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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.

MC Recognizes Students at Awards Convocation

Prof Kyle Hopkins with MC Who's Who Students

McPherson College recognized the academic and leadership achievements of students, faculty and staff at the Annual Awards Convocation on Wednesday, May 3 in Brown Auditorium.

Recipients were as follows:


  • Female Scholar-athlete of the Year – Georgia Hitchcock
  • Male Scholar-athlete of the Year – Trey Murphy

Technology Department – Auto Restoration

  • Julian “Pop Rice Award – Colby Marshall
  • Paul Russell Award for Excellence – Matthew Kroeker


  • Outstanding Business Students – Meghan Smith & Luis Rodriguez

Curriculum & Instruction

  • Model Educator Award – Georgia Hitchcock & Kurt Golubski
  • Teacher of Promise Award – Alexis Gratten & Kassidy Weaver

History & Politics

  • Leland L. Lengel Memorial Scholarship – Breanna Morck & Cooper Koestel
  • Marvin and Doreen Will Memorial Scholarship – Kurtis Ebling & Tavian Gray
  • Outstanding Senior Thesis – Kento Saiki
  • Phi Alpha Theta National Historians Honor Society: Kento Saiki, Kurtis Ebling, Breanna Morck, Cooper Koestel, Kurt Golubski, Palmer Moe, Ben Weibe, Sarah Ewing

Natural Science

  • Burkholder Research Award – Olivia Smith
  • Merit Research Award – Bethany Ice, Nathan Saffer, Annie Weesner
  • Chemistry Achievement Award – Phillip Schieffelin & Katelyn Huddle
  • Biology Achievement Award – Phillip Schieffelin
  • Presented Undergraduate Research at the Kansas Academy of Sciences – Olivia Smith (1st place, Oral Presentations), Austin Apple, Nathan Saffer, Annie Weesner

Behavioral Sciences

  • Outstanding Behavioral Sciences Student Award – Kennedy Johnson
  • Outstanding Behavioral Sciences Senior Research Award – Peyton Lindsey
  • Outstanding Behavioral Sciences Student Award – Caleb Feuerstake

Art & Design

  • Five-State Photo Competition & Exhibition – Dane Kudera, Cameron Wright, Ryan Tate, Lindzie Archer, Nick Wilson, Susanne Cunningham, Chloe Jones, Eliseo Silva, Dashawn Holliman (each had one or more photos selected for the show), Maria Miranda (three photos in the show and received 3rd place)
  • AIGA Wichita Student Portfolio Forum – Mackenzie Unruh, Cheneal Benne, Eliseo Silva, Sylvia Ko
  • Art & Design Students of the Year – Dashawn Holliman

Physical Education

  • Department of Health and Sports Studies Award for Outstanding Graduate – Amanda Ambrosy, Bailey Avila, Brandt Johnson, Lasheicka Joseph, Kendra Maples

Who’s Who in the McPherson College Class of 2023

  • Kaylie Akiona, Cheneal Benne, Alexis Gratten, Georgia Hitchcock, Spencer Ice, Bethany Ice, Matthew Kroeker, Luis Rodriguez, Meghan Smith, Olivia Smith, Grace van Asselt, Annie Weesner

Professor of the Year – Dr. Allan van Asselt, professor of chemistry

Staff Person of the Year – Brian Martin, director of auto restoration projects

Student Government Association

  • Olivia Smith, SGA president
  • Taylor Bohannon, SGA president-elect


McPherson College “Breaks Ground” For New Campus Commons

Campus Commons groundbreaking ceremony

In a ceremony during halftime of the Bulldog football game on Saturday, Nov. 5, President Michael Schneider and his guests “broke ground” to signal the beginning of the Campus Commons building. With its location on Kansas Avenue, the Campus Commons will create a symbolic new “front door” for the campus.

Others participating in the groundbreaking ceremony included California philanthropists Richard and Melanie Lundquist, who announced on Friday, Nov. 4 that in addition to their initial gift of $25 million made last May, they would be donating another $25 million to the college.

The Campus Commons grew out of McPherson College’s Community by Design strategic plan is the culmination of input from students, faculty, staff, and board of trustees over several years. It will serve as the heart of student life on campus providing a one-stop-shop for enrollment and student services. It will feature a welcome center for prospective students and special events; dining and casual meeting spaces; collaboration spaces and offices; and the Dalke Center for Career and Experiential Learning. The 55,000-square-foot Commons will provide for the college’s growing physical needs. Construction of the new building is expected to begin in the spring.

The groundbreaking comes one day after the college announced a historic commitment of $500 million to its endowment. Over time, the anonymous double-match estate commitment will allow the college to reimagine and reinvent its campus while it pursues initiatives that enhance the student experience including continuation of the Student Debt Project, a new campus master plan, and development of the Kansas Center for Rural & Community Health Science and the National Center for the Future of Engineering, Design & Mobility. Information about this transformational commitment is at

Dining Hall Offers More Options For Students

Tyler Depperschmidt

New chef Tyler Depperschmidt

Students will have more food options in the McPherson College dining hall this semester thanks to the new Epic Eats food station, according to Trevor Schwendiman, director of dining services. The weekly themed menus feature barbeque, tacos, and Pho, among other favorites.

Many of the food choices offered in the dining hall come directly from student surveys. Fresh Ideas, the campus food service, makes focused efforts a few times each year to survey students, and all diners can leave comments or suggestions using QR codes at each table at any time.

“Our menu is their menu,” Schwendiman said. “I would say 80 to 85% of our menu reflects input from students. Their feedback has a huge impact on our decisions.”

Another change implemented this semester is the self-serve deli station. The sandwich bar offers more customization for the ultimate hoagie, and the salad bar will return to the dining hall.

Some things will not change, according to Schwendiman. The kitchen staff will continue preparing real food ingredients like hand-cut vegetables. In addition, the occasional monotony breakers, such as the totcho bar, sundae bar, and decorate your own cookies, will make an appearance throughout the year.

Another unique feature of the McPherson College dining hall that will continue is the variety of entrees prepared in the smoker. The smoker, which sits outside of the Hoffman Student Union, was made locally from an old propane tank, weighs about 3,000 pounds, and is fueled with Kansas red oak and hickory delivered to the college.

“It is unusual for a college food service to have something like this,” Schwendiman said. “We use it at least two times a week and prepare things like smoked chicken, pork, salmon, and even cheese. I enjoy cooking with it. You can smell it across campus when we fire it up.”

The Fresh Ideas staff increased this semester by adding two chefs and an assistant director. Tyler Depperschmidt, one of the new chefs, is a familiar face at McPherson College. He graduated with a degree in accounting in 2019 and was a member of the Bulldog football team. As a student he worked in the dining hall and is excited about returning to campus.

The dining hall is open Monday through Thursday, serving breakfast from 7:15 to 9:30 a.m.; lunch from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.; dinner from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.; and late night from 8 to 10 p.m. The dining hall closes at 7 p.m. on Fridays and reopens Saturdays and Sundays for brunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and dinner from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

Student Raises Awareness of Global Coffee Production

Polina Khoroshevskaya, McPherson College International Student Association

An environmental science class inspired McPherson College student Polina Khoroshevskaya to make a global issue relatable to other students and the campus community. Along with the McPherson College International Student Association (ISA), she recently hosted a global coffee tasting event to raise awareness about the global impacts of coffee production and to raise funds for both local and global charities.

“Since I was little, I have always wanted to find ways to help others,” Khoroshevskaya said. “The environmental science class really opened my eyes to the issues surrounding global coffee production and trade.”

Khoroshevskaya is a senior majoring in business administration: finance and accounting and was surprised when she learned that despite coffee’s rank as the second most traded commodity after oil, most of its producers struggle to make a living for their families and farming practices put in place to keep up with demand are destroying critical ecosystems.

“I’m a big coffee person,” she said. “So I started working with my professor (Dustin Wilgers) on an idea for an international coffee tasting event on campus that would engage our students and the community.”

She is president of the McPherson College ISA and thought utilizing the organization and its members to host the event would be a good fit. It was also important to her and the members to purchase the coffee directly from farmers or organizations that give the highest percentage of profits to farmers.

“It was important to us that we used trusted companies that support coffee growers and support how the coffee is produced,” Khoroshevskaya said. “We did a lot of research to find the best places to purchase the coffee we served.”

Coffees from Ethiopia, Mexico, Columbia, Ecuador, and Congo, as well as tea from South Africa, were served. ISA members were also on hand to give their opinions on the coffee and talk about their home countries.

“Polina is an ideal McPherson College student,” Dustin Wilgers, associate professor of biology, said. “Her leadership skills were on display as she organized and developed the event very independently. It was fun seeing a student be inspired by a classroom activity enough to share the ideas with others on campus.”

ISA is hoping to host another similar event before the end of the semester and donate funds to Kiva, a small organization that allows people to give microloans to entrepreneurs in other countries to help support their business and get them the funds they need. Members are also considering several local charities to support.

McPherson College Announces New Director of Student Life

Sarah WoodMcPherson College hired Sarah Wood to join the Student Affairs Office as director of student life. She will coordinate student life programming as well as service and spirituality activities on campus.

She is a 2018 graduate of Hutchinson Community College and a 2020 graduate of Oklahoma Panhandle State University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in agronomy. She served as director of admissions at Oklahoma Panhandle State University and as an admissions counselor and resident assistant there as a student.

“I could not be more excited to work with such a growing and diverse student body alongside a team that is so passionate about their work,” Wood said. “It’s a great day to be a Bulldog!”

In her role as director of student life, she will also support international students and work on diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

McPherson College Announces New Dean of Students

Dr. Hannah Rushe PiechowskiMcPherson College announces Dr. Hannah Rushe Piechowski will help lead the Student Affairs Office as associate vice president and dean of students. Piechowski has worked in student affairs and higher education for over 12 years.

Her experience includes housing and residence life, first-year experience, retention, and admissions at Transylvania University, Bellarmine University, the University of Louisville, and Midway University. Most recently, she served as the associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students at Missouri Western State University with Shana Meyer, vice president for student affairs at McPherson College.

“As a product of a private, liberal arts education, I am tremendously excited to join the McPherson College community,” Piechowski said. “From the moment I arrived to assist with the start of the school year, the students and campus won me over. I love the school spirit, the clear dedication to academics, and the strong sense of community.”

Originally from Lexington, Kentucky, Piechowski is a graduate of Bellarmine University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and piano performance. She also earned a master’s degree in counseling and college student personnel from the University of Louisville and a Ph.D. in higher education and social change from Bellarmine University. Her dissertation and research are rooted in positive psychology while seeking to understand and support the experiences of college students in transition.

Piechowski has taught educational research methods in Bellarmine’s Masters of Higher Education and Social Justice Program, as well as preparatory piano for over eight years.  She has served as the president of the College Personnel Association of Kentucky, president of the Kentucky Association of Housing Officers, Missouri state coordinator for the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, faculty for the Regional Entry Level Institution for the Southeastern Association of Housing Officers, and as a governing board member of the American College Personnel Association.  Piechowski and her yellow Labrador, Barley, are a certified therapy dog team by Pawsibilities Unleashed, Inc. and have over 100 hours of service at universities and hospitals.

Fresh Ideas Names New GM and Director of Dining Services at McPherson College

Fresh Ideas announced recently that Jaime Perez and Trevor Schwendiman have been promoted to new roles within the company and dining services program at McPherson College. Jaime, formerly McPherson’s director of dining services, is now a general manager where he will oversee operations at several area dining programs, including at McPherson. Trevor, formerly the assistant director of dining services at McPherson, is now the director of the campus dining program.

Both Jaime and Trevor have occupied leadership roles within the dining program over the past few years. As general manager, Jaime will work closely with Trevor to ensure food quality and customer service remain the focal points of Fresh Ideas’ service mission to McPherson’s campus community. Jaime will continue to play an integral role in the development and growth of McPherson’s dining program in his new role. In his new role as director, Trevor will oversee the day-to-day operations of McPherson College’s dining program and aims to bring new and innovative dining concepts, menus, and student engagement opportunities to campus.

Fresh Ideas is committed to creating a fresh food experience for people of all ages, and we welcome feedback to help us continue to grow and meet our customer’s needs. Guests are encouraged to visit the McPherson College dining website to view menus, dining service hours, leave feedback for Trevor and his team, and much more

McPherson College Recognizes Top Students for 20-21

Each year McPherson College recognizes outstanding students from academic, athletic, and service areas across campus. This year’s award recipients are:

  • Stage Manager of the Year – Sarah Asher, Kansas City, MO, for Native Gardens
  • Production Crew Member of the Year – Lindy Reynolds, McPherson, for sound in Native Gardens
  • Team Player of the Year – Tomi Simmons, Las Vegas, for Native Gardens
  • Achievement in Male Performance – Michael Beltran, Bogoto, Columbia, for Pablo in Native Gardens
  • Achievement in Female Performance – Grace van Asselt, McPherson for Molly in Molly Sweeney
  • Outstanding Morale for the Season – Cheneal Benne, Courtland, KS
  • Rookie Theatre Student of the Year – Sarah Asher, Kansas City, MO
  • Theatre Student of the Year – Sarah Asher, Kansas City, MO

Scene from “Native Gardens” featuring Tomi Simmons, Michael Beltran, Allison Penalva and Jacob Reed.

  • Outstanding Production – Native Gardens

Scene from “Dutchman” featuring Jailynn Hammel and Javon Davis

  • Outstanding Ensemble – Dutchman

Tevin Oller

  • Senior of the Year – Tevin Oller, Merriam, KS

Lola Hipp

  • Underclassman of the Year – Lola Hipp, Goodland, KS

Destiny Bacon Navid Istanbullu

  • Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year – Destiny Bacon, La Mesa, CA
  • Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year – Navid Istanbullu, Bremen, Germany

Wally Behrens

  • “Pop” Rice Award – Wally Behrens, Crested Butte, CO

Tim Lauring

  • Paul Russell Award for Excellence – Tim Lauring, Worcester, MA

  • Outstanding Behavioral Science Student in psychology – Riley Bradbury, Castle Rock, CO
  • Outstanding Behavioral Science Student in sociology – Christie Silber, Simi Valley, CA
  • Outstanding Business Student Award – Myriah Webster, Marquette, KS
  • Inscribe 2020 Editors – Alexis Grattan, Newton, KS; Jackie Gullion, Fremont, CA.; and Taylor Cunningham, Wellsville, KS
  • Award for Academic Excellence – Gregory Neiger, Scotts Valley, CA
  • Interdisciplinary Health Science Award for Academic Excellence – Destiny Bacon, La Mesa, CA
  • Leland L. Lengel Memorial Scholarship – Kurtis Ebling, Lindsborg, KS; Joseph Yanez-Perez, Rexford, KS; Ellis Woodruff, Princeton, TX
  • Marvin and Maureen Will Memorial Scholarship – Abigail Briscoe, Little River, KS; and Makenzie Jansonius, Prairie View, KS

Courtney Weesner and Tomi Simmons

  • Induction to Phi Alpha Theta Honor Society – Courtney Weesner, Hutchinson, KS; and Tomi Simmons, Las Vegas, NV

Lambda Pi Eta 2021


2021 science awards 2021 science awards

  • Natural Science Merit Research Award – Sydney Burton, Stilwell, KS; Jessica James, Halstead, KS; Choucranie N. Kayembe, Lubumbashi, Haut-Katanga, DR Congo; Aaron Leck, McPherson; Allison Pamela Penalva Vanegas, McPherson
  • First-Year Chemistry Award – Trey Murphy, Sydney, Australia

Taylor Bohannon

  • First-Year Biology Award – Taylor Bohannon, Belle Plaine, KS

2021 science awards

  • Pandemic Perseverance Award: for having persisted with determination to overcome the obstacles of this most unusual year – Maile Deutsch, Kylecia Taylor, Choucranie Kayembe, Shelby Bonn, and Jenna Christensen

Light and Life Awards:

  • Rising Star – Taeylon Garland, Fort Hood, TX
  • Student Leader of the Year – Maile Deutsch, Palmer, TX
  • Unsung Hero – Tevin Oller, Merriam, KS
  • Excellence in Community Service – Gamma Beta Phi
  • Good Neighbor – Kylecia Taylor, Fort Hood, TX
  • Outstanding Advisor – Manjula Koralegedara, associate professor of chemistry
  • Outstanding Student Group – SAB and MC Residents
  • Bridge Builder – Tomi Simmons, Las Vegas, NV
  • Greatest Leap – Rogue Writers
  • Teachers of Promise – Kaitlyn Foster, McPherson; and Reganne Barker Barrett, Tipton, KS
  • Model Educators – Jack Stalcup, Hugoton, KS; and Matthisen Witzel, St. Francis, KS
  • Destiny Bacon – San Diego, CA
  • Cherie Bruce – Minneapolis, KS
  • Taylor Cunningham – Wellsville, KS
  • Navid Istanbullu – Bremen, Germany
  • Sebia Kalambayi Kabedi – Lubumbashi, Congo
  • Aaron Leck – McPherson
  • Nathaniel McLaughlin – Ticonderoga, NY
  • Ilanna Moyer – McPherson
  • Allison Penalva Vanegas – San Miguel, El Salvador
  • Kendryk Rankin – Colorado Springs, CO
  • Tomi Simmons – Las Vegas, NV
  • Meklit Tilahun – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • Myriah Webster – Lindsborg, KS
  • Courtney Weesner – Hutchinson, KS

Jamie Pjesky

  • Jamie Pjesky, Assistant Dean of Campus Life & Belonging



Initiative Helps McPherson College Student Socialize Safely

A new initiative at McPherson College is creating normalcy, both academically and socially, for students who may otherwise be feeling isolated this year. The initiative called QuaranTeams encourages students to form small groups and provides funding for their activities.

Gifts from alumni and friends of the college support the program, which is coordinated through the Office of Student Life. Launched at the start of the spring semester, 20 teams of two to five students are participating in the program. Each week the teams can request funds to pay for an activity for their small group.

“It’s a social-safety initiative to decrease the spread of COVID-19 on our campus,” Gabrielle Williams, director of student life, said. “Our expectations were simply to provide students an opportunity to hang out and support their mental wellness. It’s become a very organic way for students to shape their own experiences while still keeping in touch with our office.”

Students agree to a social contract that outlines behavior within their team, such as how they greet each other or if they hang out with other groups. The teams also agree to host at least two study halls, complete 10 hours of community service, and attend at least one Student Life organized campus event.

“I think we are very privileged to have alumni donate funds for a program dedicated to the student experience,” Williams said. “The community service aspect of the program is our way of helping our students give back in appreciation of the investment that was made in them.”

Teams have used funds to order take-out, buy supplies for watch parties and game nights, and a variety of other small group activities.

“Not all of the people on the teams were friends before this,” Williams said. “It’s been a really good way for students to stay connected and make new friendships, which has been hard this year especially for our freshmen.”