Sunday, November 15, 2009
McPherson College has a new president. Michael Schneider, once a student there, is now the man in charge and one of the youngest college presidents in the country.
Schneider does not exactly fit the mold of the usual college president, but he is remaking that image to fit his style and his mission. Schneider says his return to McPherson felt like coming home.
McPherson College is Schneider's alma mater where he graduated with a communications degree. He left Kansas and then settled in Denver to run a printing company. Schneider obtained his MBA and deciding education was his future and came back to McPherson. He has now been installed as the 14th president of McPherson College.
Schneider runs his presidency as one that is not tied to an office nor does he want to be. His youth permits him mobility and his office seems to be where ever he is. He believes the best leaders can be found outside of the walls of their office.
Schneider says "I hope that I bring something a little bit different to a place that was open and wiling to accept something different. So here I am, " Schneider continues, "The goal is really a simple one for me. I want to hand you a diploma in four years that has more value than when you started here. Not only do we have to prepare students for one career but for multiple careers."
Schneider believes McPherson College can reinvent the idea of defining liberal arts and he says he will put the education McPherson College offers up against any fine arts college in the state. He says he is challenging the campus to reinvent the very definition of what liberal arts means.
On a tour of the campus Schneider points out the college automobile restoration shop as an example. Schneider says he believes it is a perfect example of the integral part entrepreneurship plays in the future of today's education.
The new president believes the size of the college is a benefit. He says McPherson College is small enough to operate like a business and just as the global economy has done "can turn on a dime".
Schneider says he is in a spot that he says is comfortable and a good fit for him. The college believes in internships for students and currently has relationships with over 500 businesses.
In the midst of a down economy the enrollment at McPherson College continues to grow and Michael Schneider will be there, back home, providing leadership for the future.