Michael Schneider, president of McPherson College, announced Friday an extraordinary initiative based on a commitment of up to $500 million through a 2:1 matching program. The college has raised $130 million, which will draw down $260 million from the mystery donor. (Kansas Reflector screen capture from McPherson College’s YouTube channel)
TOPEKA — McPherson College confirmed Friday the commitment of up to $500 million from an anonymous benefactor for an extraordinary 2-for-1 matching initiative delivering resources to transform the central Kansas private liberal arts institution.
If the 800-student college known for offering an undergraduate degree in automotive restoration were to make the most of the arrangement, it would need to raise $250 million by June. That would secure the full $500 million offered by the private donor. The pledge was described as the largest single commitment to a small liberal arts college in the United States.
So far, the college’s endowment has raised $130 million applicable to a matching goal. That will prompt donation of $260 million from the anonymous contributor.
“This is an unprecedented show of support not just for McPherson College but also for America’s small, liberal arts colleges,” said Michael Schneider, the college’s president and an alumnus. “I am indescribably grateful to our anonymous donor for giving McPherson College the resources to implement our expansive strategic plan and truly create the student-first campus of the future.”
He said growth of the college’s endowment would be relied upon to continue the Student Debt Project, which provides funds to students who hold jobs while attending the college. It would fund an overhaul of campus infrastructure, including construction of a 55,000 square foot student life center, a recreation and social building as well as an athletics center.
The money would expand the Kansas Center for Rural and Community Health Science and create a National Center for the Future of Engineering, Design and Mobility.
During the announcement in Wichita, California philanthropists Melanie and Richard Lundquist put an exclamation mark on the campaign by doubling their $25 million donation to the college. Their pledge to commit a total of $50 million under the fundraising initiative would alone secure a matching contribution of $100 million to the college.
“Small liberal arts colleges like McPherson create nurturing ecosystems that foster creativity and innovation,” Melanie Lundquist said. “Meaningful philanthropy can help solidify a small college’s future. We are excited to double down on the magic happening on the plains.”
She encouraged other philanthropists to take advantage of the 2:1 match because there was “no greater return on investment in higher education.”
McPherson College offers more than 30 undergraduate degree programs to a student body drawn from three dozen states and seven countries. Academic offerings include a program combining a typical liberal arts education with the opportunity for hands-on training in all phases of auto restoration. The restoration program previously won the endorsement of collector and comedian Jay Leno.
The program has contributed to student enrollment growth at the college and the vision of exploring academic areas of engineering, design and mobility. The college plans a new automotive collection facility with climate-controlled areas to store, display and maintain classic cars. The agenda includes gstate-of-the-art equipment to enhance auto restoration programming.
Victoria Bruno, a McPherson College senior in the automotive program, said she’d made use of her college experience to land a dream job. She said private financial commitments to the college would “transform students’ lives.”
“McPherson College provides me with an unparalleled learning environment where I can cultivate my skill set and build a solid foundation for my future career,” she said. “Because of my time at McPherson, I know I will make a difference in the world.”
U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican seeking reelection against Democratic opponent Mark Holland, said investment of the type emerging at McPherson College demonstrated the value of higher education to people and communities.
“These generous donations will not only help the college continue to grow, but it will also greatly benefit the McPherson community,” the senator said.
McPherson College has operated since 2018 the Student Debt Project, which provides matching funds for students who hold jobs while attending the college. About one in three students in the project graduate from McPherson without loan debt.
The rural and community health center was started in 2019 in response to high demand for healthcare professionals, especially in rural areas of Kansas. The endowment money would allow expansion of the college’s collaboration with community health organizations with scholarships making the program more accessible to students in a broader spectrum of health fields.
by Tim Carpenter, Kansas Reflector
November 4, 2022
by Tim Carpenter, Kansas Reflector
November 4, 2022
TOPEKA — McPherson College confirmed Friday the commitment of up to $500 million from an anonymous benefactor for an extraordinary 2-for-1 matching initiative delivering resources to transform the central Kansas private liberal arts institution.
If the 800-student college known for offering an undergraduate degree in automotive restoration were to make the most of the arrangement, it would need to raise $250 million by June. That would secure the full $500 million offered by the private donor. The pledge was described as the largest single commitment to a small liberal arts college in the United States.
So far, the college’s endowment has raised $130 million applicable to a matching goal. That will prompt donation of $260 million from the anonymous contributor.
“This is an unprecedented show of support not just for McPherson College but also for America’s small, liberal arts colleges,” said Michael Schneider, the college’s president and an alumnus. “I am indescribably grateful to our anonymous donor for giving McPherson College the resources to implement our expansive strategic plan and truly create the student-first campus of the future.”
He said growth of the college’s endowment would be relied upon to continue the Student Debt Project, which provides funds to students who hold jobs while attending the college. It would fund an overhaul of campus infrastructure, including construction of a 55,000 square foot student life center, a recreation and social building as well as an athletics center.
The money would expand the Kansas Center for Rural and Community Health Science and create a National Center for the Future of Engineering, Design and Mobility.
During the announcement in Wichita, California philanthropists Melanie and Richard Lundquist put an exclamation mark on the campaign by doubling their $25 million donation to the college. Their pledge to commit a total of $50 million under the fundraising initiative would alone secure a matching contribution of $100 million to the college.
“Small liberal arts colleges like McPherson create nurturing ecosystems that foster creativity and innovation,” Melanie Lundquist said. “Meaningful philanthropy can help solidify a small college’s future. We are excited to double down on the magic happening on the plains.”
She encouraged other philanthropists to take advantage of the 2:1 match because there was “no greater return on investment in higher education.”
McPherson College offers more than 30 undergraduate degree programs to a student body drawn from three dozen states and seven countries. Academic offerings include a program combining a typical liberal arts education with the opportunity for hands-on training in all phases of auto restoration. The restoration program previously won the endorsement of collector and comedian Jay Leno.
The program has contributed to student enrollment growth at the college and the vision of exploring academic areas of engineering, design and mobility. The college plans a new automotive collection facility with climate-controlled areas to store, display and maintain classic cars. The agenda includes gstate-of-the-art equipment to enhance auto restoration programming.
Victoria Bruno, a McPherson College senior in the automotive program, said she’d made use of her college experience to land a dream job. She said private financial commitments to the college would “transform students’ lives.”
“McPherson College provides me with an unparalleled learning environment where I can cultivate my skill set and build a solid foundation for my future career,” she said. “Because of my time at McPherson, I know I will make a difference in the world.”
U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican seeking reelection against Democratic opponent Mark Holland, said investment of the type emerging at McPherson College demonstrated the value of higher education to people and communities.
“These generous donations will not only help the college continue to grow, but it will also greatly benefit the McPherson community,” the senator said.
McPherson College has operated since 2018 the Student Debt Project, which provides matching funds for students who hold jobs while attending the college. About one in three students in the project graduate from McPherson without loan debt.
The rural and community health center was started in 2019 in response to high demand for healthcare professionals, especially in rural areas of Kansas. The endowment money would allow expansion of the college’s collaboration with community health organizations with scholarships making the program more accessible to students in a broader spectrum of health fields.
Kansas Reflector is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Kansas Reflector maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sherman Smith for questions: info@kansasreflector.com. Follow Kansas Reflector on Facebook and Twitter.
Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.
Tim Carpenter has reported on Kansas for 35 years. He covered the Capitol for 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal and previously worked for the Lawrence Journal-World and United Press International. He has been recognized for investigative reporting on Kansas government and politics. He won the Kansas Press Association’s Victor Murdock Award six times. The William Allen White Foundation honored him four times with its Burton Marvin News Enterprise Award. The Kansas City Press Club twice presented him its Journalist of the Year Award and more recently its Lifetime Achievement Award. He earned an agriculture degree at Kansas State University and grew up on a small dairy and beef cattle farm in Missouri. He is an amateur woodworker and drives Studebaker cars.
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