020; however, disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the ceremonial hooding until this year’s commencement. During her commencement address, Melanie Lundquist surprised the college with the announcement of a $25 million gift. It is the largest gift ever received by a private liberal arts college in Kansas and among the largest of any Kansas college or university.

“At McPherson College, you learned how to think outside the building, not just the box – keep at it,” said Lundquist, in her address to the students. “At times, it will not be easy. Please, persevere. If someone tells you it cannot be done, you tell them to go sit in the corner and watch you do it.”

Names of the graduating class of 2022, the Commencement video, and photos of the day can be found at

More about the historic gift announcement can be found at

$25M Surprise Gift Announced During McPherson College Commencement

Melanie Lundquist, commencement speaker

Commencement Speaker Dr. Melanie Lundquist encourages students to persevere and embrace the nuances in life as she announces largest gift in college’s history.

California philanthropists and Giving Pledge Signatories Drs. Melanie and Richard Lundquist, LHD, shocked the McPherson College community during its 134th Commencement Ceremony, announcing the couple’s $25 million gift to the college for the Building Community Campaign – the largest gift in the college’s 135-year history. The Lundquists gift completes the campaign early, having raised $53 million in under three years. It is the largest gift ever to a small, private liberal arts college in Kansas and among one of the largest to any college in Kansas. The previous largest gift to McPherson College was $10 million.

“McPherson College is a special place that embraces the love of humanity,” said Melanie Lundquist, while announcing her and her husband’s first major philanthropic gift outside of California. “After a decade of knowing McPherson College, your president, and your provost, we know our $25 million is the right big bet.”

McPherson College has seen tremendous growth, with a 300 percent increase in applications and 40 percent increase in enrollment since 2009. Their Building Community fundraising campaign was launched in October 2019 with a goal of $20 million, which was met 2 ½ years ahead of schedule in December 2020. A $50 million stretch goal was then established. Now, with the addition of the Lundquist’s $25 million gift, the stretch goal has been surpassed by $3 million, two years earlier than expected.

“We are deeply grateful to Richard and Melanie for their incredible generosity to McPherson College. This gift will help put our Community by Design strategic plan on a new trajectory ensuring the new campus commons is built and strengthening the college’s academic programs as well as support the student debt project, which enables students to graduate debt-free,” said McPherson College President Michael Schneider. “The impact of the Lundquists’ gift and friendship is truly immeasurable.”

The Lundquists’ relationship with McPherson College began in 2012, when Melanie donated tool sets to the school’s Automotive Restoration program in honor of Richard’s birthday. Since then, the Lundquists have become regular supporters of the college. In 2019, during a McPherson College event at their home in Pebble Beach, the Lundquists announced the first-ever $1 million gift to the college’s Automotive Restoration program, the only four-year degree program of its kind in the U.S. Earlier this month, Richard donated his prized Enzo Ferrari 1972 365GTB/4 Daytona, marking the first Ferrari in the automotive restoration program’s 45-year history.

“Thank you to the Lundquists for their generous gift to McPherson College. McPherson College is important to the success of our state, and this gift will not only help the college continue to grow, but it will also greatly benefit the McPherson community. I appreciate the Lundquists for understanding how vital institutions like McPherson College are to our local communities and the nation, and I look forward to seeing the benefits of their generosity for years to come,” said Kansas’ senior U.S. Senator Jerry Moran.

Later in the commencement address, Lundquist lauded the college’s ethos and encouraged the students to carry that throughout their life.

“At McPherson College, you learned how to think outside the building, not just the box – keep at it,” said Lundquist. “At times, it will not be easy. Please, persevere. If someone tells you it cannot be done, you tell them to go sit in the corner and watch you do it.”

“We can all agree – McPherson College is a special place that embraces the love of humanity,” concluded Lundquist. “Give your time, talent, and treasure for the love of humanity.”

In November 2020, McPherson College conferred honorary doctorates on Melanie and Richard to recognize the couple’s significant body of work in driving systemic change in K-12 public education, health care delivery, and innovation, as well as the environment. The Doctor of Humane Letters (LHD) degrees were awarded by McPherson College’s Board of Trustees and faculty, who voted unanimously to recognize the Lundquists with the honorary degrees. Due to the pandemic, the hooding ceremony was delayed until this year’s commencement exercises.

“We are transitioning beyond our support of K-12 public education and are hoping this gift spurs more support of well-run small liberal arts colleges in the U.S.,” said Richard Lundquist, who will be joining the College’s Board of Trustees. “We hope this gift will cause everyone to pay greater attention to the value of small liberal arts colleges. I am looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and helping implement their ‘Community by Design’ campus expansion plans.” Lundquist is President & CEO of Continental Development Corporation, one of the most respected owners and developers of Class-A commercial, office, hotel and retail real estate projects in California.



About Dr. Melanie Lundquist, LHD

Dr. Melanie Lundquist, LHD, is an activist philanthropist whose voice is as fearless as her philanthropic work. Melanie and her husband Richard are agents of change and two of California’s most significant philanthropists. They have appeared four times on The Philanthropy 50, the annual list of America’s 50 most generous philanthropists. The Lundquists are signatories of the Giving Pledge, the movement where some of the U.S.’s wealthiest individuals and couples commit to give more than half their wealth away. Their gifts have helped transform public education and health care delivery, spur biomedical research and innovation, and propel efforts to combat climate change. They are co-founders of the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, a sustainable, national turnaround model for underserved non-charter K-12 public schools. Melanie was named “Philanthropist of the Year” in 2019 by the Los Angeles Business Journal. Both Melanie and Richard were recognized by the Los Angeles Unified Board of Education in 2018 for their efforts to accelerate student achievement in the nation’s second-largest school district. Melanie is a sought-out voice on public education and philanthropic issues. She has been quoted in top-tier media outlets, including the New York Times and appeared on Bloomberg Television. Melanie is a member of the University of Southern California (USC) President’s Leadership Council and the USC Rossier School of Education’s Board of Councilors, as well as Vice Chair of the Board at the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools. Melanie holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from USC in communicative disorders/speech pathology and audiology, as well as a credential as a specialist in special education.

About Dr. Richard Lundquist, LHD

Dr. Richard Lundquist, LHD, is a native and lifelong resident of Southern California. Richard is considered one of California’s most respected real estate developers. In 1988, he became President & CEO of Continental Development Corporation. By the mid-1990s, Richard completed his purchase of Continental Development Corporation, which has now developed well over 5 million square feet of commercial buildings. Recently, his company and a development partner secured approval to build and lease a new 14-acre headquarters and training facility to the Los Angeles Chargers NFL team. During the pandemic, he co-developed and opened the 5.7-acre Del Rey campus, the newest office campus on the Westside of Los Angeles, where Electronic Arts – the pioneering video game company – is the anchor tenant. Richard’s company is also the landlord for the global headquarters of electric vehicle automaker Fisker, Inc. as well as the iconic American automotive magazine, Motor Trend. Continental Development also developed Continental Park, considered the largest mixed-use office park in Los Angeles County. In February 2008, the company completed construction of and opened the InterContinental San Francisco, the largest new hotel developed in San Francisco in the last thirty years.  For over three decades, Richard has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the El Segundo Education Foundation, a non-profit organization that raises funds for El Segundo, CA public schools, where Continental Development is headquartered. Richard served for over ten years as Chairman of the Foundation’s Board of Directors. Richard also serves on the El Segundo Economic Development Corporation Board of Governors and the Lundquist Institute’s Board of Directors. Richard earned his Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Southern California.

Gutierrez Named Executive Vice President and Provost at McPherson College

Amanda Gutierrez

Amanda Gutierrez, executive vice president and provost of McPherson College.

Amanda Gutierrez has been named executive vice president and provost of McPherson College. She has worked at McPherson College for more than 16 years. Her most recent role has been vice president for automotive restoration, a position she has held since 2012.

Gutierrez began her career with the college in 1995 when she served as director of annual giving. After a brief hiatus to start a family, she served on the board of trustees from 2006 to 2009. She returned to campus to lead the advancement team and quickly set herself apart as a fundraiser connecting with key automotive industry partners. The vice president for automotive restoration position was created based on the potential she identified for student opportunities and industry support in the field.

“Under Amanda’s leadership, the automotive restoration program has become a center of excellence in the industry with record enrollment, substantial fundraising increases, and a bold vision to elevate the academic experience,” President Michael Schneider said. “She will bring considerable experience and thoughtful insight to her new role and help lead growth initiatives for the entire campus.”

The position aligns with goals set in the college’s Community by Design strategic plan that calls for nurturing entrepreneurial faculty and developing attractive academic programs modeled after recent successes in automotive restoration.

“With initiatives like the Student Debt Project and new academic programs like health sciences, McPherson College is poised for significant growth in the next several years and I am happy to bring what I have learned from the automotive restoration program to facilitate growth across campus,” Gutierrez said. “I value the culture and community of our faculty and campus community and look forward to our work together as we set a course for the future of the college.”

As executive vice president and provost, Gutierrez will provide administrative leadership for academics, the registrar’s office, compliance and institutional research, and academic support services. She will supervise the health science and automotive restoration programs. While transitioning into her new role, Gutierrez is also directing the search for a new vice president of academic affairs. The new VPAA will replace Dr. Bruce Clary, who is retiring after 39 years with the college on July 1, 2022.

“I have been working closely with Bruce Clary for more than a year and have learned a great deal from him,” Gutierrez said. “He has been an inspiring leader for the faculty for many years and our academic programs have flourished under his leadership. Our work moving forward honors his legacy.”

Gutierrez will continue to spend a portion of her time working with the automotive restoration program to ensure a smooth transition to new leadership sometime in the next year.