Mercedes-Benz is known for innovation and the pursuit of excellence; it only makes sense to pair with a college committed to the same goals.

Mercedes-Benz USA recently agreed to provide three annual scholarships to McPherson College totaling $15,000 per year. The college is the premier choice for an education in automotive restoration; it’s the only one that offers a four-year degree in the major.


Mercedes-Benz is known for innovation and the pursuit of excellence; it only makes sense to pair with a college committed to the same goals.
Mercedes-Benz USA recently agreed to provide three annual scholarships to McPherson College totaling $15,000 per year. The college is the premier choice for an education in automotive restoration; it’s the only one that offers a four-year degree in the major.
Each year, one $5,000 scholarship will be awarded to each of three students working toward an automotive restoration degree. This year, the recipients are Rod Barlet, Elizabethton, Pa., senior; Kendall Critchfield, Hesston, Kan., sophomore; and Taylor Adams, Ashland, Va., sophomore.
Adams, whose focus at the college is in automotive history, said that it was a tremendous honor to be recognized by the leader in beautiful, quality cars.
“It’s the quintessential automobile,” he said. “That’s the start of it all. It’s what built it and what’s still there today. It’s outlived and outlasted.”
In addition to the scholarship, the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Irvine, Calif., will offer at least one internship to a qualified McPherson College automotive restoration student each year.
The Mercedes-Benz Classic Center, the first and only manufacturer-backed classic center of its kind in the Unites States, offers a full compliment of services including retail sales, restoration and genuine spare parts sales for Mercedes-Benz models aged 20 years and older. The internship will be expanded in length from just a summer to also include most of the spring semester as well. The Classic Center's technician team already includes three graduates of the McPherson College automotive restoration program, and all are former interns at the Classic Center in Irvine or in Germany.
As a child, Barlet used to take apart anything mechanical – starting with his bicycle at age six. Later, he recalled what a treat it was to ride in his grandfather’s 1974 Mercedes-Benz 240D. That early exposure has carried through his life and on to McPherson College. There professors encourage individual, in-depth research as opposed to spouting out easy answers.
Barlet said the new internship opportunity would take an automotive restoration student’s learning to the next level.
“Just like any other profession, your education never really stops,” he said.
Adams said the opportunity to have such a high-profile internship at the Classic Center would be a boon for any career.  
“It gets mechanics all giddy just to think about how phenomenal that shop would be to work in,” he said.
As part of the agreement, McPherson College also gains Michael Kunz, manager of Mercedes-Benz Classic Car Center, as a member of the college’s Automotive Restoration Advisory Board.
“It's very important to make sure there are opportunities for those students interested in pursuing a career in automobile restoration,” said Michael Kunz, manager of the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in California. “As the inventor of the automobile celebrating a 125-year anniversary, we are proud to support education of proper restoration technique so we can develop the future leaders of our industry.”
Critchfield said he was mechanically minded, but not a “car guy” growing up, so when he started his automotive restoration major, he asked a lot of questions and felt driven to succeed. Getting this scholarship felt like a dream, he said.
“You work hard all your life,” Critchfield said. “You know it’s going to pay off, but once it finally does, it’s a great feeling.”