With a crowd of campus community members and industry partners looking on, McPherson College dedicated the Paul Russell and Company Center for Automotive Research on May 6, 2022.
The research center, made possible through a generous gift from Richard and Melanie Lundquist, LHD, encompasses the entire south wing of Miller Library’s upper floor in a newly remodeled area. The new space is named for Paul Russell and Company, the renowned classic car restoration company with top awards from the world’s most prestigious concours events including Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance and Ville d’Este. Paul Russell has been a part of the McPherson College Auto Restoration National Advisory Board for 20 years and is currently chair of the board. Throughout his time on the board, he has hired numerous interns and staff from McPherson College.
“I hope the students will take opportunities to find out what is in this collection, to encourage ‘time travel’ and that it becomes a place to browse and discover even when you are not required to be there,” Paul Russell said about the new library. “Automotive history is interwoven with our human history and reflects and has influenced every aspect of the twentieth-century life. Its study only enhances the hands-on aspect of restoration work by bringing understanding to life and times of the people who designed and built the cars when new.”
The automotive restoration collection contains approximately 25,000 materials including sales brochures from almost 100 different manufacturers dating from 1908 to the present and original Duesenberg blueprints. Other types of materials held in this collection include classic auto repair manuals, periodicals, and books on a variety of automotive subjects. The new space allows considerably more room for student research within the library. Resources in the open section are available for check out from the library while items in the special collection section remain in the library with access granted by library staff.
“At any given time, you can find students from across college disciplines making use of the renovated space,” Kristie Sojka, library director, said. “It is brighter, allowing materials to be more accessible and easier to find, and the new furniture provides a variety of comfortable ways for users to spend time researching. The space helps the library move forward in achieving our goal of creating a welcoming atmosphere while offering both academic and social spaces where students, faculty, and staff are able to connect with information and each other.”
The dedication helped kick off the annual McPherson College Motoring Weekend on May 6-7, a culmination of the academic year when students, alumni, and industry partners from across the country gather to celebrate the automobile. Other activities included the annual CARS Club Car Show, a student-run car event held on the campus grounds, and a Cruise-In held on Main Street in McPherson.
“We are thrilled to be celebrating the dedication of this facility on our campus,” Amanda Gutierrez, vice president for automotive restoration, said. “We are grateful to Melanie and Richard for choosing to honor Paul Russell and Company in a way that so directly impacts our students and faculty during the learning process.”