McPHERSON—McPherson College has announced a $1 million matching gift challenge from Florida philanthropist and automotive enthusiast, Dano Davis. The gift will support business curriculum development, student experiences, and scholarships for students enrolled in the only bachelor’s degree in historic automotive restoration in the country.


Davis hopes his gift will motivate others to support McPherson College’s Automotive Restoration program. Any gift designated to the restoration program – for lab and classroom support, scholarships, the tool fund, endowment – will qualify for the match.


"I became acquainted with the college through its students who visited the Brumos Collection on a college-sponsored spring break trip in 2018. I was so impressed that I hired one of the students to work for me," Davis said.


The following year Davis attended the student-led car show on the college campus, bringing two cars from the Brumos Collection.


"Visiting campus and seeing the commitment of the faculty, staff, and students was inspiring. I knew I wanted to do something to help support not only the technical aspect of their automotive education but also the business side of it," Davis said.


Davis was principal owner of Brumos Motorcars, a successful dealership group, and Brumos Racing, which fielded a team for many years with drivers such as Hurley Haywood, who is tied with five wins as the most successful driver at the 24 Hours of Daytona. Davis’ family founded the well-known grocery store chain, Winn-Dixie. The chain grew to 1400 stores in 13 states and $14 billion in sales. They sold the company in 2011.


In January of this year, Davis opened The Brumos Collection, a collection in Jacksonville, Florida that focuses on the development of the automobile and the Brumos Porsche racing legacy. The museum is housed in a building that was created to resemble the Ford assembly plant that once operated in Jacksonville.


"As a successful businessman and entrepreneur, Mr. Davis recognizes the importance of a well-rounded education in preparing students not just for a first job but for a long career," said Amanda Gutierrez, vice president for automotive restoration at McPherson College. "His investment in our students expands academic opportunities in a way that makes for a lifetime impact in the collector car world."


Davis’s $1 million commitment will support developing business workshops that enhance the curriculum in the restoration major and scholarships to students in the restoration management track. The gift allows the program to explore other creative ways for students to experience multiple facets of the collector car world by working with industry professionals to share their knowledge.


The McPherson College Automotive Restoration program began in 1976 with funding from local entrepreneur, Gaines "Smokey" Billue. The program has evolved into a nationally recognized and award-winning leader in restoration education. With the only four-year bachelor’s degree for restoration technology in the country, the college attracts students who are passionate about cars. The growing alumni base works in all facets of the car collecting world for companies including Hagerty, Mercedes-Benz Classic Center, Historic Vehicle Association, RM Sotheby’s, in their own shops, and private collections.