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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

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.

Student-Run Car Show Celebrates 20 Years

America’s love of the automobile is alive and well, and was on full display this weekend at McPherson College as it hosted the 20th Annual C.A.R.S. Motoring Festival. Perhaps the best example of the enthusiasm and passion for the automobile was found in the college’s special guest for the event, Donald Osborne.

Osborne, a regular contributor on Jay Leno’s Garage on CNBC and What’s My Car Worth for MotorTrend TV, is a historian, appraiser, consultant, and writer. He spoke on Friday night at the Evening with AR dinner about his varied career, which includes performing with the Metropolitan Opera, and his life-long love of cars.

“I have been hearing about McPherson College over the years and knew there was obviously something important going on,” Osborne said. “There is the deepest of enthusiasm and talent here. It’s a response to people looking to follow their dreams and live their passion. The college is giving students an opportunity to pursue their concept of success, which is really a byproduct of doing something you love really well.”

Nearly 400 cars filled the campus grounds on Saturday, May 4 for the student-run show. Feature cars were prominently displayed in the center of campus and included a 1914 Peugeot L45 Grand Prix, a 1946 Kurtis Novi Indy race car, a 1952 Ferrari 212 Vignale, and a 1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda. Amanda Gutierrez, vice president of the automotive restoration program, announced that the original 1968 Bullitt Mustang would be featured at next year’s show.

Traditionally the show is host to a wide variety of rare and unique cars from works in progress, on display in the student section, to concours-quality vehicles like a 1955 Mercury Monteclair that was on the field this year. This year’s Best of Show went to a 1930s Franklin Pirate. Cars, motorcycles, scooters, and tractors from 16 states across the country were on display, according to show chair Nick Navarro, a junior in the Automotive Restoration program from Paramus, New Jersey.

“Our car show is one of the most colorful car shows that I have ever seen,” he said. “There are cars here that I will probably never see again in my life because they are so rare.”

Osborne, who is also a classically trained opera singer, kicked off this year’s show by performing the National Anthem. Other performances included the college and the high school jazz bands, and a demonstration by the college’s Model T build team that tied its build record by clocking in at just over six minutes.

“This is one of my favorite kinds of shows,” Osborne said. “You can see everything from European sports cars, hot rods, custom built cars, brass era cars to contemporary. It represents what McPherson College is all about -it’s inclusive, broad-ranging and passionate. You get to see how people love cars and live for cars at a show like this. Especially in the student section where it’s all about sharing their car with friends and with the greater community.”

College Car Show Has Something For Everyone

The 20th Annual C.A.R.S. Club Motoring Festival at McPherson College will take place Saturday, May 4 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The student-run car show attracts rare vehicles from across the country. Last year more than 400 cars entered the show. This year’s event will again feature unique vehicles and special guests including Donald Osborne.

It all starts on Friday, May 3 when Osborne will be the guest speaker at a dinner event that kicks off the car show weekend. Osborne is a regular contributor on Jay Leno’s Garage on CNBS, and What’s My Car Worth for MotorTrend TV. He lends his considerable knowledge of car valuation to organizations such as the Historic Vehicle Association and RM Sotheby’s. Additionally, Osborne studied opera at Hartt College of Music in Hartford Connecticut, and is a talented singer.

Car enthusiasts are encouraged to participate in a Cruise-in also on Friday beginning at 6 p.m. on Main Street in McPherson. This event serves as a sneak peek at what will be on the show field and an opportunity for any car or motorcycle owner to display their rides in an informal show in downtown McPherson. There is no entry fee required for this fun event.

The Motoring Festival gets into high gear on Saturday. Cars will be let onto the field at 8 a.m. and a day full of activities is planned including demonstrations, tours of the Automotive Restoration facility, a Model T build, McPherson College and McPherson High School Jazz Bands performances, and food trucks, up until 3 p.m. when awards will be announced. A complimentary trolley will also be available for rides from campus to Main Street on Saturday. Pre-registration is open online until April 22 at a discounted rate. Registration is also available the day of the show.

This year’s show will feature an entry from Barn Find Hunter, Tom Cotter. Cotter digs through barns and garages in search of buried automotive treasures. He is the author of several popular Barn Find books and is a regular video contributor to Hagerty’s online media. He recently collaborated on a 1962 Ford Country Sedan station wagon with two McPherson College alumni, which will be part of this year’s show.

Other feature cars include a 1952 Ferrari 212, a 1914 Peugeot Indianapolis race car, and a 1970 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda. The Motoring Festival brings a diverse field of vehicles together that includes cars, motorcycles, bicycles, tractors and even military vehicles. From the concours-quality vehicles to the unique and unusual to the student area that features works in progress, there is something for everybody.

Student Receives First Ever Denise McCluggage Scholarship

A scholarship honoring the legendary female racecar driver, journalist, author, and photographer Denise McCluggage was presented for the first time ever at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance to McPherson College senior Emma Critz during the gala dinner on March 9.

Critz was selected for the inaugural scholarship out of the automotive restoration program; however, the scholarship will be available to all women at McPherson College with interests similar to McCluggage’s such as journalism, art, photography.

“I’m honored to have been selected for the scholarship,” Critz said. “Denise McCluggage was such an interesting person and I was so surprised when my name was announced as the recipient. It is definitely the highlight of my time at McPherson College.”

When McCluggage passed away in 2015 she left instructions to develop a scholarship in her name that would encourage other women to pursue their dreams. The initial funding for the scholarship was provided by the Santa Fe Concorso and it was developed this year as a senior capstone project by Abigayle Morgan, a senior majoring in automotive restoration with a minor in communication. Morgan had the opportunity to introduce the scholarship and announce this year’s recipient at the Amelia Island event.

“Being in a room full of longtime friends and competitors of Denise McCluggage was an awesome experience,” she said. “I was thrilled with the amount of support people expressed to me for the scholarship.”

Morgan is leading a fundraising campaign to guarantee that funds will be available to support women at McPherson College through the McCluggage Scholarship. For more information about the scholarship, please go to

McPherson College partners with Ferrari on scholarships, student experience

McPherson College will partner with the Ferrari Club of America to provide scholarship support, internship opportunities, tooling, and student experiences for automotive restoration students.

The Ferrari Club of America is the largest membership organization of Ferrari enthusiasts in the world. The organization comprises 6,500 members in 40 chapters across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The club’s Annual Meeting event draws hundreds of Ferraris from around the world that participate in a concours, rally and other events.

“We are pleased to partner with an organization that understands the importance of encouraging the next generation of auto restoration craftsmen,” Amanda Gutierrez, vice president of automotive restoration, said. “Collaborating with the Ferrari Club of America and its extensive membership base across North America will offer many opportunities for our students.”

This year four students from McPherson College were invited to attend in The Ferrari Club of America Annual Meeting where they participated in judging meetings, seminars, and served as apprentice judges for The Ferrari Club of America International Concours. They also had the opportunity to visit the historic Watkins-Glen racetrack.

In its announcement, the Ferrari Club of America stated it plans to support scholarship through voluntary member contribution as well as club fund raising events, donate tools and foreign cars or engines, and support efforts to establish internships and future employment opportunities for students.

“McPherson College stands alone as the only school to provide a bachelor’s degree in restoration technology and its students are looking to apply their skills and learn in a world-setting,” Randy Steyer, FCA National Secretary, said. “Our members know companies that can provide quality learning experiences for these dedicated, passionate, and skilled students.”

National Magazine Features McPherson College

McPherson College is featured in an article appearing in Automobile Magazine touting the college’s four-year bachelor degree in automotive restoration, the only degree of its kind in the nation. The article, “Cradle of the Restoration Craft,” is featured in the magazine’s online version now and will be included in its August print edition.

“It’s always great to be recognized on a national level,” Amanda Gutierrez, vice president of Automotive Restoration, said. “This article not only validates what we do in terms of automotive restoration, but also what we do in terms of a liberal arts education and its value to all of our graduates.”

While on campus, the magazine, interviewed several students and faculty members and photographed several aspects of the program. The article states, “an increasing number of these future artisans come from a small liberal arts college…and many of them are eagerly snapped up by some the country’s finest restoration shops.”

Among the 2018 McPherson College graduates, 88 percent who were employed, had jobs in their major prior to commencement, 96 percent of automotive restoration students had jobs in their field, and 64 percent of all MC graduates reported having a job or graduate school plans prior to commencement, compared to a national average of 21 percent.

(Photography by William Walker for Automobile Magazine)

Families Spend Time Together During MC’s Summer Automotive Institute

For many of the participants in the Summer Institute program the road that leads them to McPherson College begins with a great car story.

The Automotive Restoration program at McPherson College has hosted the Summer Institute for more than a decade. It offers five-day long workshops scheduled over three weeks where car hobbyists and professionals can concentrate on a specific skill area and gain hands-on learning from the program’s faculty.

It has been 16 years since Kevin Throneberry from New Mexico first came to the Summer Institute to take a paint class with his father-in-law who was a mechanic. Back then, the two were interested in learning new paint techniques. His father-in-law passed away late last year, leaving him and his family an extensive car collection to maintain. Throneberry decided it was time to return to the Summer Institute and brought his 15-year-old daughter, Jade, with him.

“Our biggest concern is how to maintain and fix anything that might need fixing,” he said. “We have a lot to learn.”

Jade’s interest in cars comes from spending hours with her grandfather watching him and helping him work on his cars and from knowing that as the oldest of the kids, she will have to help pitch in to maintain the collection.

“I mostly handed him wrenches,” she said about helping her grandfather. “I have a lot to learn and feel like my brain has expanded two times its size after taking this class. I’m sure we will come back next year, probably for three weeks, and bring my brother.”

Jade and her dad spent two weeks at the Summer Institute taking paint, sheet metal and drive train classes. Although Jade said she learned a great deal in her classes, her favorite part of the Summer Institute was learning to drive a Model T.

Another common thread among Summer Institute participants is enjoying time with family. The three generations of Tanner family, who travel from Massachusetts and Virginia, started coming to the Institute together last year; however, the youngest member of the trio, Cole, has been coming for the past three years and will begin his freshman year in the Automotive Restoration program this fall. But it was a car that ultimately introduced them to campus.

“I had a 1974 Porsche 914 as a teenager,” said John, Cole’s dad. “I had a picture of it and Cole always gave me a hard time for selling it.”

Cole and his grandfather, Eric, decided to track down the car. They were able to locate it in Georgia and talked the owner into selling it to them. After finding the car, the Tanners joined the Porsche Club of America and started going to events where they met Paul Russell, a long-time supporter of the Automotive Restoration program and a member of its National Advisory Board. Russell encouraged Cole and his family to look into McPherson College.

Cole, who will bring a 1929 Model A with him when he comes to campus this fall, says he loves coming to the Summer Institute classes and has enjoyed getting to know the professors. His dad agrees.

“It’s great to see teachers with such passion for what they do,” John said. “It’s infectious. I can see why their students are so successful.”

Sharing a passion for cars also brought the Casas family to Summer Institute this year. Eddie Casas, who participated in Summer Institute last year, brought his three sons – Eddie, age 17; Jacob, age 15; and Joshua, age 13 – with him this year and spent three weeks in paint, 3-D modeling and design, and advanced paint classes. The self-described “hands-on” family not only took advantage of all the classroom and lab experiences, but also took an opportunity to look for a new project to take back to Texas with them.

“We got out of class early one night and drove to Ottawa to buy a trailer then on the way back to McPherson stopped and purchased a 1952 Chevy panel truck,” Eddie said. “We didn’t get back until after eleven that night, but that’s the joy of it, having an adventure, and sharing it with my sons.”

The Casas call their panel truck the “McPherson Project” and hope to complete it and bring it back to show off at a Summer Institute in the future. “It’s a very meaningful project to me,” Eddie said. “We bought it together and will work on it together. We are really excited about it.”

The Casas brothers each had a favorite course from the three they took this summer, but did agree that the best part was interacting with the faculty, working on projects, and not sitting through lectures.

“It’s a great experience,” Eddie said. “The professors are very knowledgeable, which is one of the things that brought me back.”

The McPherson College Summer Institute classes are held in June of each year. Course descriptions and registration can be found on the college website at:

McPherson College Featured on National TV Networks

McPherson College hosted a Cars & Coffee Viewing Party on June 9th to celebrate the premiere of the newest episode of “My Classic Car,” hosted by Dennis Gage that features the 2018 C.A.R.S. Club Car and Motorcycle Show.

The episode was shot on May 4-5 during the cruise-in and car show. The 2018 car show was the biggest in the 19-year history of the event attracting more than 400 cars and motorcycles from across the country.

The My Classic Car episode featuring McPherson College premiered on the Velocity network and then will air on the NBC Sports Network on June 26 at 4:30 p.m. ET. It will also be carried on MAVTV and Rev’n networks.


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National Magazine Publishes Student Article

MC Student Charles HoehaverAn article and photographs by a McPherson College student were recently featured by a national publication in its online magazine. Automobile Magazine, part of the MotorTrend publication group, published the work of Charles Hoehaver, a current student at the college.

During a visit to campus by one of the magazine’s contributing editors, Hoehaver was asked to cover the annual student-organized car show. The result was the article titled, “Nine Cool Cars from the 2018 McPherson College CARS Club Motoring Festival,” along with several photographs. Hoehaver of Auburn, Alabama, is majoring in automotive communications.

“Opening doors to high profile learning experiences outside of the classroom is an opportunity for many McPherson College students,” President Michael Schneider said. “And, many of these experiences result in employment opportunities when these students graduate.”

Among the 2018 McPherson College graduates, 88 percent who were employed, had jobs in their major prior to commencement and 64 percent reported having a job or graduate school plans prior to commencement, compared to a national average of 21 percent.