Founded in 1887, McPherson College is a private, residential, four-year, career-oriented liberal arts college. The college’s mission is to develop whole persons through scholarship, participation, and service. This mission leads the college to stress on-campus residency for traditional-age students as a means for encouraging participation and community involvement. The college offers the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in 19 academic majors and a Master of Education degree in transformative education. McPherson is a member of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference, competing in seven intercollegiate sports for men and seven intercollegiate sports for women.

Although full-time enrollment has historically averaged little more than 400 students, in recent years, it has hovered at or above 600. The teaching faculty includes 43 full-time professors, more than three-quarters of whom hold terminal degrees. A 14:1 student-faculty ratio offers a personalized education tailored to students’ needs. Year in and year out, McPherson College is at or near the top among private Kansas colleges in the diversity of its student body. With 30 percent students of color, 40 percent females, and more than 50 percent of students from out-of-state, McPherson is a vibrant community of learners comprised of rural and urban students and a wide variety of ethnic and faith backgrounds.

McPherson has a reputation for integrating excellent academic programs with career-preparation. The accrediting team that came to campus in December 2014 and extended the college’s accreditation through 2024, had special praise for the college’s senior capstone curriculum. They wrote: “The Team was very impressed with the Capstone program at McPherson and even more impressed with the diversity of programs and the number of students participating.… The Capstone experience utilized by all programs is excellent.” Ninety percent of McPherson College graduates who apply are accepted into graduate and professional schools. The accreditation team was similarly impressed with McPherson’s experiential learning curriculum: “Though not as promoted as the Capstone experience,” the team wrote, “the internship program of McPherson is impressive.” In 2013-14, 84 percent of graduating seniors had completed at least one internship, and 59 percent of the same graduating class had secured jobs before commencement (compared to a national average of 18 percent).

McPherson College is affiliated with the Church of the Brethren but is independent of the denomination and welcomes faculty and students of all faiths. The college values its roots in the church and nurtures them, striving as an institution to model the Brethren values of ethical behavior, non-violence and peace, simple living, and the expression of faith through service. In 2013-14, 98 percent of McPherson College students participated in community service, averaging more than 35 hours of service per student.