McPherson College Offering Webinar Series on Automotive Industry Evolution

Jun 15, 2020

McPherson College has announced the launch of a webinar series called “Wheels of Change: How the Car Automobile Shaped Our Lives.” This six-week summer series focuses on the people, innovations and the art that helped shape the automotive industry and will feature car-world insiders from around the country.

The first webinar will be held on June 25 at 12 p.m. CDT, with the topic, “Four Epic Road Trips that Upended the World.” Space is limited, so each week’s webinar will be on a first-come, first-serve basis.

“Wheels of Change will spotlight our college’s uniqueness as a leader in the auto industry while providing participants dynamic conversation with special guests,” said Amanda Gutierrez, vice president for automotive restoration at McPherson College. “Professor Yohn is well-known for his knowledgeable, engaging and fun instruction on the evolution of the automobile and its impact on our social and cultural development.”

Yohn, chair of McPherson College’s Department of History and Politics, will serve as host and instructor for the six webinars. For more than 20 years, Professor Yohn has taught courses on the social history of the automobile at McPherson College and has led student study trips to Europe and South America. His next teaching adventure is a “Cars and Castles” tour of Europe.

“Everyone knows that automobiles completely changed how we live life, but not too many people realize just how many areas of our lives were revolutionized by four wheels and an engine,” said Yohn. “And thanks to our alumni and McPherson’s extensive industry connections, we will have expert guests from all parts of the industry help me unpack it all.”

“Wheels of Change” will cover a wide variety of topics, including how the automobile liberated women, the creation of mega auto corporations and how the former General Motors executive Harley Earl revolutionized and democratized automotive designs. The full schedule is online at and below:

June 25 – Four Epic Road Trips that Upended the World: Bertha Benz, Ransom Olds, Horatio Nelson Jackson & Alice Ramsey. Guest: Kyle Smith, McPherson College alumni and associate editor at Hagerty

July 2 – Paving the Way for the Automobile: Roads, steam omni-busses, bicycles and the entrepreneurs behind them. Guest TBA

July 9 – Thar be Giants in Them Thar Hills! Henry Ford, Billy Durant, and the megacorporation. Guest: Bob Casey, retired curator of transportation, Henry Ford Museum

July 16 – The Road to Perdition: How the automobile liberated women and captivated teenagers. Guests: Abbey Paulsen – high school junior restoring (and driving) a Model T and Tabetha Hammer, McPherson College alumna and director of Greenwich Concours

July 23 – The Great War: Industrial pacifism, mobilization and mechanization. Guest: Casey Maxon, McPherson College alumni and historian at Historic Vehicle Association

July 30 – Art for the People: How Harley Earl and automotive styling democratized beauty. Guest: Donald Osborne, host of recurring segments of “Assess & Caress with Donald Osborne” and “Behind the Bowtie” on Jay Leno’s Garage

McPherson College’s automotive restoration program started in 1976 and offers students experience outside of the classroom at car events, with 85% of students participating in internships at museums, private collections and shops across the United States and Germany over the past five years. These institutions include Hagerty, Mercedes-Benz Classic Center, Rad Rides by Troy, and RM Sotheby’s, among others.

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