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$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.

Dalke Charitable Foundation Gifts $2.6 Million To McPherson College

Elmer O. Dalke

Elmer O. Dalke, a long-time McPherson resident who passed away in 2002, is gifting $2.6 million through his charitable foundation to expand career-focused learning opportunities for McPherson College students. The gift is a major contribution to the McPherson College Building Community campaign, which has received over $25 million in donations and commitments, making it the largest campaign in school history.

The Elmer Dalke Center for Career and Experiential Learning will be a prominent part of the future Campus Commons building planned for construction on the campus of McPherson College. Additionally, the Dalke Endowment for Career and Experiential Learning will be created to ensure students are career-ready when they graduate.

“Elmer’s legacy has supported hundreds of students finding and navigating their pathway through college and into the workforce. This gift will permanently enhance the career-oriented student experience at McPherson College,” said McPherson College President Michael Schneider.

Dalke had a tremendous impact on McPherson College students who worked alongside him. He was a mentor to many McPherson College students employed at the McPherson Dillons grocery store, where he served as the store manager for 40 years. He not only provided part-time jobs for students to fund their tuition, but he also helped them develop important career skills they could use after graduation. He was a dedicated member of the First Baptist Church where he was a Sunday school teacher and led Bible study groups. He was also a member of the Baptist Church Foundation serving as both a deacon and trustee.

“Elmer was a gentle giant of a man who was kind and considerate. He worked in the food and produce industry managing the McPherson Dillons store for many years. His family experienced tragedy with the loss of a son in 1967 when his Air Force jet crashed, but he didn’t let it discourage him. Instead, he continued to work hard and focused on offering a helping hand to others,” said Rodger Swanson, Dalke Charitable Foundation trustee. “Elmer didn’t seek attention, and if he was with us today, he would humbly but preferably without fanfare, accept the accolades for his personal and charitable foundation gifting. He was always a gentleman, and it was my honor to represent him along with his long-time friends and attorneys, Bob Wise and Randee Koger.”

Over the years, the Dalke Charitable Foundation has provided thousands of dollars to support McPherson College students on their pathway to careers and graduate school. These gifts have fueled a transformation at McPherson College by providing funding for numerous internship programs in the areas of service-learning and entrepreneurship, as well as career preparation activities at various businesses and organizations in the McPherson area. The programs supported by Dalke funding have encouraged increases in graduation rates and job placement rates at McPherson College that lead the nation.

Historic Gift For McPherson College Athletics

Craig Holman, Sport Center gift announcement

In a gathering of coaches and student-athletes, McPherson College recently announced the first-ever seven-figure gift made to Bulldog Athletics. The commitment made by Craig and Karen Holman of McPherson, which totals more than $1 million, will support the Sport Center expansion project included in the Building Community comprehensive fundraising campaign.

“It is exciting to have the Holmans step up to make this historic commitment at a time when we are competing to win in every sport,” said McPherson College President Michael Schneider. “I am proud to share that we will add the Holman name to the Sport Center at an event this fall during Homecoming.”

Craig along with both of the couple’s children are McPherson College graduates. While at McPherson College, Craig was an outstanding tennis player. He won conference singles and was District 10 singles championships three times, and was selected for the all-conference team all four years. He serves the McPherson community as a financial advisor owning an Ameriprise Financial practice. Craig is a member of the McPherson College Board of Trustees and serves as a volunteer assistant coach for the Bulldog tennis teams. Karen has served the community as a registered nurse and helped instruct those seeking to become licensed practical nurses. She is a volunteer at Lincoln Elementary and plays the violin.

“My years as a Bulldog athlete were a meaningful chapter in my life, and Bulldog Athletics have continued to enrich our lives ever since,” Craig Holman, said. “Karen and I want to help ensure that today’s Bulldog athletes, coaches, and staff have first-rate facilities and programs, focused on continued competitive excellence while developing lifetime relationships. We are hopeful that our gift will encourage other Bulldogs out there to share in the enthusiasm and affection we have for McPherson College student-athletes.”

The Holman family has been loyal supporters of McPherson area tennis, particularly the Bulldog tennis program funding the Holman Family Tennis Courts on campus.

The Sport Center project will include the addition of 5,000 sq. ft. of new space to expand the weight room and training room capacity as well as additional locker rooms and team spaces. It will also include a remodeling project for current spaces to better meet the needs of student-athletes. Construction will begin this summer.

“We are looking forward to inviting alumni and friends to an open house at Homecoming to see the plans for the project and show our progress,” Chandler Short, director of athletics, said. “Homecoming will be a great time for us to celebrate the Holman family and Bulldog Athletics.”

McPherson College Announces Endowed Scholarship Gift To Automotive Restoration Program

Daryl and Ann Hemken

A family’s life-long passion for cars has made it possible to establish an endowed scholarship at McPherson College with an initial gift of $400,000 in the name of Col. Daryl and Ann Hemken. The permanent fund will award scholarships annually to students in the automotive restoration program.

“The Hemken family’s love of cars is extraordinary and their desire to support the next generation of automotive leaders assures that their family’s passion will continue well into the future,” McPherson College President Michael Schneider said. “The impact of their gift will be far-reaching, not only on the lives of our students but also on the automotive restoration industry that will benefit from our graduates.”

The late Col. Daryl and Ann Hemken started buying and collecting cars shortly after they were married in 1954. What started as a hobby turned into a passion that involved their entire family and eventually led to the founding of The Hemken Collection Museum in Williams, Iowa, where they lived. The collection was sold at auction in September 2021.

Daryl Hemken began his military career in 1948 and spent 34 years in the Army Reserve, retiring in 1982. He earned a degree in agriculture from Iowa State University and moved to Williams in 1962 where he farmed until retiring in 1994. Ann Hemken graduated from Cornell University and was a teacher for 24 years. Their love for collecting cars began with a 1914 Model T Ford Roadster purchased in 1960. Over the years, they acquired well over 150 automobiles and a wide assortment of parts. The core of their collection included cars from every manufacturer in the United States made between 1947 and 1948. They opened The Hemken Collection Museum in 2000 where Ann continued her love of education by giving tours to guests as well as researching, cataloging, and creating displays for the museum. Her commitment to education was a factor when the museum’s board of directors considered places to receive the proceeds from the auction.

In addition to the generous gift, the museum also hosted two McPherson College student interns to work for a summer preparing the collection for the auction.

“These scholarships acknowledge the Hemkens’ strong love of the automotive experience and belief in the value of education,” Amanda Gutierrez, vice president for automotive restoration, said. “In honoring Colonel and Mrs. Hemken with this gift, the family also honors the automotive experience that they all enjoyed together. And, they support a generation of students pursuing a career that carries on that love of the automobile.”

McPherson College’s Power Day 2022 Sets New Giving Records

Power Day 2022

McPherson College’s Power Day 2022 surpassed all goals and set new records on March 10 during this year’s annual online day of giving that supports students and programs across campus. More than 400 alumni and friends of the college gave $314,383, exceeding last year’s total by more than $120,000, and in the eight years since its start, Power Day has raised more than $1 million.

“The response to this year’s Power Day exceeded all of my expectations,” Dave Barrett ’90, advancement officer and director of Power Day, said. “When we started this eight years ago, we wanted Power Day to connect with many groups within the MC family. It’s really a day about celebrating McPherson College.”

Gifts from alumni and friends of the college helped unlock matching challenges that totaled $95,000. The challenge gifts included:

  • $50,000 match from the Paul family for gifts made to the MC Fund and academic programs;
  • $10,000 match from the Van Goethem family for gifts made by young alumni;
  • $10,000 match from the Van Goethem family for gifts made to athletics;
  • $5,000 match from the Van Goethem family for gifts made to the choir;
  • $10,000 match from Jeff Slagle for gifts made to the automotive restoration program;
  • $10,000 match from a current McPherson College Board of Trustee member for gifts made by fellow board members.

“Power Day is not just a day of giving but a time for us all to celebrate and remember what McPherson College means to us,” Barrett said. “This is the place where many of us were allowed to grow and learn life lessons both in and out of the classroom and to meet life-long friends.”

The one-day giving blitz featured live and pre-recorded video messages throughout the day on the college’s social media channels and website. Alumni were encouraged to share their stories about the MC community leading up to Power Day and donors left comments throughout the day, which were shared on the college website.

In her online comment, Chrystal Banz ’07, said, “So grateful for my time at MC! From being a part of the first year of the graphic design program, bringing back women’s soccer, playing in the MC band, and on through the phone-a-thon. The memories and friendships will last a lifetime.”

Although the focus of Power Day is online giving, Barrett said it is also a day to engage with alumni and friends from across the country and communicate why it is important to support the next generation of students by investing in their success.

More information about Power Day, including all of the videos and alumni comments, can be found at

Full-time College Students Who Work Part-time Reap Better Grades and Graduate with Less Debt

By Michael Schneider, President
McPherson College



Siblings Kendyl and Nathan Saffer are planning to graduate debt-free through the college’s Student Debt Project.

Working part-time while taking a full-time course load is a reality for many college students. For some, it’s a financial necessity, but many parents and students still struggle with one major concern: How many hours can a student really work without affecting their grades or disrupting the college experience?

The fact is full-time college students who hold down part-time jobs see many benefits during and after college. McPherson College’s Student Debt Project provides students an opportunity to balance college with work through mentoring, job and paid internship placement, financial literacy training like budgeting and time management as well as incentives for paying down debt.

And there is one bonus—data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that students who work 10 to 15 hours per week while taking a full class load have stronger grades than those who don’t work at all. Students who have jobs are forced to develop better self-discipline and life skills. This evidence holds true for the 270 McPherson College students in our Student Debt Project who work an average of 15 hours per week and carry a 3.3 GPA compared to the 3.1 GPA of the rest of our student body.

In the Student Debt Project, McPherson College matches 25 cents for every dollar a student earns and applies toward their student debt. For the 2021-2022 academic year, our matching contributions are expected to exceed $250,000. The impact of the Student Debt Project is remarkable as participants have 50% less debt than the national average.

Nearly 85% of McPherson College students are working a job or paid internship – that’s twice the national average among college students and about 30% higher than Kansas college students overall according to the National Center for Education Statistics. We have more than 500 jobs and internships available on our campus and hundreds more off campus in the local community during the school year and across the country during the summer months. We’ve found that this additional, interactive engagement with faculty, staff and employers– whether within their academic field or not – gives our students more opportunity to apply classroom concepts to real world situations and students in the Debt Project are using dollars earned to graduate with little to no debt.

Nathan Saffer is a junior majoring in biochemistry. Sister Kendyl Saffer is a freshman in health science. They grew up on a ranch in Arriba, Colorado and both began raising their own cattle as youngsters, saving the profits for college. Both are now paying for college with those ranching profits, plus scholarships and the Student Debt Project. They have part-time jobs during the school year and work their herd during summers and school breaks. Using their cattle money to apply to each semester’s student debt, Nathan has been debt free each year. Kendyl is also planning to graduate debt free.

According to their father, Kevin Saffer, “the flexibility in the Student Debt Project is outstanding because it speaks to both sides of business. The kids have part-time jobs while they’re in school, giving them an understanding of working as an employee. And the project encourages their efforts as entrepreneurs. The Student Debt Project lets them see the business world from both sides.”

Students in the Debt Project have already proven that holding down a college job is far more than a means to reducing their student debt. It’s also an invaluable way to enhance their intellectual capital by enriching their human capital – allowing them to acquire skills and social networks that will set them apart from peers with only academic credentials on their resumes.

Having the grit to navigate life while juggling personal finances, family commitments and work is a rite of passage from youthful dependence to adult independence. Ultimately, once students embrace the balancing act through the Student Debt Project at McPherson College, they’ve opened the door to financial freedom and unlimited possibilities for the rest of their lives.

McPherson College Named One Of “2021 Great Colleges To Work For” With Honor Roll Distinction Among Small Colleges

Great College to Work For badge

McPherson College is a great place to work, according to a new survey by the Great Colleges to Work For® program. The results, released today in a special edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education, recognize McPherson College for the seventh year in a row. McPherson College is also included on the survey’s Honor Roll for the sixth year in a row.

McPherson College is the only Kansas school earning recognition on the list. The results are based on a survey of 196 colleges and universities. In all, just 70 of the 196 institutions achieved recognition on the list for specific best practices and policies. Only 42 colleges were included on the Honor Roll, an elite group of institutions that are standouts within their respective enrollment sizes. McPherson College was recognized in all 10 categories of this year’s survey.

“Everyone at McPherson College works hard to make this a great place to work, and it’s special to be recognized again this year. This recognition is remarkable given all the challenges presented by the pandemic the past year,” McPherson College President Michael Schneider said. “The fact that we have earned this distinction now for seven years running –  and been named to the Honor Roll for six years in a row – speaks to the strong, collaborative relationships among our faculty, staff, and administration.”

President Schneider points to some of the basics like the college’s health insurance plan that has not had a premium increase for more than 10 years and monthly all-campus meetings called “huddles,” as reasons why people like working for McPherson College. Additionally, involvement in programs like training from the Kansas Leadership Center, which develop adaptive problem-solving skills, and other significant professional development investments in the operating budget, sets McPherson College apart from other college campuses.

“I love that my scholarship is appreciated and supported at McPherson College,” Kirk MacGregor, associate professor of philosophy and religion, said. “Every year, I present papers at multiple professional society meetings with all of my expenses covered by the college. Moreover, I love the freedom to teach what I am most passionate about in my classes. This freedom facilitates a symbiotic relationship between my teaching and my scholarship, where students directly benefit from my research.”

McPherson College was one of 14 institutions nationwide to earn top honors in all of the report’s 10 categories, which include areas like compensation and benefits along with work and life balance.

“At McPherson College, I am given the space to try a new idea and feel supported by my colleagues,” Abigayle Morgan, a 2019 graduate, said. “I am thrilled to have a hand in shaping the current student experience that was so instrumental during my time as a student at the college.”

Community is central to McPherson College’s identity, according to President Schneider. “As our college community continues to work through the current challenges, faculty and staff are planning past our most recent and innovative strategic plan, Community by Design. The strategic plan drove decision-making and much of the work we did over the last several years, and much of the work will continue as we focus on the future. In addition, we did all of it while balancing our operating budget, maintaining our overall student retention, and working through a pandemic and enrolling the largest class in college history. By working together, these plans will nurture the creative processes to sustain innovative academic ventures like the new Health Science program, develop a new tuition revenue model based on the Student Debt Project and Kansas Commitment, and transition MC from a traditional residential campus to a vibrant community.”

The Great Colleges to Work For® survey is one of the largest and most respected workplace recognition programs in the country. This year more than 38,000 faculty and staff responded to the survey. The survey conducted by ModernThink — an organization committed to improving workplace quality — recognizes the colleges that get top ratings from their employees regarding workplace practices and policies.

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

US News & World Report Best Colleges

For the sixth year in a row, McPherson College has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report on the 2022 “Best Colleges” list for Regional Colleges in the Midwest. Additionally, McPherson College was ranked on the “Best Value Schools” and “Top Performers on Social Mobility” lists.

Only schools ranked in or near the top half of their categories are included on the “Best Value Schools” ranking list. When evaluating colleges for this list, U.S. News & World Report considers the most significant values to be among colleges that are above average academically and takes into account academic quality as well as cost. McPherson College was also recognized among colleges that are successful at advancing social mobility by enrolling and graduating large proportions of students awarded Pell grants.

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

Initiatives such as the college’s Kansas Commitment and Student Debt Project, which support students in graduating with little or no debt, and the college’s successful career placement rate, are just a few examples of why McPherson College is recognized on the “Best Colleges” list, according to President Schneider.

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

The U.S. News & World Report has been ranking colleges for more than 35 years. U.S. News measures academic quality using 17 metrics, with the most weight placed on outcomes, including not only the ability of a college to retain and graduate students from different socioeconomic backgrounds but also graduates’ average indebtedness. Class size, undergraduate academic reputation, and how much colleges invest in instruction and student services are among the other data points collected to develop this year’s rankings.

McPherson College’s Kansas Commitment Initiative Offers Full Tuition For Kansas Residents

Kansas Commitment

McPherson College is introducing a new initiative that complements The Student Debt Project helping students and families reduce the amount of student loan debt that many accumulate during college. The Kansas Commitment offers full tuition for qualifying Kansas residents to attend McPherson College.

“The Kansas Commitment guarantees qualified Kansas residents full-tuition packages,” Christi Hopkins, vice president for admissions, said. “Couple this program with the Student Debt Project and families who may have thought they could not afford college can now realistically graduate with no debt.”

Kansas students who are Pell grant eligible and have a transfer or high school GPA of 2.5 or above can apply for the Kansas Commitment. The scholarship and grant package uses all forms of aid, both institutional and need-based, including Pell grant and Kansas Comprehensive grant. The package is renewable based on satisfactory academic progress and Pell eligibility. The Kansas Commitment is one more option offered by McPherson College to help students reduce the amount of loans they might need to attend college, according to President Michael Schneider.

“More than one-third of our student body is enrolled in the Student Debt Project, learning basic financial literacy skills like budgeting and being supported by mentors,” President Schneider said. “Now in its fourth year, the average projected debt at graduation for those who participate in the program has been reduced by $10,000 per student. Student debt is an issue that has been debated in Congress for 25 years. I don’t think we can afford to wait for answers. It is our responsibility as a leader in higher education to solve the problem with innovative programs like this and our commitment to Kansas students.”

McPherson College offers several scholarship packages based on academic achievement, residency, participation, and area of study. Most students are eligible for up to $24,000 in combined Merit, Presidential, and MC Pillar scholarships. To be considered for scholarships, students need to submit an application to the college and complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

McPherson College Welcomes Class of 2025

Freshmen photo, Class of 2025

Continuing the upward enrollment trend established over the past seven years, McPherson College welcomed the class of 2025 to campus on August 17 for the start of fall semester classes. Freshmen and transfer students comprise the largest group of new students in school history at 350. As classes get underway, full-time degree-seeking enrollment is again over 800.

At 282 students, the class of 2025 is 35 percent larger than last year’s freshman class. The class comes to McPherson from 36 states and 12 countries. Twenty students decided to stay closer to home and took advantage of the college’s scholarship offered to students from neighboring communities. While freshmen are enrolled in all programs across campus, the top programs include business, auto restoration, behavior science, health science, and sports management. The health science program, introduced last year, pairs students with local health agencies for experiential education opportunities, and sports management is a restructured program starting this semester.

Due to the disruptions of last year, many students are looking forward to a more traditional college experience. McPherson College began the fall semester without social distancing restrictions in its classrooms but for the first two weeks is asking everyone to wear a mask while inside campus facilities. The college is among schools from across the country joining the White House COVID-19 College Vaccine Challenge and agreeing to take action in encouraging students, faculty and staff members to be vaccinated.

“While many question whether or not a small college should exist, we are proving that students and families value the kind of experience they find at McPherson College,” President Michael Schneider said. “One of the ways we do that is by addressing what students and families are most concerned about and that is college debt.”

For the past three years, McPherson College has offered students an opportunity to reduce their student loans by participating in the Student Debt Project. Beginning the fourth year of the program, nearly 40% of McPherson College students have applied to the program. During fall orientation, every student learned about their own financial wellness by filling out personal budget sheets that explain their costs, financial aid, and how participating in the Student Debt Project could help them reduce the gap owed before loans.

Along with matching funds and a pay-as-you-go option, the program also matches students with mentors to answer financial questions. This year, more than 40 alumni and friends of the college, spanning from Florida to California, serve as mentors to small groups of students in the program.

“It is important to help our students understand their financial obligations and see that there are options other than taking out loans to pay for college,” Christi Hopkins, vice president for admissions, said. “Many students are already planning to work at college, and this gives them an added incentive to pay as they go while reducing the amount they borrow.”