Kansas College With Auto Restoration Program Gets $1B Donation from Anonymous Source
Written by Christopher Smith, Motor1.com
Published July 26, 2023
For students and faculty at McPherson College in central Kansas, the future just got a bit brighter. One might say it's a billion times brighter---or greener---thanks to a jaw-dropping gift of $1 billion from an anonymous donor.
The college located in McPherson, KS, shared the news in an announcement July 21. The unnamed individual offered a double-match challenge to the college's fundraising efforts, pledging $2 for every $1 donated by others through June 30.
The donor initially set a cap at $500 million, but then the school exceeded expectations by raising $342 million. In turn, the donor exceeded the cap and then some, offering a cool $1 billion to the college.
With the pre-existing endowment and other commitments factored in, McPherson College will have an endowment of nearly $1.6 billion, the largest of its kind for any small college in the U.S.
This is obviously extraordinary news, but it garners special attention in the motoring world because of McPherson's comprehensive automotive restoration program. The school website states it's the only four-year bachelor's degree program of its kind in the nation, offering emphases in historic auto tech, restoration management, communications, restoration design and auto restoration tech.
We aren't just talking about rebuilding old Buicks, either. Another generous donor previously gifted a classic Ferrari to the school. Students are preparing a 1953 Mercedes-Benz 300 S Cabriolet they restored for the 2023 Pebble Beach Concours d' Elegance taking place in August. They aren't just showing it off---they're going with plans to win.
The endowment will go towards expanding academic programs and helping with college affordability. It's called the Ward-Burkholder Endowment, named after two school alumni who went on to teach at McPherson.
"Today is historic, not just for McPherson College, but for all small liberal arts colleges in America," said McPherson College President Michael Schneider. "I am incredibly grateful to our anonymous donor for giving us an unprecedented opportunity---and responsibility---to build and implement our strategic vision of becoming a destination learning community. We have also been given an amazing opportunity to honor two legendary alumni and professors, Dr. Ward and Dr. Burkholder."
Founded in 1877, McPherson College offers more than 40 areas of study and hosts approximately 800 students.