For students and faculty at McPherson College in central Kansas, the future is a little brighter. One might say it’s a billion times brighter, or rather, greener, thanks to a $1 billion gift from an anonymous donor.
The college located in McPherson, Kansas shared the news in an announcement on July 21. An unnamed individual is offering a double match challenge for college fundraising efforts, pledging $2 for every $1 donated by others through June 30. Donors initially set a cap of $500 million, but then the school exceeded expectations by raising $342 million. In turn, donors overreached and then some, offering a billion dollars to colleges. With pre-existing donations and other commitments factored in, McPherson University will have an endowment of nearly $1.6 billion, the largest of its kind for any small college in the US.
This is obviously great news, but it has received particular attention in the automotive world because of McPherson’s comprehensiveness automotive restoration program. The school’s website states that it is the only four-year bachelor’s degree program of its kind in the country, offering emphasis on historic automotive technology, restoration management, communications, restoration design, and automated restoration technology.
We’re not just talking about rebuilding old Buicks. Another generous donor previously gifted a classic Ferrari to the school. And while you’re reading this article, students are preparing their restored 1953 Mercedes-Benz 300 S Cabriolet for the 2023 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance taking place next month. They don’t just flaunt it – they have a plan to win.
The endowment will be used to expand academic programs and help with college affordability. It’s called the Ward-Burkholder Endowment, after two of the school’s alumni who taught at McPherson.
“This day is historic, not just for McPherson College, but for every small liberal arts college in America,” said McPherson College President Michael Schneider. “I am very grateful to our anonymous donor for giving us an unprecedented opportunity – and responsibility – to build and implement our strategic vision to become a destination learning community. We have also been given the extraordinary opportunity to honor two legendary alumni and professors, Dr. Ward and Dr. Burkholder.”
Founded in 1877, McPherson College offers more than 40 fields of study and enrolls approximately 800 students.