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McPherson College Honors Young Alumni

2019 Young Alumni Award

Each year McPherson College recognizes the accomplishments of young alumni during the Honors Convocation at Homecoming. This year three alumni – Jason Pendleton ‘92, Jessica Everton ‘96, and Rana Salman ‘01 –received Young Alumni Awards on October 11.

The purpose of the Young Alumni Award is to recognize the achievement and potential for accomplishment of the college’s young alumni. The award is given to alumni who are meeting significant challenges in pursuit of professional goals as well as involved in service to others and church, and who participate in alumni activities.

Jason Pendleton, Overland Park, Kansas, graduated in 1992 with a degree in history. His career as a teacher began after he received his degree at McPherson College. He later received a master’s degree in history at Emporia State. He is currently a teacher at Blue Valley Southwest High School where he has been a teacher of U.S. history, sociology, AP U.S. history, and U.S. government since 2010. He’s taken on leadership roles as a co-chair for the history department and led professional development on blended learning and diversity. In 2008, he received the Dayton Rothrock Alumni Fellow from McPherson College.

Along with his teaching responsibilities, he has also coached 50 high school seasons–mostly soccer, but also football and track. At Blue Valley Southwest, his teams have won state championships in soccer two times for girls and once for boys. In 2017-18, both teams were undefeated and finished the season ranked fourth in the U.S. for boys and sixth for the girls. That season earned him the Girls United Soccer Coaches National Coach of the Year award along with the National Federation of High School Boys National Coach of the Year award. He has been named Kansas Coach of the Year for girls soccer five times and twice for boys.

Jessica (Boothe) Everton, Phoenix, Arizona, graduated in 1996 with a degree in English and later received a master’s degree in communication from Wichita State University. Everton is a senior director of product development at the NROC Project, a California-based technology firm that works with educators to build technologies and content that improve student success. She creates courses and tools that prepare secondary, post-secondary and adult learners for college and career success. Prior to her work at NROC, she worked in content and technology development for several ed-tech companies from start-ups to larger publishers.

Everton served on the McPherson College Board of Trustees from 2006-2011. She currently serves as the volunteer director of the Archway Scottsdale Parent Services Organization and is a Girl Scout leader.

Rana (El-Halabi) Salman, Austin, Texas, graduated in 2001 with a degree in public relations. Salman established Salman Consulting in 2016 collaborating with sales leaders, marketing, and enablement to improve sales effectiveness. She started her career with an interest in research and earned an MBA and Ph.D., along with several certificates. Salman has more than 18 years of experience in marketing and sales, spending a significant amount of her career as a sales consultant, working with top-tier organizations, conducting qualitative and quantitative analysis, developing sales strategies aligned to outcomes, and working closely on sales training programs.

She is the co-founder of WiSE, Women in Sales Enablement, an organization that brings women in sales enablement together to network and learn from another. She is also the previous board president of TMF Foundation, a charitable giving foundation that supports health care providers in multiple settings. She is a speaker at national conferences including Texas Conference for Women, Sales Enablement Society, and Competitive Marketing Summit, as well as a guest lecturer at Texas A&M Reynolds & Reynolds Sales Leadership Institute.

Power Day 2019 Surpasses Previous Years

Power Day 2019 - Bulldog ForeverMcPherson College’s Power Day 2019 surpassed all goals and set new records on March 14 this year during the annual online day of giving, which supports students and programs across campus. Celebrating the five-year anniversary of Power Day, more than 300 alumni and friends of the college gave $156,770, exceeding last year’s total by nearly $40,000.

“The response to this year’s Power Day exceeded all my expectations,” Dave Barrett ’90, advancement officer, said. “Five years ago when we started this, we had no idea Power Day would connect with so many people. It’s really a day about celebrating McPherson College.”

Many McPherson College alumni agreed and shared why they are “Bulldogs Forever” on the college’s website and social media channels. Donors were encouraged to leave comments throughout the day and those were shared on the college website. Common themes were gratitude for community, support, and quality education.

“McPherson College gave me the opportunity to jump start my career. I want to ensure current and future students have the same or better opportunities that I did,” Kyle Smith, a 2013 graduate, said.

Brent Paul, a 1994 graduate, kicked off the day with a gift of $50,000 and more than 40 first-time donors made gifts to Power Day. Alumni from 35 states and two foreign countries participated in the day of giving. Support on campus was also strong this year with employee participation doubling. The 20-person staff of the Facilities Department was the largest department on campus with 100 percent participation.

“Power Day is a great example of our alumni and friends stepping up to support student experience at McPherson College,” President Michael Schneider said. “Encouraging a new generation of support through opportunities like Power Day ensures that we continue our tradition of successful fundraising.”

McPherson College Honors Young Alumni With Careers in Science, Business and Art Therapy

Each year McPherson College recognizes the accomplishments of young alumni during the Honors Convocation at Homecoming. This year three alumni – Joseph-Vincent V. Blas ’05, Myron Stine ’94, and Rahila Weed ’95 – were presented Young Alumni Awards on October 19.

The purpose of the Young Alumni Award is to recognize the achievement and potential for accomplishment of the college’s young alumni. The award is given to alumni who are meeting significant challenges in pursuit of professional goals as well as involved in service to others and church, and who participate in alumni activities.

Joseph-Vincent V. Blas, Greenville, South Carolina, graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2005 with a degree in biochemistry. As a member of the vascular surgery faculty at Greenville Health System of the University of South Carolina School of Medicine in Greenville, Dr. Blas is an assistant clinical professor of surgery. He received his medical degree from Creighton University in Omaha and completed his general surgery residency at Mayo Clinic in Phoenix.

As an undergraduate at McPherson College, he received the Burkholder Research Award and awarded for outstanding undergraduate research. He remains active in research and publications as author of several chapters in vascular surgery textbooks and as a presenter at vascular surgery conferences. He is one of the co-directors of the Aortic Center at the Greenville Health System and serves on several quality assurance committees for the health system as well as the diversity committee for the Southern Association for Vascular Surgery. Dr. Blas is also assistant fellowship program director for the Association of Program Directors in Vascular Surgery.

Myron Stine, Adel, Iowa, graduated in 1994 with a degree in crop science. Stine proudly supports the family business by providing direction in marketing strategies and sales force infrastructure for Stine Seed Company. He understands the importance of working hard and developing relationships. With a background in crop science, sales, and marketing, Stine has worked his way up through the organization, starting his career on the family farm, serving as a district sales manager, regional sales manager, national sales director, vice president of sales and marketing, and now as president of Stine Seed Company.

He has served McPherson College as a member of the board of trustees for four years and is currently serving as a member of the Auto Restoration National Advisory Board. He also serves on the Iowa State University executive MBA advisory board. Stine shares his agriculture expertise as a committee member of the FFA Stine Seed Enrichment Center at Des Moines Area Community College and served as a director on the Cultivation Corridor Board. He pursues his interest in cars as a trustee on the Iowa Automotive Heritage Foundation Board and has served as committee chair of the Des Moines Concours d’Elegance.

Rahlia Weed, Warrensburg, Missouri, graduated in 1995 with a degree in art and psychology. Dr. Weed is a professor of art education and serves as the assistant chair of the school of visual and performing arts and division head of art and design at the University of Central Missouri. She received her teaching certificate, master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. She has been honored as the Missouri Art Education Association Higher Education Art Educator of the Year and was nominated for the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education. She shares her passion for art education through involvement and collaborations such as presenting at the statewide Girl’s STEAM event.

Dr. Weed lends her expertise to the Marilyn Zurmuehlen Working Papers in Art on its education editorial review board. She has served on the Missouri Art Education Association as a council member, district representative, and web editor and a member of several international, national, and state professional and academic associations. She is a frequent presenter at the National Art Education Association and has been published in several scholarly journals.

Homecoming 2018 Schedule and Registration Info

Homecoming 2018 is Oct. 19-21, 2018 featuring all your favorites activities, plus new exciting events:

  • 100th Anniversary for Theatre & Celebration of Rick Tyler’s career
  • Teacher Education Reunion & Scholastic Book Fair
  • Pancake feed brunch
  • Food truck lunch
  • Photo booth for family, friends, or classmates
  • Inflatables
  • Dog walk
  • Bulldog Visit Day for prospective MC students
  • Choir concert
  • Athletic events an more!

Class reunion years: 1958, 1963, 1968, 1973, 1978, 1983, 1988, 1993, 1998, 2003, 2008, and 2013. If it is your reunion year and you’d like to plan a get-together, please contact the Alumni Office at alumni@mcpherson.edu or (620) 242-0432.

Click here for Schedule and Registration.

McPherson College’s History Featured In National Holocaust Memorial Museum

McPherson College plays a prominent role in a newly opened exhibit at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. The exhibit features the story of how students raised money to help an 18-year-old refugee escape Nazi persecution and attend McPherson College.

The exhibit, “Americans and the Holocaust,” is a panoramic portrait of American society in the 1930’s and 40s, which examines all influences that shaped the American response to Nazism and the Holocaust.

Rebecca Erbeling, a researcher for the exhibit recently wrote about the McPherson College story in an article for the Kansas City Star:

“Undergraduates from at least 200 colleges and universities raised money to aid refugee students, many of who were Jewish and in need of student visas to enter the United States. The 200-person student body at McPherson College, a small Christian school in McPherson, Kansas, raised $250 (about $4,500 today) to support a refugee student,” she wrote. In her research, she also found a statement made by an aid worker stating: “The student body of the college has raised this money at some sacrifice, since it is not a wealthy school, and they are looking forward to the arrival of a German student.”

The 18-year-old student, Tom Doeppner, was German-born and targeted by the Nazis for his Jewish heritage. According to research compiled by Sarah Snow, Doeppner’s granddaughter, the students at McPherson College were moved to take action after learning about the events in November 1938, known as Kristallnacht – violent anti-Jewish protests throughout Germany and Austria.

“This was an action out of compassion, but also sacrifice and amazing coordination on the part of the students,” Snow said. “Opa (what she called her grandfather) was in a very precarious position, so this scholarship and acceptance to a school in the United States was literally a life-saving invitation.”

Doeppner had escaped Germany and joined his father in Holland when he asked the Quakers for help to immigrate to the United States. He worked through the American Friends Service Committee, an organization formed by the Quakers to assist refugees escaping Nazi persecution. According to the museum’s exhibit, the AFSC worked to get Doeppner admitted to McPherson College. He struggled to obtain a student visa, since he technically did not have a country to return to after graduation.

“The acceptance and financial assistance to McPherson is what enabled him to get a visa, which is how he left Europe,” Snow said. “Immigration was all about obtaining the ever-difficult visa. He was part of a small percent of refugees able to get the visa he needed and left Holland mere months before it was overtaken by Nazi forces.”

Doeppner did not talk much about his past until later in his life, according to his granddaughter. He did share more about his past in an autobiography, where he remembers McPherson fondly. From his first simple greeting of “welcome to McPherson, Tom,” by Phil Myers, president of the McPherson College Student Council, to adapting to a co-educational learning experience, he writes about initial memories of coming to the United States and attending McPherson College.

“The student body, as well as the faculty, welcomed me with open arms,” he wrote. “And whenever the immigration officials gave me a hard time – which occurred frequently – the college President went out of his way to assist me with recommendations and letters.”

Snow said she also experienced how welcomed her grandfather must have felt when she also visited the college a few years ago. It was shortly after she had been to Berlin to see where her grandfather grew up.

Tom Doeppner US Army training camp ca1944-45

Tom Doeppner (seated, second from left), at U.S. Army training camp, ca. 1944-45. Courtesy of Ron Doeppner and Sarah Doeppner Snow.

“I was able to appreciate how different McPherson must have been for Opa,” she said. “And yet, how welcoming and kind the people were to make him feel at home. There are three generations of my family that would not exist if McPherson did not offer Opa this chance to come to the United States. I have become endeared to the hard-working kindness of a group of students in the middle of Kansas and say thank you for embodying the spirit of what it means to treat others how you would want to be treated. They have done that for me and my family beyond expectation.”

Doeppner attended McPherson College for two years then transferred to Kansas State University where he completed a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. After graduating, he joined the U.S. Army, fought in World War II, and spent his career in the military.

“This is an incredible piece of McPherson College history to uncover and share on a national stage,” McPherson College President Michael Schneider, said. “It’s an example of the college’s long-tradition of service to others that continues today through efforts like supporting students studying at the college from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”

Research for the exhibit began two years ago when the museum launched a crowd-sourcing project called “History Unfolded.” Museum staff asked students, teachers, librarians and history buffs across the country to research their local newspapers and determine what kind of information their community could have found about Nazi Germany and the Holocaust.

In addition to its national search for information, extensive documentation by Doeppner’s granddaughter, which included articles from the McPherson College student newspaper led museum researchers to Mary Hester, director of library services at the college who oversees the college’s archives. Hester helped the museum track down information from the school’s archives and supplied one original copy of the student newspaper “The Spectator” that is on loan for the exhibit.

This exhibition comes at a critical time, according to a statement made by the museum. A recent study found that two-thirds of American millennials could not identify what Auschwitz was. Doeppner’s personal story is also featured in the museum’s accompanying online exhibition: ushmm.org/americans.

Fourth Annual Power Day Raises More Than $118,500

The fourth annual McPherson College Power Day set a new giving record, raising more than $118,500 with 228 donors participating. The annual online day of giving, which supports students and programs across campus, exceeded last year’s total of $90,000.

The one-day giving blitz featured live videos throughout the day of alumni in McPherson businesses on the college’s social media as well as alumni photos and stories about why they love MC. Response from first time and young donors was encouraging this year, according to Dave Barrett ’90, advancement officer at McPherson College.

“Participation of young donors, especially those who graduated five years ago or less, was just tremendous this year,” Barrett said. “I think it confirms that there is an excitement building around Power Day each year and we are seeing more and more participation from all our constituents.”

Barrett said he was also encouraged by the increased participation on campus by faculty, staff and students. Not only through support, but many on campus participated in the videos and made thank you calls during the day.

This year’s Power Day theme was “IMC” and alumni were encouraged to share their stories of why they love McPherson College leading up to Power Day. Donors were also encouraged to leave comments throughout the day and those were shared on the college website. Common themes were gratitude for community, support, and quality education.

“Thanks for all of the memories and lessons learned,” said Emilee Reinert ’13. “I will always have a special place in my heart for McPherson College. I wouldn’t be who I am today without all my professors, fellow students, and the experience I got from McPherson.”

Although the main focus of Power Day is an online day of giving, Barrett said it is also a day to reconnect with friends and communicate why it is important to support the next generation of students through scholarships.

“As we look to continue our tradition of successful fundraising, it will take a new generation of support,” President Michael Schneider said. “Power Day is one demonstration of our alumni and friends stepping up.”

More information about Power Day, including alumni stories, comments can be found at www.mcpherson.edu/power.

McPherson College Honors Alumni

The McPherson College Citation of Merit award recipients exemplify the mission of Service, Scholarship, and Participation through their life-long commitment to the values they developed as students at the college. This year’s recipients were honored at a dinner March 2 at 6:30 p.m. in Mingenback Theatre. Citation of Merit awards were presented to Paul Ediger ’63, Glenn Walker ’68, and Bob ‘78 and Susan (Boehle ‘78) McKellip.

The McPherson College Citation of Merit, the college’s highest award, is given to the college’s most distinguished alumni for lifetime accomplishments in service to profession, community, church, and to McPherson College. The recipients are recommended by the Alumni Awards Committee and approved by the College Board of Trustees.

Paul Ediger ’63

Paul’s commitment to church, community, and college is evident in his more than 50 years of service for each, at times working quietly behind the scenes on numerous fund raising campaigns and other volunteer efforts. Following his graduation, Paul began his work in banking as an examiner with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and in 1967 he began his 50-year association with Home State Bank starting as assistant vice president and named president in 1990. He was recognized by the Kansas Bankers Association as one of just a few of its 50-year members.

He and his wife, Veneta, have been members of the First Presbyterian Church for more than 60 years. Paul has served in virtually every position of the local church and has held several positions in the church’s state organizations. In addition to serving the McPherson community through his banking role, Paul is a long-time member and past president of the Rotary Club. He has served in various roles with the Chamber of Commerce, the McPherson Main Street Committee, the McPherson City Center Committee and the South Central Kansas Medical Education Center. Paul also served on the board and finance committee of The Cedars. While raising their three children, he was also very engaged with his children’s activities and served in leadership roles in 4-H and Boy Scouts.

While a student at McPherson College, Paul began his long commitment to supporting it with his first donation of $25, or the equivalent of $200 today. Paul and Veneta have continued their financial support of the college since that time. In addition, he has served the college as co-chair of the local business campaign on several occasions, served on the alumni board, and served two terms on the board of trustees. His financial expertise was greatly appreciated as he chaired the finance committee, the endowment and investment committee and served on the executive committee.

Glenn Walker ‘68

Glenn is a true teacher and leader whose service has directed him in learning and working with people around the world. He spent the first 22 years of his career teaching social studies, and nine years as a high school principal. In 1975 Glenn earned a Master of Science degree in history and in 2000 completed requirements for an Educational Doctorate in Teaching and Leadership at the University of Kansas. He pursued additional graduate studies at Duke University, University of New York, Penn State, and several other institutions. Following retirement from public education, he headed the secondary education program at Bethany College, Lindsborg, for five years. He is the recipient of two Fulbright Fellowships, has studied in Pakistan, India and Russia and led teams to the Soviet Union for four years as the state chairman of the People to People Initiative for Understanding.

His service to McPherson College is another example of his commitment to learning. He has his wife, Barbara, recently established the Glenn and Barbara Walker Scholarship, a restricted fund at McPherson College, with special consideration given to non-traditional junior or senior students in good academic standing. He has also been a speaker for the campus teacher education club on what it takes to be a successful teacher. His honors and involvement in support of education are many. He is a recipient of the Coe Fellow and a Milken National Educator award. He also worked on state and national advisory teams including a state curriculum development team, the National Education Commission on Time and Learning, and the national ASCD accreditation team for three years.

Glenn and Barbara have been active in the Methodist churches of the communities in which they have lived. Glenn has been a part of Methodist Men, and has served as a trustee, parish-pastor chair, and in other leadership positions. When they lived in Concordia, Glenn was a committee member and county chair of the Cloud County Central Committee which supported two gubernatorial candidates and other local officials. Service clubs have included Lions Club and Rotary International which granted him a Rotary International Fellowship to Lesotho and South Africa.

Continuing their passion for education, Glenn and Barbara established two endowed scholarships for Ell-Saline high school seniors, one for a college-track student, the other for vocational technical education.

Since 2006, Glenn has been ranching and working in rangeland management and in 2013 received the Kansas Wildlife Federation Farm/Ranch state conversation award.

Bob ’78 and Susan (Boehle ’78) McKellip

Bob and Susan receive the Citation of Merit award as a couple because much of their professional, church, and community work has center around their 39 years of farming together. Bob started the Nampa, Idaho farming operation in 1979 raising peppermint, spearmint, sugar beets, wheat and vegetable seed crops. The farm evolved through the years and is currently operating a custom mint still, and raising peppermint, sod, and wheat. Susan worked at a furniture store in Boise after graduating from college, where she used her interior design degree. She transitioned to running the farm office and raising their two children. She also oversees 12-15 employees, several of whom have worked for the family between 20 and 30 years.

Bob serves on local and state boards supporting agriculture and the mint industry in particular. Bob is on the Idaho Mint Commission which is a self-governing agency of the State of Idaho that is concerned with research, market development, promotion and education. Bob also serves as President of the Board of the Idaho Mint Growers Association which is involved in all legislative matters that pertain to mint. At the national level, he is on the Mint Industry Research Council that funds research and promotion for peppermint and spearmint. At the local level he has served as President of the Country Man’s Club, an agricultural civic club. And, he is currently a supervisor on the Canyon Soil Conservation District which works to assist agricultural producers, rural landowners and municipalities with conservation of the county’s soil and water resources.

Susan supports agriculture on the state and national level by serving on the Idaho Women for Agriculture board, but has also been involved in Love, Inc., a Christian non-profit ministry, where she stages furniture in their thrift shop and was a 4-H leader for 20 years. Susan, as well as Bob, served as board members at the Nampa Church of the Brethren, as well as teaching Sunday School and serving on Women’s Fellowship. Bob and Susan presently attend and are active at the Ten Mile Christian Church.

Susan served McPherson College as the Class of 1978 alumni representative for several years. And, in addition to their financial support of each campaign and serving as area leaders for national campaigns, their most significant to date service to McPherson College has been sending their two children, Laina and Nick, to McPherson, where Laina graduated in 2003 with a major in communication and a minor in art, and Nick graduated in 2007 with a major in computer science and a minor in art.

McPherson College Alumnus Present Program On Radiation

Dr. Craig Little '70 McPherson College will welcome Dr. Craig Little, a 1970 graduate, to campus as a guest lecture and scholar. He will present a public program, “Radiation and You,” on Tuesday, February 27 at 7 p.m. in Melhorn 112.

The free public lecture will explore the history of radiation science, background exposures, nuclear accidents, medical uses of radiation, and risks to the public. While on campus, Dr. Little will also present lectures in several classes and meet with the Pre-Health Professionals Club.

Dr. Little works as a radiation risk consultant for his company Two Lines, Inc. in Junction City, Colorado. He also serves as a member of the McPherson College Board of Trustees.

Merry Christmas from MC!

It has become a tradition for the MC Band to walk around campus at the end of the fall semester, playing Christmas songs for the enjoyment of all. We wanted to share their gifts with you! Thank you, MC Band, for brightening our days!

 

McPherson College Honors Young Alumni

Each year McPherson College recognizes the accomplishments of young alumni during the Honors Convocation at Homecoming. This year three alumni – Erin Cassidente ’97, Gina Railsback McGowan ’97, and Nathanael Lander ’02 – were presented the Young Alumni Awards on October 13.

The purpose of the Young Alumni Award is to recognize the achievement and potential for accomplishment of the college’s young alumni. The award is given to alumni who are meeting significant challenges in pursuit of professional goals as well as involved in service to others and church, and participate in alumni activities.

Erin Cassidente, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, graduated in 1997 with a degree in fine arts-theatre. McPherson College Associate Professor of Theatre Jd. Bowman presented the award to Cassidente and said of her that from the moment she stepped on campus she, “purposely chose an alternative path,” and “pushed boundaries” to teach people to celebrate their differences. Working as a doula, she is an advocate for mothers and displays a true servant attitude, Bowman said.

In 2003, Cassidente became certified by Doulas of North America as a professional labor assistant and has attended to numerous births. Along with her work as a doula, she is also very active in Milwaukee Mennonite Church. She serves as a sermon giver and worship leader and is a member of the Church Life Team. Since 1997 Cassidente has facilitated support groups for the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (today known as National Alliance on Mental Illness), WIC breastfeeding support groups, C-section support groups and other parenting support groups. After becoming a doula, she became active with C.A.R.E. Network of Wisconsin, a non-profit organization for childbirth professionals that serves as a networking resource, advocacy and educational group for women and families during their pregnancy, birth and postpartum period.  After running the organization as co-chair for many years she currently serves on its board and is the treasurer.  Most recently she testified at a judiciary hearing in Milwaukee in support of a proposed Anti-Shackling Bill for incarcerated pregnant women on behalf of C.A.R.E. and in 2008 supported a bill to legalize certified professional midwives in Wisconsin.

Cassidente encouraged current McPherson College students to spend time finding out what they love and make a difference in their corner of the world. “Seek a life useful and you’ll find a life worth living,” she said. She celebrated Homecoming with her father, Ronald, who was part of the 50-year reunion class, and her daughter, Ayla, who is a freshman at McPherson College.

Gina Railsback McGowan, Ellsworth, Kansas, graduated in 1997 with a degree in elementary education. Dave Barrett, advancement officer at McPherson College presented McGowan the award and said of her, “Gina has made a commitment to service. The world needs more people like Gina serving youth and elderly.”

Through her volunteer service, she has been an advocate for early childhood education and public schools. She serves as Region 7 vice president on the board of directors for the Kansas Association of School Boards. She was a member of the Kansas delegation representing school board members that visited with Kansas congressmen in Washington, D.C. about public schools. She is a member of the Ellsworth/Kanopolis/Geneseo school board and works with the Ellsworth County Community Cares committee working on ideas and activities to promote health and wellness in Ellsworth County. She is involved in Camp Hope, a camp for children with a cancer diagnosis, where she serves as houseparent director and committee member. She also serves as co-director and teacher for Kids of the Kingdom and Kids with a Mission, an afterschool non-denominational program for more than 150 kids, consisting of Bible lessons and weekly service projects. She served two terms on the Alumni Board of Directors for the college. While attending McPherson College, she served on both STUCO and SAB and participated in choir and cheerleading.

McGowan said that through her work with the state board of education she had the opportunity to hear from individuals and professionals across the state and what they expect from Kansas education aligns with McPherson College’s mission. “They are looking for well-rounded students who exhibit scholarship, participation and service. McPherson College had that figured out all along.”

Nathanael Lander, Irvine, California, graduated in 2002 with a degree in automotive restoration. He was the first McPherson College student and first American to intern in the workshops of the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Stuttgart, Germany and today is workshop project manager for the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Irvine, where he supervises nine full-time workshop staff and manages more than 20 active restoration projects.

Amanda Gutierrez, vice president of automotive restoration, presented the award to Lander and said, “As a student, Nate set out to do something that had never been done before and became the first American to intern at the Mercedes Benz Classic Center in Germany. He then went on to help establish the first U.S. Classic Center and has been an advocate for McPherson College everywhere he has gone.”

He was the second employee hired and assisted in the establishment of the Classic Center in southern California. In 2010 he received the President’s Award from Mercedes-Benz U.S.A. and in 2005 received the Automotive Restoration Department’s Outstanding Alumni Award. He is a 15-time Colorado Grand Mechanic and 15-time participant at the Concours d’ Elegance at Pebble Beach. He mentors McPherson College automotive restoration students through yearly internships at the Classic Center and is serving as an advisor on the department’s Mercedes Benz 300 S “moon shot” project, to compete at Pebble Beach.

“Coming back to McPherson College is always like coming home for me,” Lander, who is originally from Arkansas City, Kansas, said. “The college and my experience here has set me on a path that has taken me to places and experiences that I never imagined.”