Denise McCluggage remembered with a new scholarship at McPherson College
Denise McCluggage was many things: a racer who went against the men of her day - and often won; a writer whose experience allowed her to describe racing with a voice no other writers could emulate; a gifted photographer; and a strong-willed woman who wasn’t afraid to turn a wrench on her own. As such she is an inspiration to a new generation of women who want to follow in the footsteps she so boldly trod.
Denise wrote for Autoweek since its founding in 1958 as Competition Press and continued until her passing in 2015. She was a longtime resident of Santa Fe, New Mexico and was integral to that town’s Santa Fe Concorso, a concours that ran from 2010 to 2016 and donated more than $150,000 to various charities. One of those charities was McPherson College in McPherson, Kansas. It has long been an institution loved and appreciated by car collectors the world over for its unique auto restoration major, which has been available since 1976. Only a handful of colleges offer such a degree and McPherson is one of, if not the very best. So when the Santa Fe Concorso chose McPherson as one of its charities, the college had to decide what to do with the money.
That’s where auto restoration major Abigayle Morgan came in.
“While researching a topic for my senior capstone project, I discovered a need for scholarships geared specifically toward women, especially those in the arts and restoration programs,” Morgan said. “However, thanks to the interest of the late Denise McCluggage and an initial contribution by the Santa Fe Concorso, McPherson College has the opportunity to begin a scholarship that will support women studying in areas that reflect her passions.”
So thanks to the Santa Fe Concorso, McPherson College, and Abigayle Morgan, the Denise McCluggage scholarship was created.
At this year’s Amelia Island Concours the first scholarship was awarded to McPherson senior Emma Critz.
“I’m honored to have been selected for the scholarship,” Critz said. “Denise McCluggage was such an interesting person and I was so surprised when my name was announced as the recipient. It is definitely the highlight of my time at McPherson College.”
Critz was selected for the inaugural scholarship out of the automotive restoration program; however, the scholarship will be available to all women at McPherson College with interests similar to McCluggage’s such as journalism, art, and photography.
“Being in a room full of longtime friends and competitors of Denise McCluggage was an awesome experience,” she said. “I was thrilled with the amount of support people expressed to me for the scholarship.”
Morgan is leading a fundraising campaign to guarantee that funds will be available to support women at McPherson College through the McCluggage Scholarship. For more information about the scholarship, please go to www.mcpherson.edu/denise-mccluggage.