college mcp-logo-header-white mcpherson

Path to Pebble: Documentary Trailer Released

Witness the thrill, excitement, and challenges McPherson College students experienced on their Path To Pebble! A 10-year project culminating at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, bringing home one of the top awards. A full-length documentary of the student experience is currently being produced.

Watch the trailer below and follow us on Facebook for updates about the documentary.

Read more:

McPherson College Career Services, Amy Beckman Featured By NACE

Amy BeckmanMcPherson College’s career service program was recently featured in an article published by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). The article noted that 80% to 85% of McPherson College students work at any given point in the year, including academic year and breaks. The article acknowledged an initiative led by Amy Beckman, executive director of career and experiential learning, that incorporated NACE career readiness competencies into student job descriptions and supervision.

“It was a great opportunity for us to put some intentional purpose behind what we are coaching and mentoring our student employees in and finding out what our students are learning on the job,” Beckman said regarding the work done in her office to ensure students are career ready.

NACE is a professional association that connects nearly 17,000 college career services professionals, university relations, and recruiting professionals. It serves as the leading source of information on the employment of college students and forecasts hiring and trends in the job market.

The McPherson College career initiative has allowed Beckman to target mentorship programming for supervisors and training for student employees to connect the competencies to their work. She plans to add more training for supervisors about how to have high-impact practices within the work they assign to students and how to engage in reflective conversations with students about what they are learning and how they can apply that to their current work, other jobs, and schoolwork.

“We are leveling up our experiences, so we feel more confident when sending our students out into the community to do internships and to work, and we want our employers to be confident that our students are well-prepared,” Beckman said.

Last year, 80% of McPherson College’s graduates had at least one internship or field experience before graduation. Three-quarters of the class had secured a job or graduate school placement before graduating, and after six months, 99% reported having a job or working toward furthering their education.

McPherson College Named One “2023 Great Colleges To Work For” With Honor Roll Distinction Among Small Colleges

2023 GCTWF Honor Roll LogoMcPherson College is a great place to work, according to a new survey by the Great Colleges to Work For® program. The results, appearing in a special edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education, recognize McPherson College for the ninth year in a row. McPherson College is also on the survey’s Honor Roll for the eighth year.

The results are based on a survey sent to over 103,000 faculty and staff at 194 colleges across the country. In all, just 72 of the 194 institutions achieved recognition on the list for specific practices and policies. Only 42 colleges were included on the Honor Roll, an elite group of institutions that are standouts within their enrollment size. McPherson College was recognized in 6 categories and was the only Kansas school earning recognition on the list.

“McPherson College continues to move forward boldly and with confidence, supported by its dedicated community of employees,” President Michael Schneider said. “As we embark on a future supported by the historic $1.5 billion endowment estate commitment, our employees are a vital part of our success. They continue to provide meaningful input on our strategic plan, which sets a focus on the next 10 years with initiatives aimed at campus growth, academic innovation, and wellness.”

President Schneider points to some basic practices, such as the college’s compensation plan and benefits including retirement contributions made after one year of employment, as reasons why people like working for McPherson College. Monthly all-campus meetings, called “huddles, where information is shared from across campus, foster community involvement. Programs like training from the Kansas Leadership Center, which develops adaptive problem-solving skills, and other significant professional development investments in the operating budget, sets McPherson College apart from other college campuses.

In a comment featured on the survey’s website, one McPherson College employee says, “I appreciate that I feel like I am a part of a team, and we are all working toward the same goal! I enjoy the small feeling of the campus community, as it is easier to get to know others from different departments. Everyone is willing to go the extra mile for our students.”

McPherson College was recognized in six categories including compensation & benefits, professional development, confidence in senior leadership, shared governance, faculty experience, and diversity, inclusion, & belonging.

“I appreciate how leadership approaches directing the college,” said Rick Tuxhorn, director of the endowment and former CFO, who has been with McPherson College for 12 years. “Our president, cabinet, and board are student-focused, innovative, forward-thinking, and believe in its employees. This is evidenced by how the president invests in the faculty and staff through compensation and benefits. When an organization can find and retain top-notch employees, the entire organization benefits, especially the students. This is one of the reasons I believe McPherson College is a great college to work for!”

Community is central to McPherson College’s identity, according to President Schneider. “As our college community looks toward the future, faculty and staff are actively planning our current innovative strategic plan. The 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 and maintaining our overall enrollment and student retention. By working together, these plans will nurture the creative processes to sustain innovative academic ventures like the new Health Science program, continue supporting students to graduate with zero debt through the Student Debt Project, and transition MC from a traditional residential campus to a vibrant community.”

The Great Colleges to Work For® survey is one of the country’s largest and most respected workplace recognition programs. 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

For the eighth consecutive year, McPherson College has earned recognition by U.S. News & World Report in its 2023-24 “Best Colleges” list for Regional Colleges in the Midwest. This year, the college climbed 10 places in the rankings. 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” list. When evaluating colleges for this list, U.S. News & World Report considers the most significant value to be among colleges that are above average academically and considers 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 Student Debt Project, designed to assist students in graduating with little or no debt, along with the college’s impressive 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 more than 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 our campus improvements are putting the needs of our students first to create a living and learning environment for the 21st century.”

The U.S. News & World Report has been ranking colleges for over 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 colleges’ investment in instruction and student services are among the other data points collected to develop this year’s rankings.

McPherson College Exceeds Double Match Challenge – Establishing A Future $1,500,000,000 Endowment

$1B endowment announcement on July 21, 2023

College now gets down to business in planning how it will receive and deploy funds over time to expand programs and reduce student debt


McPherson College in Kansas announced today that it has met the match on its historic $500 million endowment double match challenge. Additionally, the anonymous donor surprised the college community by committing an additional $500 million estate gift for a total commitment of $1 billion. The McPherson College Board of Trustees also voted unanimously to name the McPherson College endowment after two late alumni and professors at McPherson College, Drs. John Ward and John Burkholder. McPherson College President Michael Schneider announced the milestone at an on-campus event this morning attended by over 200 faculty, staff, trustees, students, and friends of the college.

The total funding of $1,592,000,000 will result in the largest endowment of any small liberal arts college in the United States. (Editor’s note: see below for breakdown)

The donor agreement provides the flexibility for the anonymous donor to pay out over time or it is all paid in full upon the donor’s death, which is the latest time at which McPherson College would have access to the anonymous donor’s $1 billion. Most other gifts to meet the challenge will come over time as part of estate commitments.

“Today is historic, not just for McPherson College, but for all small liberal arts colleges in America,” said Schneider. “I am incredibly grateful to our anonymous donor for giving us an unprecedented opportunity—and responsibility—to build and implement our strategic vision of becoming a destination learning community. We have also been given an amazing opportunity to honor two legendary alumni and professors, Dr. Ward and Dr. Burkholder.”

“Now, the work begins to build a bridge to our future endowment,” Schneider added. “We need to carefully plan how the income from the endowment is deployed to reimagine and construct the campus of the future, build a much-needed rural health pipeline in Kansas, create a center for the future of automotive engineering and work to make college more affordable for all our students. There has never been a better day to be a part of the McPherson College community!”

At its most recent meeting, the McPherson College Board of Trustees named the McPherson College Endowment the Ward-Burkholder Endowment. Dr. Ward graduated from McPherson College in 1950 and had a distinguished career in higher education, first as a professor of agriculture at McPherson College for 12 years and later at the University of Nebraska. Dr. Burkholder graduated from McPherson College in 1949 and was a professor of biology at the college for nearly 40 years. Many members of the Ward and Burkholder families were on hand at today’s event.

“Naming faculty on this massive endowment highlights the unique faculty-student relationships found at McPherson College including the times John and John were themselves students at the College. Priceless might be a fitting word to describe the influence that faculty, staff, and administration of McPherson College have on the lives of its students,” said Marty Ward, a McPherson College Trustee and son of Dr. John Ward. “The Ward and Burkholder families are honored and grateful to everyone who has had a part in the Ward/Burkholder Endowment. On behalf of Dad and Dr. Burkholder – thank you.”

According to the terms of the double match gift challenge that concluded on June 30, the anonymous donor agreed to contribute $2 for every $1 given by others, up to $500 million.

Donations of this scale do not usually go to colleges with the size or location of McPherson College, which gives the school the rare opportunity to build and sustain the small liberal arts college of the future on the Plains.  McPherson College is following its student-first values, directing the funds toward its academic programs as well as making college more affordable and accessible—ensuring talented people in places like central Kansas have the opportunity to thrive over the long term.

Joining in the day’s festivities was U.S. Senator Jerry Moran, the senior United States senator from Kansas.

“McPherson College has taken an innovative approach to training students to meet the demands of the McPherson community and the surrounding area,” said Sen. Moran. “The great work at McPherson College is attracting donors who want to support institutions offering young Kansans opportunities to thrive during college and long after they have graduated. I look forward to continuing to support these efforts at the federal level.”

McPherson College’s student-centric plans include a renewed collaboration on rural health initiatives, plans for state-of-the-art science and engineering facilities, and a huge boost for students facing challenges affording college. Specifically, this includes McPherson’s Community by Design strategic plan, which includes East McPherson, the campus master plan; a new Kansas Center for Rural & Community Health; and McPherson College’s Student Debt Project, which has been proven to be a true pioneer in college affordability.

The new Kansas Center for Rural & Community Health will ensure the next generation of practitioners can use the latest technology and techniques to help improve healthcare in rural Kansas. McPherson College’s groundbreaking Student Debt Project, which has established a successful partnership with local businesses, has made McPherson College significantly more affordable. The program, where McPherson College donors match 25 cents for every dollar a student contributes to their education, will be expanded in the future as a result of meeting the match, not only making a McPherson College education affordable for more students, but also serving as a blueprint for other colleges across the country struggling with keeping student debt low in the face of rising costs.

“McPherson College has been a special place for Richard and me for over a decade,” said Dr. Melanie Lundquist. “We have especially appreciated President Schneider and Provost Gutierrez’s innovative, problem-solving leadership. It has also been one of our greatest pleasures to support McPherson’s one-of-a-kind automotive restoration program. Richard was honored to donate his classic Ferrari to the program, and we are both thrilled that this unique program – and McPherson College — will be on solid footing for perpetuity as a result of this phenomenally generous matching gift.”

The Lundquists committed $50 million to the match and donated his classic Ferrari to the college’s automotive restoration program—the nation’s only four-year degree program.

Next month, McPherson College’s automotive restoration program will be making its first-ever appearance on the industry’s biggest stage – the 2023 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The students’ fully-restored 1953 Mercedes-Benz 300 S Cabriolet will compete at this year’s event, a monumental milestone for the unique program.


Editor’s Note:

Pre-Challenge (Before Feb. 13, 2022)
Existing Endowment + Estate Commitments     $250,000,000

Challenge (Feb. 13, 2022 to June 30, 2023)
Challenge Commitments                                   $342,000,000

Anonymous Donor Estate Match
& Additional Estate Commitment                  

Total                                                                 $1,592,000,000

McPherson College Celebrates Class Of 2023 In Commencement Ceremony

2023 MC Graduate Group Photo

McPherson College conferred Master of Education, Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees to 171 students at the 135th Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, May 20, 2023, at McPherson Stadium.

Rod Gieselman, professor of business at McPherson College, was the commencement speaker. Professor Gieselman has taught in the MC business department for 20 years. Students in his investments course manage a portion of the college’s endowment that consistently out-earns market averages and has grown from an initial $200,000 to $550,000. In his address, he encouraged the Class of 2023 to continue developing.

“Every day going forward, you will continue to develop who you are, your perspectives, beliefs, empathy, and character,” he said. “The process of becoming a whole person is a lifelong process. Hopefully, McPherson College has pushed you to continue developing in a positive direction.”

Olivia Smith, the senior class representative, and Professor Vicki Schmidt, associate professor of education, also addressed the class.

The commencement ceremony concluded with Dr. Michael Schneider, president of McPherson College, who thanked for the students for making it a great day to be a Bulldog.

“As you scatter out into the world, remember your degree is a milestone but just the beginning of the expectations you have now as a graduate of McPherson College,” he said. “This campus will change over the next several years but don’t forget to come home.”

Names of the graduating class of 2023 and the commencement video can be found at:

Students Will Experience New, Best-In-Class Dining And Facilities Program Beginning Fall 2023

McPherson College has entered a partnership with Sodexo, a global food services leader, to bring a best-in-class dining program to campus beginning in the fall of 2023.

“Excellence in dining services is fundamental to the student experience,” said McPherson College President Michael Schneider. “The transition to Sodexo is in response to student feedback. Sodexo’s professionalism, commitment to quality, and excellence in customer service will be a game-changer for our students and community.”

As a part of this partnership, Sodexo will adapt the dining program to best serve student needs by integrating technology within all on-campus services, including Sodexo’s mobile app Everyday and catering ordering via Catertrax, as well as sophisticated internal systems. In support of McPherson’s commitment to student success, Sodexo will support annual scholarships, events, and athletics.

“Sodexo is excited and proud to enter into a long-term partnership with McPherson College. We believe this is a mutually beneficial relationship where our institutional values, mission, and vision align in a way that will lead to an enriching college experience for the McPherson student body,” said Sodexo Senior Vice President Dannie Crozier. “Sodexo looks forward to working with our partners at McPherson and bringing an elevated dining program and quality experiences to the community.”

The change in food service comes as part of a larger initiative to address campus residential life. In addition to facility upgrades at the Sport Center and a new campus gathering point called the Boiler House, residence halls will undergo phase one of renovations over the summer. Renovations include new floors, paint, lighting, furniture, and other upgrades.

Small Kansas College Will Show Car at Pebble Beach Concours D’ Elegance

McPherson College MB300S Pebble Beach Team

McPherson College’s classic 1953 Mercedes-Benz 300 S is the college’s first car fully restored by its students to be accepted in the nation’s most prestigious car event.

A vision, 10 years in the making, has come true for students, alumni, and employees of the McPherson College Automotive Restoration program — the only four-year bachelor’s degree program for automotive restoration in the nation. The 1953 Mercedes-Benz 300 S Cabriolet, entirely restored by students, has been accepted by the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and will be shown there on August 20.

“Congratulations to the McPherson College students for having their car accepted to Pebble Beach,” said comedian and car enthusiast Jay Leno. Leno’s support 20 years ago was the turning point for the program when it pivoted from an associate’s to a bachelor’s degree. “I am proud to be associated with the college. Much like art historians who clean and repair the works of the renaissance era, the young men and women at McPherson College are doing it with automobiles, recreating abilities and techniques long forgotten, and they’ll make a good living doing it. Our hobby and heritage are safe in their hands.”

The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is the oldest Concours in the United States and one of the world’s most prestigious gatherings of rare and antique automobiles. Prized collector cars compete each year for Best of Show, the most coveted award in the automotive industry. The Concours Selection Committee spends weeks vetting each entry, narrowing its selection down to the top classic cars in the world, which are invited to show.

McPherson College MB300S rotisserie restoration
Early work on the Mercedes-Benz 300 S restoration.

“We set a bold vision 10 years ago to show a car at Pebble Beach, and I was confident our students and staff could attain it,” said Amanda Gutierrez, provost and vice president of automotive restoration. “The goal was to get invited to compete at Pebble Beach, but there is a significant process that makes that happen, especially at a small college with students working outside of class hours. This project has been a valuable learning experience for our students as they study toward their bachelor’s degree in automotive restoration. It was intense work requiring exceptional commitment, and I am extremely proud of them.”

After an exhaustive search for the right car, work on the project began and has incorporated classroom curricula, expert guest lectures, and senior capstone experiences. The restoration was completed by teams of student interns who worked over the course of the restoration. Brian Martin, director of automotive restoration projects, supervises the student team.

“When we set out to do this, we knew it was going to be a long-term commitment,” Martin said. “It is a complete, frame-off, top-to-bottom restoration by students. We planned for it to become the cornerstone of our program and an example of the skills our students develop while they are here.”

McPherson College has a long history of student participation at Pebble Beach, dating back to 2008 when the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and Pebble Beach Company Foundation established scholarships honoring Formula One World Champion and famed restorer Phil Hill. Over the years, more than 25 McPherson College students have earned college scholarships from Pebble Beach.

Pebble Beach Company Foundation scholarship recipients not only attend the event and shadow the judges, they also have been part of panel discussions, prepared and presented cars for the field, and attended numerous additional events during the week. However, this August will mark the first time the college will show a classic vehicle fully restored by its students.

McPherson College MB300S engines class
Students working on the Mercedes-Benz 300 S engine.

“It’s a remarkable accomplishment,” said McPherson College President Michael Schneider. “Since the project began, nearly every student in the auto restoration program has been exposed to the restoration through classes, workshops, or as part of an internship team. For some of them, getting a chance to work on this project was why they decided to attend McPherson College. This achievement will positively impact our students and program for years. Managing this project was an enormous undertaking, and I commend the individuals, especially Brian Martin, who helped mentor our students through this process. Our friends at Paul Russell and Company as well as the Mercedes Benz Classic Center, were excellent advisors on the project. I also thank Jay Leno, whose early and consistent support over the years has helped us flourish and reach Pebble Beach.”

Members of the student team, the Pebble Beach Scholars, college staff, and alumni will accompany the car to Pebble Beach in August. A recognition of their efforts will be celebrated during the CARS Club Motoring Festival on Saturday, May 6, at McPherson College at 2 p.m. before the awards ceremony.

Showing a student-restored car at Pebble Beach is another example of McPherson College achieving what many people consider impossible. In November, the college announced a historic $500 million matching gift. To date, the college has raised over $170 million of the $250 million needed to secure the $500 million, including generous gifts from car enthusiasts Melanie and Richard Lundquist, the Rob Walton Foundation, and Dave Kinney.

McPherson College Announces New Director of Athletics

Josh Daume, athletic directorMcPherson College announces Josh Daume will join the Bulldog Athletic Department as the new director of athletics. Daume has 20 years of experience in NCAA Division I athletics.

“I look forward to welcoming Josh to McPherson College,” said McPherson College President Michael Schneider. “He has a great deal of experience as an administrator and understands the important elements of leading a successful athletic program.”

Daume currently serves as the senior associate athletic director for compliance at Arkansas State University, a position he has held since April 2019. He works closely with the financial aid, admissions, housing, and registrar’s offices, serving as the primary liaison for athletics. In addition to running a comprehensive Division I compliance program, he serves as the sports administrator for the men’s golf, women’s volleyball, and women’s bowling programs. Arkansas State is a highly competitive member of the Sun Belt Conference, winning the 2019-2020 Bubas Cup, the all-sports championship trophy for the conference.

While at ASU, Daume implemented software providing student-athletes access to online, anonymous reporting related to Title IX, NCAA compliance, social justice, and other issues affecting student-athletes. He is a member of the NCAA International Student Records Committee and assisted implementation of a NIL education program to help student-athletes understand the NCAA rules and Arkansas state laws.

“It’s an honor to be named the next athletics director at McPherson College,” Daume said. “When the position came open, I knew it was something I was interested in, and after doing some research, it became clear that McPherson was a tremendous opportunity. Throughout the process, the alignment between the president and the athletics department was apparent, which is necessary for any department to succeed. There is a great staff in place, and the student-athletes I had an opportunity to meet are hungry for success. Most importantly, we will continue building a program where student-athletes have a well-rounded experience, complete their degrees, and represent the college in a first-class manner.”

Daume will begin working on campus on June 1.

Before ASU, he served more than 12 years as the associate athletic director for compliance at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He worked as the Internal Operations Coordinator at Texas State from 2004-07 and was a graduate assistant at Texas A&M in 2004.

Daume is a native of Burkburnett, Texas, and earned a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from Midwestern State in 2002 and a master’s degree in sport management from Texas A&M in 2004. He has been an active high school football official for over 20 years and officiated in the Lone Star Conference (NCAA Division II) for six years.

He and his wife, Leah, have a son.

“My wife and I are excited to get to McPherson and get to know the community,” Daume said. “We’ve heard great things about living there and can’t wait to get started.”

McPherson College Meets Goals In One-Day Giving Blitz

Powering Today

McPherson College’s Power Day 2023 met all the goals set for the annual online giving day, raising $330,000 for scholarships and programs. In its ninth year, more than 350 alumni and friends of the college made gifts that helped unlock five matching challenges that totaled over $90,000.

This year’s matching challenges included:

  • $50,000 from the Paul Family for the MC Fund and academics
  • $12,500 from Young Alumni
  • $10,000 from Jeff Slagle for Automotive Restoration
  • $10,000 from Equity Bank for Athletics
  • $10,000 from the Board of Trustees

“Power Day is not only a day of giving but a time for the McPherson College community to celebrate and remember what McPherson College means to us,” Dave Barrett, director of Power Day, said. “This is the place where many of us were allowed to grow, learn life lessons both in and out of the classroom, and meet forever friends. Power Day is an opportunity for our alumni and friends to make an investment in the next generation of MC students, allow them to have their own unique MC experience, and recognize what makes this place so special.”

The one-day giving blitz featured live and pre-recorded video messages throughout the day on the college’s social media channels and website. Leading up to Power Day, alumni were encouraged to share stories about the community they built at McPherson College that continues today.

“I had the privilege of playing basketball at Mac with two amazing people who became lifelong friends,” said Angelina Froese, a 2009 graduate. “That’s what McPherson College’s environment does, introduces you to great people and encourages its students to build relationships. For that, I’ll forever be grateful I chose McPherson College and be proud to be a Bulldog.”

Although the focus of Power Day is online 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 all levels of donor support,” President Michael Schneider said. “Power Day is one demonstration of our alumni and friends stepping up to make an immediate impact on our students through robust scholarships and innovative programs like the Student Debt Project.”

More information about Power Day, including all the day’s videos, can be found at