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McPherson College Names New Dean of Students

Dean of Students Ben CoffeyMcPherson College President Michael Schneider appointed Ben Coffey as the new dean of students.

Coffey’s new appointment begins immediately. He succeeds Dr. Khalilah Doss who accepted the position of vice president of student affairs at the University of Southern Indiana.

“Ben has several years of experience in the student affairs department at McPherson College,” President Schneider said. “His dedication and commitment to our students over the years along with his knowledge of student life issues is a real asset to our college.”

As dean of students, Coffey is responsible for all aspects of student life at McPherson College including housing and dining services, student engagement, conduct, spiritual life, health and counseling services, student government and clubs, student affairs compliance, and budget.

Coffey has a long history with the college. He began working in academic support in 2011 as coordinator of the writing center, a position he maintained after he was appointed as associate dean of students in 2016. He was promoted to associate vice president for student affairs in 2018. His focus was primarily on housing, conduct, and student government. He also teaches diversity education in the teacher education program.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in English from McPherson College, a master’s degree of education in curriculum and instruction and is currently finishing requirements for a doctorate in education from Baker University. Before coming to McPherson College, Coffey was a classroom instructor for Canton-Galva and was director of professional development and union president there. He also worked with the Kansas teacher’s union for political activism, member engagement and fundraising, and negotiated teaching agreements with districts across Kansas.

Student-Run Car Show Celebrates 20 Years

America’s love of the automobile is alive and well, and was on full display this weekend at McPherson College as it hosted the 20th Annual C.A.R.S. Motoring Festival. Perhaps the best example of the enthusiasm and passion for the automobile was found in the college’s special guest for the event, Donald Osborne.

Osborne, a regular contributor on Jay Leno’s Garage on CNBC and What’s My Car Worth for MotorTrend TV, is a historian, appraiser, consultant, and writer. He spoke on Friday night at the Evening with AR dinner about his varied career, which includes performing with the Metropolitan Opera, and his life-long love of cars.

“I have been hearing about McPherson College over the years and knew there was obviously something important going on,” Osborne said. “There is the deepest of enthusiasm and talent here. It’s a response to people looking to follow their dreams and live their passion. The college is giving students an opportunity to pursue their concept of success, which is really a byproduct of doing something you love really well.”

Nearly 400 cars filled the campus grounds on Saturday, May 4 for the student-run show. Feature cars were prominently displayed in the center of campus and included a 1914 Peugeot L45 Grand Prix, a 1946 Kurtis Novi Indy race car, a 1952 Ferrari 212 Vignale, and a 1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda. Amanda Gutierrez, vice president of the automotive restoration program, announced that the original 1968 Bullitt Mustang would be featured at next year’s show.

Traditionally the show is host to a wide variety of rare and unique cars from works in progress, on display in the student section, to concours-quality vehicles like a 1955 Mercury Monteclair that was on the field this year. This year’s Best of Show went to a 1930s Franklin Pirate. Cars, motorcycles, scooters, and tractors from 16 states across the country were on display, according to show chair Nick Navarro, a junior in the Automotive Restoration program from Paramus, New Jersey.

“Our car show is one of the most colorful car shows that I have ever seen,” he said. “There are cars here that I will probably never see again in my life because they are so rare.”

Osborne, who is also a classically trained opera singer, kicked off this year’s show by performing the National Anthem. Other performances included the college and the high school jazz bands, and a demonstration by the college’s Model T build team that tied its build record by clocking in at just over six minutes.

“This is one of my favorite kinds of shows,” Osborne said. “You can see everything from European sports cars, hot rods, custom built cars, brass era cars to contemporary. It represents what McPherson College is all about -it’s inclusive, broad-ranging and passionate. You get to see how people love cars and live for cars at a show like this. Especially in the student section where it’s all about sharing their car with friends and with the greater community.”

MC Students Take Top Awards at Design Competitions

Wichita AIGA Student Portfolio Forum

Students in the McPherson College Visual Arts Department are finding success this year in design competitions and in career opportunities. Students in the program recently brought home top awards again this year from the Wichita AIGA Student Portfolio Forum and from the Dallas Society of Visual Communications (DSVC) national student show and conference and one student was selected out of 700 applicants for a prestigious summer internship.

This summer, Chloe Cloud, a senior from Wichita, will work with Barkley Advertising in Kansas City, Missouri. Barkley is the largest independent advertising agency in Kansas City and the seventh largest independent agency in the United States. Its clients include Applebee’s, Cargill, Spirit Airlines, Russell Athletic, AMC Theatres, and many more. This was the first time that students from McPherson College applied for the internship opportunity.

This is also the first year that McPherson College students competed in the DSVC national student show. Six student projects were accepted into the show and Micah Gilbert, a junior from Elkhart, Indiana, received first place for his photography entry. Visual Arts students also competed at the AIGA annual student competition where college students have the opportunity to have their design portfolios reviewed by professionals in the industry. Students taking top awards there include:

  • Italia Venegas, junior, Shawnee Mission, Kansas, first place, motion design
  • Lillian Oeding, senior, Wichita, first place, web design
  • Chloe Cloud, senior, Wichita, first place, best ad
  • Jaden Hilgers, senior, Wichita, third place, overall portfolio

“We received great comments about our students at each of the design competitions,” Dee Erway-Sherwood, professor of graphic design and department chair of art and design, said. “We encourage the McPherson College design students to take part in competitions and design shows to network with industry professionals, which in some cases lead to internships and job opportunities. Not only are these great experiences for our students, but they are also highly competitive with students from schools across the country.”

Gift Supports Developing Outdoor Adventures at McPherson College

New Outdoor Adventure Program

McPherson College received a significant multi-year commitment to develop outdoor “adventure” programming. Programming will immediately impact current students and has potential for enrollment growth, according to college officials.

“We are the first college in Kansas to introduce this kind of comprehensive programming centered around one of Kansas’ greatest assets – its outdoor environments,” President Michael Schneider said. “The gift will help us develop programming for our students who sometimes struggle finding things to do off campus. Programming will also engage students in experiential learning and leadership development.”

The gift made by a local private organization will fund start-up programming costs as well as off-set the next two years of operations as McPherson College develops student opportunities. Called Bulldog Adventures, the new programming will provide students with unprecedented access to the outdoors in the form of co-curricular clubs, experiential learning in and out of the classroom, as well as fun social activities.

The new program takes advantage of outdoor spaces around Kansas and may include cycling, hiking, fishing, hunting, water sports, camping, and nature conservation utilizing places like Maxwell Wildlife Refuge, Kanopolis State Park, the Meadowlark Trail, and the Flint Hills. In addition, McPherson College will explore student access on their own 9,500 acres of land.

“McPherson College sits in the middle of some of the most picturesque landscape in our state,” President Schneider said. “We have thousands of acres of outdoor activity space that we will utilize to enrich our student experience.”

The program is currently being developed as McPherson College searches for an outdoor adventures program director to organize and execute plans.

Student Government Association Provides New Free Laundry Service

The McPherson College Student Government Association (SGA) will welcome students back to the spring semester with a surprise – free laundry. All coin-operated machines in all resident halls have been eliminated and SGA will fund the new service to students.

“We felt as an organization that free laundry would not only benefit the students, but also make life easier on our staff,” Brandt Wolters, SGA president, said. “It adds another perk to help sell prospective students for our admissions team and reduces maintenance hassles for our facilities team.”

All 24 washers and 26 dryers available to students were converted from coin operated to free over the winter break. SGA will fund the project with no additional fees to students and work with others across campus on partnering opportunities in the community to continue its funding.

“This is in response to SGA student surveys that tell us students want free laundry,” said Ben Coffey, associate vice president for student affairs. “It was the number one most actionable item on all surveys, and it allows us to provide a more home-like atmosphere.”

While SGA expects the new service to have a positive impact on students, it will also a positive change for facilities, according to Marty Sigwing, director of facilities. “It will save costs on machine parts and labor for the time it takes facilities to maintain the coin operated system.”

McPherson College Announces Latest Horizon Fund Grant Recipients

Since 2010 McPherson College has been encouraging the entrepreneurial ideas of its students by awarding mini-grants that help students develop innovative solutions to common problems. With more than 250 grants awarded, the college recently announced the latest recipients of the Horizon Fund Grants.

This fall, the Horizon Fund is providing grants to 10 students with ideas ranging from hand-crafted tools to book publishing. The individual grants range from $100 to $500 and students have the opportunity to reapply for continued funding of an existing Horizon Fund project.

Abbey Archer-Rierson, chief of staff and head of the entrepreneurship program at McPherson College, said, “The Horizon Fund grant is just one of the many ways that McPherson College demonstrates its commitment to entrepreneurship and supporting entrepreneurial students on our campus. The grants have supported a variety of wildly creative ideas and this most recent round of funding is no exception.”

Any McPherson College student, in any major of study is eligible for the grant, whether individually or as part of a team. Grant proposals are considered each semester and evaluated by a team of faculty and staff that interview each applicant.

Recipients of the fall 2018 Horizon Fund grants are:

  • Summer Buckshaw, junior, studio arts, McPherson – Etsy store to make, sell, and repair vintage-inspired clothing – “I am meeting the need for professional quality, custom clothing with vintage designs that are rising in popularity.”
  • Mason Duffey, sophomore, automotive communications, Bellbrook, Ohio – Professional automotive photography – “Eventually, I would like to make a book highlighting the different subcultures of the automobile scene and the different types of people that are in each subculture.”
  • Grayson Henry, freshman, graphic design major, McKinney, Texas – Gray Sun Boutique – “My online boutique philosophy will be to bring uniqueness to a woman’s wardrobe at a price unlike other pricier websites.”
  • Charley Hoehaver, junior automotive restoration technology, Auburn, Alabama – Professional automotive photography – “In the nearly six years of doing this, I’ve seen far greater success with my work than I’d ever imagined and I am motivated to continue to improve in efforts to help achieve my greater goal.”
  • Reed MacDougall, junior, history major from Fort Riley, Kansas – Make and sell homemade potato chips – “I’ve thought since I went to school here that the snack option in the library is lacking variety. Why can’t I make a cheap and tasty snack?”
  • Matthew Miller-Wells, senior, historic automotive technology, Leavenworth, Kansas – Blog dedicated to finding abandoned buildings and monuments in Kansas City and Wichita – “It’s as much an adventure for me as it is for the reader. My blog would serve both as educating those curious of the history while reading about my personal experiences riding a vintage motorcycle on my travels.”
  • Sam Nelson, senior, chemistry, Clearfield, Utah – Food pantry for students with children – “Supply those in need with diapers, formula, or anything else they may need for their kids.”
  • Alex Ramsier, senior, automotive restoration technology, Wooster, Ohio – Automotive shop – “I am taking a different approach by meeting the need of an affordable product, allowing people to enter the car community or bring their pride and joy back to life.”
  • Sean Robinson, freshman, automotive restoration technology, La Grange, Illinois – Make and sell precision hammers – “The hammers are high-quality built combined with brass heads and exotic wood handles custom-turned to balance perfectly in the customer’s hand that look great in any toolbox.”
  • Tomi Simmons, sophomore, history-political science, Las Vegas, Nevada – Publish a creative writing book – “I would represent the school in a great manner that would influence other writers and people to be a part of the growing creative community we have at McPherson College.”

McPherson College Building New Student Health Center

Navigating the complexities of health care can be confusing; particularly for college students who may be dealing with a health crisis alone for the first time. McPherson College will make it easier for its students to access health care and counseling resources on campus with a new student health center that will open in the fall of 2019.

Construction on the new facility will begin before the end of this year on Gordon Street across from Morrison and Metzler residence halls. When completed, the new building will house the health clinic and counseling offices. Currently, the offices are located in converted residence hall rooms in Harter Hall.

“Often cost, convenience, and office hours can prevent students from seeking medical attention off campus,” McPherson College President Michael Schneider said. “We offer our students the most comprehensive health and counseling services among colleges our size in the state. Our new clinic will allow greater access to high quality wellness resources on campus.”

Access to health and counseling services on campus was consistently the top concern on student surveys. In 2014, the college responded to students’concern over the lack of on-campus health services by contracting with Partners In Family Care to provide physical health services to campus. Partners In Family Care, based in Moundridge, Kansas, is a practice run in part by Drs. Paul and Marla Ullom-Minnich, both alumni of McPherson College.

Health services are currently available to students, faculty, staff and community members Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and provided by Ashlee Pauls, P.A., another McPherson College alumni, as well as Dr. Marla Ullom-Minnich. The new clinic building will provide an opportunity for the practice to bring a full-time physician on staff.

The college also works with Client Centered Counseling, a full-licensed practice in McPherson, to provide counseling services on-campus, at its downtown location, and in the event of a crisis. Linda Helmer, a McPherson College graduate, owns the practices and is one of the therapists that works with students.

Health and counseling services at the college are highly utilized by students and staff members, according to the clinic records. Student fees will include unlimited health care office visits for full-time students, as well as four visits with the counseling office at no charge. Clinical services, like laboratory work, are also available, but will be submitted to insurances.

MC Student Leads Effort to Collect Toys for Christmas

McPherson College student, Junior Mendez, is sharing a Marine Corps Reserve holiday tradition with his college community this Christmas by heading up a Toys for Tots toy drive on campus.

Mendez, who is from Wichita and a graduate of Campus High School, is a junior in the Automotive Restoration program and a member of the Marine Corps Reserve serving with a unit in Oklahoma City. Each year, his unit’s master sergeant asks for volunteers to collect toys for the drive and while many of his peers take up posts at places like Walmart around Oklahoma City, Mendez wanted to be involved while attending school in Kansas.

“We are always pushed to be our best and our unit is asked to volunteer to help with the toy drive,” he said. “I was looking for a way that I could get my community here to help out.”

Working with the campus service organization, Gamma Beta Phi, Mendez decided to set up a collection box in the Hoffman Student Union. He is asking all members of the campus community to donate toys and fill the box. All toys must be new, unwrapped, and in their original packaging. The drive will continue through the end of finals week on December 6.

“I am hoping that students will understand that not all kids are as fortunate,” Mendez said. “And, that donating a toy can make you feel really good.”

Toys for Tots is a program run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve that distributes toys to less fortunate children at Christmas. The program started in 1947 and to date has distributed 548 million toys.

Mendez hopes the annual toy drive will catch on at McPherson College and already has ideas for next year that might include a 5K event to help collect toys.

McPherson College Celebrates 130th Commencement Ceremony

With wise words delivered from a long-time faculty member, McPherson College conferred bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees on 125 seniors in its 130th Commencement Ceremony, Sunday, May 21, 2018.

Dr. Rick Tyler, professor and chair of the performing arts department, who retires this year after 41 years at McPherson College, delivered the commencement address. Knowing a little something about commencements, after attending the very first one held in Brown Auditorium at the age 8, Dr. Tyler said despite their age difference, he and the members of the graduating class of 2018 were both starting out on new paths in their lives.

He drew his words of advice to the students from a quote by Maya Angelou that says, “If you must look back, do so forgivingly. If you must look forward, do so prayerfully. However, the wisest thing you can do is be present in the present…gratefully.”

Dr. Tyler spoke to the students about finding out what they are good at and getting better at it and not to forget there is life outside of work.

“Appreciate being present gratefully and be thankful to those who have helped you get this far,” he said. “As you experience the rest of today do so with the same anticipation as that eight-year-old boy in back of this auditorium who so much just wanted to be on this stage, because he got so much more than he dreamed of. I have the same hope for you today that you get so much more than you ever dreamed possible.”

Whitney Murray, senior class representative, also spoke to the graduating class. She shared her experience studying abroad in Spain while attending McPherson College and encouraged students to “embrace change” and find opportunities to learn more about themselves.

A bachelor of science degree was also given posthumously to Braden Lee Bush, who would have graduated on Sunday. Bush was a member of the football team and passed away on June 16, 2017. A moment of silence was recognized in his honor.

The commencement ceremony concluded with Dr. Michael Schneider, president of McPherson College, reminding the students of words he shared with them as freshmen – show up, and ask for help. He added one more piece of advice before sending them out.

“Use your education to take risks. There is a world full of people who will tell you no,” he said. “Put yourself out there and remember that McPherson College told you yes.”

Names of the graduating class of 2018, the commencement video, and photos of the day can be found at: www.mcpherson.edu/graduation.

McPherson College Adds eSports

For the newest sport at McPherson College you need to have quick reactions and make smart decisions, but not on a field or court. This sport is played on a computer keyboard.

McPherson College is introducing eSports to its co-curricular activities in fall 2018 and is currently recruiting students for the team. Richard Martin, co-owner of VillageGeek in McPherson, is the team coach. The college will field two teams that will compete in some of the largest games in eSports and anticipates 15 matches per year. A club team is being formed this spring to assist with tryouts and begin practicing for competition.

Joshua Hoerner, a freshman from Lindsborg, Kansas, who has been playing competitive video games since elementary school will compete on the new team. Hoerner said eSports was an important factor when looking for a college and is excited about being part of the new program at McPherson College.

“Like any team, one of the main benefits from joining is meeting new people and bonding together,” Hoerner said. “I’m also looking forward to watching the program grow. We have so much potential to be an amazing eSports program.”

The college team is a member of the National Association of Collegiate eSports (NACE), the equivalent of a sports conference like NAIA. The NACE develops the structure and tools needed to advance collegiate eSports at a varsity level. The association is laying the groundwork in areas such as eligibility, competition and scholarship. It is the only association for varsity eSports programs at the college level in the United States.

The McPherson College team will compete in the two largest games in eSports – Overwatch and League of Legends. Competition will be very similar to other sports with scheduled matches, seasons, and league standings. There is no travel required for this sport; all matches and practices will be held at the VillageGeek in a space that includes computers and a spectator area with four big screens for viewing.

“Last year at the Intel finals in Poland nearly 200,000 people attended to watch and 46 million people watched online,” Coach Martin said. “We hope our venue downtown will draw in people to watch the McPherson College team compete. Maybe not as many as the Intel finals, but hopefully the team will get a good fan following.”

Just like other sports, players will try-out for positions on the team and have the opportunity to receive scholarships. Martin anticipates recruiting 10 players for the first year. The only other college in the surrounding area to offer eSports is Kansas Wesleyan University. However, there are 45 colleges and universities competing in the NACE.

See more at: www.mcpherson.edu/esports