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MC Recognizes Students at Awards Convocation

2024 Who's Who Students

McPherson College recognized the academic and leadership achievements of students, faculty and staff at the Annual Awards Convocation on May 1, 2024 in Brown Auditorium.

Recipients were as follows:


  • Female Scholar-athlete of the Year – Lindzie Archer
  • Male Scholar-athlete of the Year – Martin Millos

Technology Department – Auto Restoration

  • Julian “Pop Rice Award – Nathanael Fetters
  • Paul Russell Award for Excellence – James Pawlak


  • Outstanding Business Students – Mason Stephens

Curriculum & Instruction

  • Model Educator Award – Taylor Bohannon & Heather Hudson
  • Teacher of Promise Award – Madelyn Hankins, Alih Magana

History & Politics

  • Leland L. Lengel Memorial Scholarship – Avery Duncan
  • Marvin and Doreen Will Memorial Scholarship – Breanna Morck & Cale Replogle
  • Outstanding Senior Thesis – Zoe Carmichael & Cooper Koestel

Natural Science

  • Merit Research Award – Taylor Bohannon, Maggie Brown, Madison Turley
  • First-Year Chemistry Achievement Award – Becky Masengu
  • First-Year Biology Achievement Award – Elijah Leck

Behavioral Sciences

  • Outstanding Behavioral Sciences Student Award – Mia Birkes & Alex Hill
  • Outstanding Behavioral Sciences Senior Research Award – Caeley Billings
  • Outstanding Criminal Justice Award – Anthony Valdez
  • Outstanding Health and Human Services Award – Kael Markham

Art & Design

  • Award of Excellence in Ceramic Art – Maelynne Bonner
  • National Student Show & Conference: Best in Category, Book Cover – Sylvia Ko
  • AIGA: Best of Web Design – Sylvia Ko
  • Five-State Photo Competition & Exhibition – Natalia Ahrens, Zach Dittert, Eliseo Silva, Maria Miranda
  • City Arts Regional Juried Photo Exhibition – Leia Barnes & Eliseo Silva
  • Senior Art & Design Student of the Year – Eliseo Silva
  • Junior Art & Design Student of the Year – Taylor Starr

Physical Education

  • Department of Health and Sports Studies Award for Outstanding Graduate – Jordyn Johnson, Meghan Monroe, Katelyn Ruiz, Kendyl Saffer, Noah Carpenter, Moriah Delgado, Rebecca Steffen

Who’s Who in the McPherson College Class of 2024

  • Natalia Ahrens, Caeley Billings, Mia Birkes, Taylor Bohannon, Maggie Brown, Kurtis Ebling, Addison Haiden, Zamauria Herring, Heather Hudson, Cooper Koestel, Alih Magana, Sierra Portenier, Eliseo Silva, Mason Stephens, Mackenzie Unruh, Alexander VanPatten

Professor of the Year – Dr. Vicki Schmidt, associate professor of education

Staff Person of the Year – Rachael Bruce, athletic academic support specialist

Student Government Association

  • Taylor Bohannon, SGA president
  • Brooklyn Skinner, SGA president-elect

Members of Campus Community Honored at Light and Life Awards

Light and Life Award Ceremony 2024

The McPherson College Student Government Association honored campus community members at the Light and Life Awards ceremony on Sunday, April 28, at the McPherson Community Building. The awards recognize excellence outside of the classroom and are awarded to students, advisors, college community members, sports teams, clubs, and organizations.

The following received awards.

  • Kenya McCain – Bridge Builder, recognizes a student or group who embraces differences and diversity and works to bridge gaps with different campus factions.
  • Gamma Beta Phi and Lucy Bowman – Excellence in Community Service, recognizes a student or group’s earnest willingness to serve others through community service efforts during the academic year.
  • Malia Pfeiff – First-Year Student of the Year, reserved for a student who is new to McPherson College (freshman or transfer) and has demonstrated exceptional achievements in their first year. Through their active involvement and leadership potential, they have excelled academically and made meaningful contributions to the campus community.
  • The 2023-24 Residence Life Team – Good Neighbor, recognizes a person or group who has demonstrated what it means to be a good neighbor through friendliness, consideration, and respect. Examples are demonstrating excellence when facing ethical dilemmas or difficult decisions, bettering the campus climate, or improving others’ lives through simple acts.
  • Mariah Fede – Greatest Leap, reserved for a student or group who has significantly improved since the prior year. Examples include overcoming academic difficulties, increasing group membership, rising above circumstances, or other underdog success stories.
  • Vicki Schmidt – Outstanding Advisor, for a club or organization advisor who models the college’s mission of developing whole persons through scholarship, participation, and service and mentors and guides students to lead the campus and become stronger leaders.
  • McPherson Education Honors Society – Outstanding Student Group, recognizes a student organization, sports team, or other established group whose members exhibit scholarship, participation, and service; who have positively impacted the community; and who have contributed positively to the campus community throughout the year.
  • Tavian Gray – PAWSitive Spirit, recognizes a student who embodies vibrant energy and infectious enthusiasm that define what it means to be a bulldog. Examples are cheering on our teams, being involved in campus activities, having pride for McPherson Bulldogs, and inspiring others to do the same.
  • Taylor Star – Rising Star, recognizes a new leader of any academic classification who models scholarship, participation, and service through a willingness to lead and contributions to the campus community.
  • Miranda Gaytan – Silent Warrior, recognizes an individual who embodies the essence of resilience, determination, and commitment without seeking the spotlight. This individual consistently demonstrates unwavering strength, quietly overcoming challenges and pushing through college life.
  • Kourtnie Rohn – Star of the Show, recognizes a student or group of students who exemplifies excellence, dedication, and exceptional achievement in their role on stage, on the court, on the field, or any aspect on campus.
  • Mia Birkes – Student Employee of the Year, honors a student whose outstanding dedication, exemplary work ethic, and crucial contributions have significantly enhanced the operations and atmosphere of our institution.
  • Taylor Bohannon – Student Leader of the Year, recognizes an established student leader who has demonstrated excellence in campus leadership, academics, and achievement through multiple involvement or leadership opportunities or significant contributions to the campus community.
  • Cooper Koestel and Benny Lopez (Sodexo) – Unsung Hero, individuals receiving this award may not have an official title but have positively influenced some aspect of the campus from behind the scenes with a positive attitude, a willingness to help in whatever capacity necessary, and a commitment to excellence.

McPherson College Adds New Residence Hall for Fall 2024

Maxwell Hall

McPherson College students will have a new housing option in the fall with the addition of Maxwell Hall. The college worked with The Cedars Retirement Community to provide the new student housing located at First and Maxwell Streets.

The college is leasing the two north units of The Cedar Ridge Houses on Maxwell Street to accommodate increased enrollment and its commitment to quality student housing options. Just five blocks from campus, the new residence hall will provide co-ed housing for 50 students. It features two-bed suites with a private bathroom that share a large common area and kitchen. The new hall will offer the same amenities as other residence halls, including key-card access, furniture, security cameras, Wi-Fi, free laundry, and parking. Each room features its own temperature control.

“The new Maxwell Hall provides a living opportunity for students unique to anything else at McPherson College,” said Charles Snyder, resident assistant at Maxwell Hall. “I am honored to help introduce Maxwell Hall to the campus community and help grow our community in the building.”

Alexia Sandoval, another resident assistant at the new hall added, “I’m thrilled to be part of a process helping our community grow. With other big projects happening around campus, like the new Campus Commons and Boiler House, it’s fitting that a new resident hall would be included.”

The new hall is available to sophomores, juniors, and seniors currently making housing applications for next fall.

“This venture is a win for current Cedars residents because they will receive focused attention from Cedars staff and opportunities for intergenerational interaction,” LaMonte Rothrock, CEO of The Cedars, said in a statement. “We are excited about this relationship and plan for college students to spend time with our residents to enrich both groups’ lives.”

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.