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Kansas Student Receives Full-Tuition Presidential Scholarship

Rebekah Ballast, MC Scholarship recipient

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

$25M Surprise Gift Announced During McPherson College Commencement

Melanie Lundquist, commencement speaker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



About Dr. Melanie Lundquist, LHD

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

About Dr. Richard Lundquist, LHD

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

Gutierrez Named Executive Vice President and Provost at McPherson College

Amanda Gutierrez

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Prized Enzo-Era Ferrari Arrives at McPherson College in Surprise Ceremony

Dr. Richard Lundquist donates Ferrari to McPherson College

In a surprise ceremony last Friday, McPherson College received and unveiled a classic 1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona, a two-seat grand tourer, a gift from Dr. Richard Lundquist, LHD. A longtime supporter of the college’s auto restoration program, Lundquist’s gift marks the first Ferrari the college has ever received.

“I’m pleased to hand over the keys to one of my most prized possessions to the wonderful students and faculty at McPherson College,” said Lundquist. “It’s my hope that the car provides enhanced learning opportunities and can be restored by the students and eventually compete in prestigious events.”

For 46 years, McPherson College has been the only college in America developing the next generation of automotive restorers, with graduates securing positions with some of the top car collectors, museums, and restoration companies in the world. The program’s students study and work on historic cars, including a 1927 Ford Model A, a 1936 V-12 Lincoln Convertible Sedan, and a 1956 Austin Healey 100M, and are able to learn how to properly work on and restore cars that carry a deep history. And while they have worked on many unique and storied vehicles, the Ferrari stands alone in its prestige and history.

“The   magnitude of this gift is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for not only our automotive restoration students, but the entire McPherson community,” said McPherson College President Michael Schneider. “This is one of the most impactful educational tools and gifts that McPherson College has ever received. We cannot thank Richard enough for this gift and his continued friendship and support of the college.”

The 1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 is one of the last models manufactured by Ferrari before company founder and namesake Enzo Ferrari sold the company to Fiat. The two-seat grand tourer, designed by Pininfarina and built by Carrozzeria Scaglietti, was ranked number two in Motor Trend’s “Greatest Ferraris of All Time.”

“This car is old-school. It’s largely handmade at a time when this just wasn’t done, and with its engine in the front, the 365 GTB/4 ran counter to the latest trend of putting the engine behind the driver,” Ed Barr, professor of technology at McPherson College, said. “Enzo Ferrari’s willingness to disregard the latest fad and embrace craftsmanship in pursuit of excellence are sentiments our students will appreciate. The hands-on study of this car will allow our students to retrace the steps and learn the methods of the craftspeople who built it the first time.”

After the unveiling, students were able to come to the stage to examine the car up close and talk with Lundquist about the vehicle’s story and journey to McPherson College.

“It gave me a broad smile to see the students engaging with the car up close in a way that could never happen if it was cordoned off in a museum,” said Lundquist.

During a ceremony earlier Friday, McPherson also officially dedicated, cut the ribbon, and formally opened the Paul Russell and Company Center for Automotive Research, made possible through a generous gift from Melanie and Richard Lundquist. Last year, McPherson College announced that Florida philanthropist and automotive enthusiast, Dano Davis, gave $1 million in a match gift towards the college’s $20 million goal.

In March 2021, McPherson College conferred honorary doctorates on Richard and his wife, Melanie, 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.

McPherson College Automotive Restoration Dedicates New Research Center On Campus In Honor Of Classic Car Restoration Expert Paul Russell And Company

Paul Russell AR Library ribbon-cutting

With a crowd of campus community members and industry partners looking on, McPherson College dedicated the Paul Russell and Company Center for Automotive Research on May 6, 2022.

The research center, made possible through a generous gift from Richard and Melanie Lundquist, LHD, encompasses the entire south wing of Miller Library’s upper floor in a newly remodeled area. The new space is named for Paul Russell and Company, the renowned classic car restoration company with top awards from the world’s most prestigious concours events including Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance and Ville d’Este. Paul Russell has been a part of the McPherson College Auto Restoration National Advisory Board for 20 years and is currently chair of the board. Throughout his time on the board, he has hired numerous interns and staff from McPherson College.

“I hope the students will take opportunities to find out what is in this collection, to encourage ‘time travel’ and that it becomes a place to browse and discover even when you are not required to be there,” Paul Russell said about the new library. “Automotive history is interwoven with our human history and reflects and has influenced every aspect of the twentieth-century life. Its study only enhances the hands-on aspect of restoration work by bringing understanding to life and times of the people who designed and built the cars when new.”

The automotive restoration collection contains approximately 25,000 materials including sales brochures from almost 100 different manufacturers dating from 1908 to the present and original Duesenberg blueprints. Other types of materials held in this collection include classic auto repair manuals, periodicals, and books on a variety of automotive subjects. The new space allows considerably more room for student research within the library. Resources in the open section are available for check out from the library while items in the special collection section remain in the library with access granted by library staff.

“At any given time, you can find students from across college disciplines making use of the renovated space,” Kristie Sojka, library director, said. “It is brighter, allowing materials to be more accessible and easier to find, and the new furniture provides a variety of comfortable ways for users to spend time researching. The space helps the library move forward in achieving our goal of creating a welcoming atmosphere while offering both academic and social spaces where students, faculty, and staff are able to connect with information and each other.”

The dedication helped kick off the annual McPherson College Motoring Weekend on May 6-7, a culmination of the academic year when students, alumni, and industry partners from across the country gather to celebrate the automobile. Other activities included the annual CARS Club Car Show, a student-run car event held on the campus grounds, and a Cruise-In held on Main Street in McPherson.

“We are thrilled to be celebrating the dedication of this facility on our campus,” Amanda Gutierrez, vice president for automotive restoration, said. “We are grateful to Melanie and Richard for choosing to honor Paul Russell and Company in a way that so directly impacts our students and faculty during the learning process.”

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.”

Doubling the Federal Pell Grant Program Is an Investment in Kansas’ Future

By Michael Schneider, President
McPherson College

As we move toward a post-pandemic economy, it’s time to send a strong reminder to Congress that economic rebound can be supported by increasing the maximum Pell Grant. #Double Pell – a national bipartisan movement to raise the per-person grant from its cap of $6,500 to $13,000 annually – would put a reasonably priced college education within reach of every American student and potentially eliminate their student debt.

When the Pell Grant program started in the 1970s, the grant could cover 75% of the cost of a public four-year institution, but today the maximum grant amount covers only 28% of the same costs, according to the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU).

According to a NAICU survey, over 80% of Americans already support expanding the Pell Grant, including 77% of Republicans and 91% of Democrats. At McPherson College, one in three students is a Pell Grant recipient. Many of these students are concerned about graduating with student loans, so they have become a part of the McPherson College Student Debt Project, which is a college-funded program that combines financial literacy education, jobs, and mentorships to create a pathway for students to graduate debt-free. The college matches 25 cents for every dollar students contribute to their education, allowing them to pay for their education in real-time.

Nationwide, Pell Grants help nearly 7 million low- and moderate-income students attend and complete college annually. They are especially critical for students of color, with nearly 60 percent of Black students and roughly half of Native American, Alaska Native and Hispanic students receiving a Pell Grant each year.

But while we’re working to expand Pell Grants, let’s also take full advantage of the current Federal Pell Grant Program.

Here’s a crazy statistic: In 2021, more than 8,000 Pell-eligible high school seniors across Kansas left a staggering $35 million in aid on the table because they failed to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is the first step in determining Pell Grant eligibility as well as all other federal financial aid.

Last year, 53% of Kansas high school graduates failed to submit the FAFSA form, ranking Kansas a dismal 32nd in the nation for the rate of FAFSA completions. Maybe this is why Kansas ranks 29th in college graduation rates, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. We need to do better to ensure that high school seniors receive the student aid that will provide the financial support they need to graduate from college.

Although students can complete the FAFSA at any point during the year to receive Pell Grants, why put it off? Many Kansas colleges have April 1 financial aid deadlines, so I encourage students and families to take two easy steps to get their FAFSA completed:

First, Google “FAFSA” to find a quick link to apply. All you need is your 2020 tax return and a listing of your current assets. However, if you don’t have either of these readily available, you can estimate and submit, then make changes later. It takes less than an hour to complete the application.

Second, McPherson College – or any college, for that matter – will be more than happy to help you complete the form. Just call any college financial aid office, and staff can guide you through the FAFSA process.


Education Funding Fuels Economic Development

For the past 50 years, the Pell Grant has been second only to the GI Bill in terms of its impact on educational opportunity and economic progress. Doubling Pell gets more dollars to the students who need it most. With millions of jobs still vacant in healthcare, technology, and other knowledge-based sectors, we need to make higher education degrees more accessible. The future of our economy depends on maximizing every student’s potential.

I support government officials holding higher education accountable, as the business of education has become more complex over the years, adapting to a market that is less funded by the public. However, let’s not forget about the relationship education has with economic development. So often education and economic development are viewed politically as an either/or proposition. We either fund education or we fund economic development. It’s time that we start doing a better job connecting the two.

And we need to remember that most colleges are not high-priced public universities or elitist private colleges. Most of us in higher education have a mission to serve students with the goal to place students in the job market by providing affordable bachelor’s degrees, associate’s degrees as well as useful licensures and certificates. An investment in education gets more people into the workforce paying taxes, more teachers in our classrooms, more healthcare workers in our clinics, more entrepreneurs starting businesses and more executives to provide corporations the leadership they need to prosper.

Join me in asking the Kansas Congressional delegation to make an investment in America’s future by increasing Pell Grants. And, if you have a high school senior in your household – or know one among your friends and family – reach out to make sure they complete their FAFSA. The future of our communities, our state and our country will be better for having done both.

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

McPherson College Honors Faculty, Staff, Trustees for Years of Service

MC Service Award Honorees

McPherson College community recently gathered to celebrate 22 employees and trustees for their years of service to the college with a reception, dinner, and awards program at the McPherson Community Building on March 4. The annual night of recognition celebrated the work of faculty, staff, and board of trustee members who have served the college from five to 40 years.

“The outstanding achievements and accomplishments by the honorees in the classroom, within individual departments, and in the McPherson community propel the college beyond being a great college to work for,” President Michael Schneider said. “These honorees facilitate world-class experiences for our students and it is in this deep sense of campus community where our students excel to be leaders of the future.”

Those honored included:

40 Years

  • Herb Smith, professor of religion and philosophy

20 Years

  • Steve Anderson, Custodian
  • Sara Brubaker, director of admissions operations and data analyst

15 Years

  • Luke Chennell, association professor of technology
  • Christi Hopkins, vice president for admissions
  • David Penalva, custodian

10 Years

  • Michaela Valli Groeblacher, associate professor of art
  • Ami Martinez, associate professor of English
  • Brenda Stocklin-Smith, director of human resources
  • Rick Tuxhorn, vice president for finance

Five Years

  • April Counts, assistant professor of education
  • Kendra Flory, assistant of advancement/alumni relations
  • Lindsay Godfrey, assistant professor of business
  • Tina Goodwin, director of public relations
  • Jill Hemenway, administrative assistant in education
  • Julia Largent, assistant professor of communication
  • Robert Mowat, building technician
  • Chandler Short, athletic director

Board of Trustees

  • Dave Christiansen
  • Jonathan Klinger

Special Recognition of

  • Bruce Clary, vice president for academic affairs, retiring after 40 years
  • Laura Eells, professor of sociology, retiring after 26 years