Councils & Networks

Nat Danas Scholarship Supports McPherson College Student

By SEMA Editors

The Nat Danas Scholarship, an endowment within the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund that provides tuition assistance to college students pursuing a career in restoration, restyling/customization or hot rods, has been awarded to Andrew Riley, a student at McPherson College in McPherson, Kansas.  

The scholarship, established in 1987, honors Nat Danas' legacy as the founder and publisher of "Auto Trim & Restyling Newsmagazine, and pays tribute to his profound impact as a visionary leader, mentor and educator. Each year, one recipient is selected to receive the prestigious honor by the Nat Danas Scholarship Committee. 

"All the applicants were top-notch and showed great potential," noted a SEMA Scholarship committee spokesperson. "But Andrew's background, enthusiasm and passion for automotive restoration truly spoke to us and to the intent of the Danas Scholarship to support students who wish to pursue a career in restyling (customization), restoration or hot rods."


Nat Danas, then celebrating his 65th birthday, was honored by the restyling and trim industry during the 1987 SEMA Show. The fundraising event helped to establish a scholarship in his name.

Since its establishment in 1984, the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund has issued more than $3 million to students and recent graduates pursuing careers in the automotive aftermarket--including $235,000 awarded to 104 recipients in 2023. 

Additional students who received special designations include: 

Recipient (Institution Name, Major, Designation)

  • Aaron Bodenham (Iowa State University, Mechanical Engineering, Ray Flugger Mechanical Engineer Scholarship) 
  • Alexander Riddle (Pennsylvania College of Technology, Automotive Technology, Hot Rod Industry Alliance Scholarship) 
  • Coen Fricke (Colorado School of Mines, Mechanical Engineering, Emerging Trends & Technology Network Scholarship) 
  • Connor Thompson (Elizabethtown Community and Technical College, Diesel Mechanic, Mike Kunzman Scholarship) 
  • Dalton Weiser (California State University-Chico, Mechanical Engineering, Wheel & Tire Council Scholarship) 
  • Edwin Buiter (McPherson College, Automotive Technology, Automotive Restoration Market Organization Scholarship) 
  • Gabe Janitch (University of Northwestern Ohio, Automotive Aftermarket, Truck & Off-Road Alliance Scholarship) 
  • Grace-Anne Stine (Missouri University of Science and Technology, Mechanical Engineering, Leo Kagan Scholarship) 
  • Guillermo Garcia (School of Automotive Machinists & Technology, Automotive, Steve Woomer Scholarship) 
  • Hunter Bailey (University of Northwestern Ohio, Automotive Technology/High Performance Motorsports, Harlan Felder Scholarship) 
  • Kolby Tran (University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Electrical Engineering, Jim A. Borre Scholarship)
  • Kyle Janssen (University of Wisconsin-Madison, Marketing, Future Leaders Network Scholarship) 
  • Lantz Riggio (University of Northwestern Ohio, Automotive Aftermarket, Joe Hrudka Scholarship) 
  • Lawson Cheek (University of Mississippi, Business, Trudy Thompson Scholarship) 
  • Marco Ramirez (Brigham Young University-Idaho, Automotive Engineering & Tech., Melvin Burton Scholarship) 
  • Maximilian Redfearn (University of St. Thomas, Mechanical Engineering, Professional Restylers Organization Scholarship) 
  • Riley Schlick-Trask (Connecticut College, Engineering Mechanics, SEMA Businesswomen's Network Scholarship) 
  • Sabra Laschanzky (Ozarks Technical Community College, Automation Technology, Wally Parks Scholarship)