May 25, 2024

Kansas college with auto restoration program receives $500 million gift

3 min read

I’ve seen no shortage of headlines about young people not being interested in cars, and they’ve always been a little confusing to me. Besides my own obsession with cars, I’ve met many like-minded young (or at this point young-ish) people in my time at McPherson College. The small liberal arts school, while offering all varieties of degrees, just so happens to have a four-year degree in automotive restoration. Plenty of students have gone through there eager to learn about and work on cars. And that college is about to get a monumental boost thanks to a $500 million gift.

The gift is anonymous, but generous in the extreme for a little college in the middle of Kansas. It’s also a matching gift up to that point. So the goal is for McPherson to raise another $250 million to get the full match. Up to this point, $130 million has been secured toward that goal, and the end date June 30, 2023.

The money will go to the college endowment and will support a wide array of projects, not just for the auto restoration program. Projects in the works that will benefit from the gift include new building projects such as a new athletic center and student community areas, as well as the college’s student debt relief program. For the restoration program specifically, money from this gift will go to new climate-controlled vehicle storage facilities and plenty of new workshop equipment.

McPherson College

Also, if you’ve not heard about McPherson before, here are some more details about the auto restoration program (which I assume is the part you’re most interested in if you’re reading Autoblog):

The program offers four-year bachelor’s degrees, and they’re not just about working on cars. Having gone through the program, I can confirm that you’ll also be taking general education courses as with any other major. That way everyone is a bit more well-rounded. But there are also plenty of technical courses that are comprehensive: paint, sheetmetal, upholstery, engines, chassis and woodworking are all part of the program. Interesting cars are on hand, such as a recently donated Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona and a Mercedes-Benz 300 S that’s being restored to show at Pebble Beach next year.

No experience is required to enter the program, just the passion to work with cars and the willingness to learn.

Multiple tracks are available depending on your interest. I followed the communication track, so I traded some of the more advanced technical courses for communication-related ones such as multimedia storytelling, HTML design and more. There’s the straight technology track that’s mainly about working on cars directly. A management track has courses about running a business and setting up one’s own shop. And then there are the history and design tracks that are fairly self-explanatory.

And if you’re not in a position to dedicate four years to schooling, McPherson also has weeklong summer courses for people who want to brush up on skills or learn new ones.

You can get more details on the degree programs and summer courses here.

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