McPherson College has announced a gift of $1 million from Richard and Melanie Lundquist, noted California philanthropists. The gift recognizes the work of renowned car restorer, Paul Russell and Company, and was announced at a private event hosted by McPherson College at the Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance. Russell serves as president of the college’s national advisory board for automotive restoration.
“We are committed to McPherson’s automotive restoration program, particularly since it is the only four-year program like it in the country,” Melanie Lundquist said. “The college strives to provide the best student experiences. We really enjoy the collaborative partnership we have developed with the college.”
Paul Russell and Company restored a 1938 Talbot-Lago T150-C SS Figoni and Falaschi Teardrop Cabriolet owned by the Lundquists that took top honors in Most Elegant Convertible class and was among four contenders for the Best of Show at this year’s Pebble Beach Concours.
“Having just gone through a concours-quality restoration project, the Lundquists appreciate the value of craftsmanship and understand the importance of educating the next generation of craftsmen,” Amanda Gutierrez, vice president for automotive restoration at McPherson College. “We are grateful that they have recognized McPherson College as an institution worthy of their support.”
Chris Hammond, a McPherson College graduate, was crew chief on the project, and Paul Russell and Company currently employ three McPherson College graduates. Russell is a champion of educating the next generation of craftsmen and has been a long-time supporter of the McPherson College program.
“McPherson College is honored to be recognized with this gift from Richard and Melanie,” President Michael Schneider said. “This gift is evidence that the quality of education provided at McPherson College is valued. Our entire campus works hard providing outstanding educational opportunities and career experiences. This is a signal to the industry that we are committed to excellence and it takes people like the Lundquists stepping up to help us drive the future of this industry.”
The McPherson College Automotive Restoration program began in 1976 with funding from local entrepreneur, Gaines “Smokey” Billue, and has evolved into a nationally recognized and award-winning leader in restoration education, offering the only four-year bachelor’s degree for restoration technology in the country. The program offers student experience outside of the classroom at some of the most prestigious car events in the United States, like Pebble Beach. The college also has a growing alumni base who work in all facets of the car collecting world including Hagerty, Mercedes-Benz Classic Center, Historic Vehicle Association, RM Sotheby’s, in their own shops, and private collections.