Michael Schneider, president of McPherson College, said the college had secured commitments for $250 million to secure a $500 million donation. The anonymous benefactor of the Kansas liberal arts college also pledged another $500 million to the endowment. (Kansas Reflector screen capture from McPherson College video)
TOPEKA — McPherson College secured endowment pledges to meet requirements of a $500 million challenge donation from an anonymous donor who committed another half a billion dollars to the small liberal arts college in Kansas.
The agreement with the benefactor allowed the large donation to be paid out over time or upon the donor’s death to give the college access to $1 billion. A majority of smaller matching gifts made to meet the challenge were estate commitments.
“Now, the work begins to build a bridge to our future endowment,” said Michael Schneider, the college’s president. “We need to carefully plan how the income from the endowment is deployed to reimagine and construct the campus of the future, build a much-needed rural health pipeline in Kansas, create a center for the future of automotive engineering and work to make college more affordable for all our students.”
“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,” he said.
Schneider affirmed the initial $500 million double-match had been secured during a meeting with about 200 faculty, staff and others. News of the second $500 million gift from the unnamed donor also was announced Friday in McPherson.
In November, the anonymous donor promised to deliver $2 for every $1 raised by McPherson College up to a maximum gift of $500 million. The college had to meet that mark by June 30. Under that scenario, the college’s endowment would grow by $750 million.
The supplemental commitment of $500 million would grow the endowment by at least $1.25 billion.
The McPherson College’s board of trustees voted to name the college’s endowment for the late John Ward and John Burkholder, where were graduates and faculty at the college. Ward graduated in 1950 and taught at McPherson College and University of Nebraska. Burkholder earned a degree in 1949 and taught biology for nearly 40 years at McPherson College.
The college’s agenda included expansion of the student debt project. It’s a partnership with local businesses to provide 25 cents for every dollar a student contributed to their education. The dramatic expansion of the college’s endowment would finance a building master plan.
In addition, administrators intend to create the Kansas Center for Rural and Community Health to provide practitioners with the latest technology and techniques. The college features a unique four-year program in antique automobile restoration. One objective would be to create a national center on engineering design and mobility.
McPherson College was founded in the 1880s and enrolls about 850 students.
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