McPherson College

1600 E Euclid 
McPherson KS 67460 

(620) 242-0400

McPherson College

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
McPherson College
McPherson College logo.png
Established 1887
Type 4 year liberal arts, non-profit
Religious affiliation Church of the Brethren
Endowment $25.6 million[1]
President Michael P. Schneider
Provost Kent Eaton, Ph.D.
Academic staff 40[2]
Admin. staff 90[3]
Undergraduates 621[4]
Location McPherson, Kansas, USA[5]
Campus 23 acres (9.3 ha)
Nickname Bulldogs
Mascot Ben the Bulldog

McPherson College is a four-year liberal arts college in McPherson, Kansas, United States. It was chartered in 1887 by the leaders of the Church of the Brethren. The college provides a career-oriented liberal arts education. It is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association.


Miller Library, 2011.

During their 1887 Annual Meeting, the Church of the Brethren recognized the need for a college west of the Mississippi River to serve the educational desires of settlers moving westward. These leaders decided to investigate potential sites. In August 1887 McPherson, Kansas, in McPherson County was chosen and McPherson College and Institute was founded.[citation needed]

The first academic semester opened on 5 September 1888, with 60 students and a faculty of seven. The Dormitory, a single building which served as residence hall, college, and library had been constructed before the semester began. By the end of the first school year nearly 200 students had enrolled and the foundation had been laid for the main building. In 1898, Sharp Hall was completed, though it had been used for school purposes for some time while still incomplete. On 12 February 1898, the school was officially christened "McPherson College." [6]

A Carnegie Library was added to the campus in 1906, supported by an endowment. In 1909, the college purchased a 150-acre (0.61 km2) farm for the agricultural department. At this time other academic departments included education, fine arts, Bible, and business, as well as pre-medical and pre-engineering courses. Bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees were conferred on students who completed the classical or the scientific collegiate course of study, respectively. Other buildings added in the early years included the Alumni Gymnasium (1911); Arnold Hall (1915); Kline Hall (1919); and Harnly Hall (1922). In 1938 the old Alumni Gymnasium was torn down and replaced by the new Gymnasium.[citation needed]

One clause from the Corporation Charter for McPherson College states, It is the purpose of this Corporation to do any and all things necessary and expedient to be done for the advancement of higher Christian education. To fulfill this purpose, McPherson College applied for accreditation by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, and in 1921 it was one of the first colleges in Kansas to receive it.[citation needed]

In 1926, J Willard Hershey synthesized one of the world's earliest synthetic (man-made) diamonds on the McPherson College campus.[7][8] Reporting on his experiments, Hershey wrote, "Since we first began our experiments in their manufac­ture more than 50 diamonds have been made synthetically at McPherson College, ranging in size from the smallest, one millimeter (about 1/25 inch) in diameter, to the larg­est, which, is two millimeters by one and one half milli­meters by one millimeter, weighing 1/30 carat."[9] One of the diamonds is on display at the McPherson Museum in McPherson, Kansas. There is some debate about the success of Hershey's experiments, with some researchers concluding that the diamonds were not true diamonds and others concluding that some of them were.[10][11]

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, McPherson College underwent financial difficulties. The college president, Vernon F. Schwalm, provided the leadership to maintain all the academic majors and preserve the faculty intact.[citation needed]

In 1962, McPherson College became a charter member of Brethren Colleges Abroad (BCA).[12]

In 1976, local entrepreneur Gaines H. “Smokey” Billue, provided funds for the construction of Templeton Hall along with additional operating capital through the donation of a portion of his classic and antique car collection. This donation provided the spark to launch the Automotive Restoration Technology program at McPherson College. The Tonight Show host Jay Leno has been a financial supporter of the Automotive Restoration Technology program since 1997 and a member of the program's National Advisory Board since 1998.[13]

By the fall of 2010, McPherson College had the highest student fall enrollment in over 40 years.[14]

College presidents

McPherson College has been led by thirteen presidents and four interim presidents.

  • Michael Schneider - 2009–present
  • Ronald D. Hovis - 2003-2009
  • Neil Thorburn, Ph.D. (interim) - 2002-2003
  • Gary A. Dill, Ph.D. - 1997-2002
  • Steven Gustafson, Ph.D. (interim) - 1996-1997
  • Paul W. Hoffman, Ph.D. - 1976-1996
  • Galen R. Snell, Ph.D. - 1972-1976
  • J. Jack Melhorn, Ph.D. - 1965-1972
  • Desmond W. Bittinger, Ph.D. - 1950-1965
  • Woodford W. Peters, Ph.D. - 1941-1950
  • Vernon F. Schwalm, Ph.D. - 1927-1941
  • Daniel W. Kurz, Ph.D. - 1914-1927
  • Henry Jacob Harnly (acting) - 1913-1914
  • John A. Clement - 1911-1913
  • Samuel J. Miller (acting) - 1910-1911
  • Edward Frantz - 1902-1910
  • Charles E. Arnold - 1896-1902
  • Soloman Z. Sharp - 1888-1896


McPherson College operates on a 4-1-4 (four month semester- January Session- four month semester) academic calendar. The present campus has sixteen major buildings on twenty-three acres of land.

Three out of four of the faculty hold terminal degrees. Twenty three hold PhDs. All of the arts faculty hold the degree of Master of Fine Arts or higher. The remainder hold non-terminal degrees.[15] McPherson College has a 13/1 student-faculty ratio.[16]

Freshman and Sophomore seminars

Academic Community Essentials (known as ACE) is the name of McPherson's First Year Experience program. Freshmen must enroll in the course in both the fall and spring semesters of their first year. The course goal is that "Students will show that they have learned about college life, create a degree plan, and practice good study skills, critical thinking, and conflict resolution.[17]

Sophomores must enroll in one semester of Sophomore Seminar. The course goal is that "Students will complete a service project, develop a career plan, and show that they have explored internship options."[18]

Major fields of academic study

Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees are offered in 18 majors.[19]

  • Biology (BS)
  • Biochemistry (BS)
  • Business Administration (BS)
  • Chemistry (BS)
  • Communication (BA)
  • Elementary Education (including Special Education) (BS)
  • English (BA)
  • Environmental Stewardship (BS)
  • Information Technology (BS)
  • History (BA)
  • History for Teaching Licensure (BA)
  • Mathematics (BA)
  • Performing Arts (including music and theatre) (BA)
  • Philosophy and Religion (BA)
  • Physical Education and Health (BS)
  • Politics and History (BS)
  • Psychology (BS)
  • Sociology (BS)
  • Technology (including automotive restoration) (BS)
  • Visual Arts (including graphic design) (BA)

Automotive Restoration Technology

McPherson College offers the only four year degree in Automotive Restoration in the United States.[20] There are six Bachelor of Science degrees offered in the program:

  • Automotive Restoration Technology
  • Historic Automotive Technology
  • Automotive Restoration Management
  • Automotive Communication
  • Automotive Restoration Design Technology
  • Motorcycle Restoration Technology[21]

The program is housed in Templeton Hall, which has a combination of traditional classrooms and large work spaces, including a wood shop, metals shop, foundry, and paint shop.[22][23]

There are eight scholarships offered exclusively to Automotive Restoration students.[24] The most famous are the Fred Duesenberg Memorial Scholarship endowed by Jay Leno and Peter Heydon, and the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Scholarship in honor of Phil Hill endowed by the Pebble Beach Company Foundation and Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.[25][26]

Entrepreneurship Program

McPherson College recently added an interdisciplinary entrepreneurship program. The slogan for the program is "Freedom to Jump" and was developed by students in a communication course.[27] The program has four different components.[28] The program is led by the Vice President for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.[29][30][31]

Transformative Entrepreneurship Minor

Students in any major may take the Transformative Entrepreneurship Minor. Coursework for the minor is completed in four departments: Entrepreneurship, Humanities, Social Sciences, and Science & Technology.[32]

Global Enterprise Challenge

Students have the option to form teams and compete in the Global Enterprise Challenge. Teams create a plan to meet a need in a country that is selected and announced each fall. The students present their plans to a committee of faculty members. The winning team travels to the country the following summer.[33] In 2011 the Challenge country was Haiti and in 2012 it was Panama.[34][35]

Horizon and Opportunity Funds

McPherson College has two grant funds to support entrepreneurial projects by students, faculty, and staff. Students apply to the Horizon Fund and faculty and staff to the Opportunity Fund.[36][37] Winning student plans have included a campus community garden, college prep summer camp for middle school students, a sundry and snack shop on campus, a baking business, and a photography studio specializing in photos of vintage cars.[38]

Jump Start Kansas

McPherson College offers entrepreneurship grants and scholarships for high school students in Kansas. Students compete by presenting plans to a committee of faculty and administration members. There are two winners, one in the category of commercial projects and one in the category of social projects.[39][40]

R3 Degree Completion

McPherson College offers a degree completion program for adults. Students graduate with a Bachelors of Science in Business Management. Courses are offered once a week in the evenings. In addition to classes on the McPherson campus, courses are also taught in the neighboring city of Hutchinson, KS at the Hutchinson Community College campus.[41]

Milwaukee Center

The college operates a satellite in Milwaukee, WI. The Milwaukee Center offers short courses which are designed for K-12 educators who already have a bachelor's degree.[42]

Graduate Courses in Education

In the fall of 2012, McPherson College started offering graduate courses in education. This program is designed to become the foundation for a Masters in the Arts of Teaching and is pending accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. As of the fall of 2012, three regional school districts had endorsed the graduate courses for their teachers.[43] The program requires 35 credit hours of requirements and electives.[44] Through a partnership agreement, these courses may also be used toward the Educational Leadership program at Fort Hays State University.[45][46]


McPherson College teams are known as the Bulldogs. The college is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), competing in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC). Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, soccer, tennis, and track & field; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field and volleyball.

Athletic team colors are red and white, with black being used as a complementary color in logos and uniforms.


The college's campus is located on the east side of the city of McPherson. There are five instructional buildings and two administration buildings. Miller Library serves the entire campus population and houses the college archives, academic support services and career services.[47] Students living on campus live in one of the seven residential halls. There are two male dormitories, one female dormitory, and one co-ed dormitory. In addition, there are two co-ed apartment style dormitories.[48] Hoffman Student Union houses the dining hall, bookstore, and mail center.[49] The Sports Center contains all of the coaches' offices and locker rooms.[50] Outdoor field sports are played at McPherson Stadium.[51] In the summer of 2012 the stadium was renovated and two large practice fields were added to the campus.[52][53]

Student Life

In 2011 there were 621 students enrolled in McPherson College. The population is 59.6% male and 40.4% female. Among the student body, 75% identify as white and 21.4% identify as minorities.[54] The majority of the students (90%) are considered traditional (meaning under 24 years old). Students from Kansas constitute 48%, out of state are 51%.[55] The 1% of international students come from six countries.[56]

The Student Government Association is led by a President and Vice President. There are representatives elected from each academic year and each of the residence halls.[57]

Clubs and Honor societies include:

Notable alumni and faculty

Further reading

Sources: Google Maps, The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Wikipedia, Yahoo! Answers

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