A move indoors did not dampen the spirits of the 111th Commencement of Tabor College. The Richert Auditorium in the Shari Flaming Center for the Arts was home for this year’s ceremonies, honoring 123 undergraduate and master’s students.
Following an invocation from Pastor Roosevelt DeShazer, President Jules Glanzer greeted the audience and graduates before awarding the Fran Jabara Leadership Awards.
The award is given to two individuals from each graduating class and they have their named engraved on a campus plaque and receive a $1,000 gift.
The award recipients, nominated by faculty and staff, were Alyssa Matney (B.A., Biomedical Science + Psychology, Magna Cum Laude, Hutchinson, Kan.) and Wyatt Bell (B.A., Biomedical Science + Psychology, Summa Cum Laude, Presidential Leadership Scholar, Cimarron, Kan.).
“It’s time to thank the God who has been with you [the graduates] throughout this journey.”
President Jules Glanzer
“They have not only demonstrated their capacity for future leadership, but they’ve demonstrated their leadership for students of Tabor College,” Glanzer added.
Parker Folks (B.A., Health/PE + Secondary Education, Magna Cum Laude, Clay Center, Kan.) gave the undergraduate address and spoke of his experience of seeing the Lord work in his life through his time with Share, Prayer & Dare. SP&D serves as the student-led worship service that is held weekly on campus.
“I needed more and I couldn’t rely on myself,” Folks said. “I needed to seek someone who had more power than I did. On my 23rd birthday, I went to (SP&D), and it was the first time I had been in my four years. I actually cried because of what was going on. The music and testimonies hit me personally, and from that day forth, I needed it to be a part of my life more than it was at that time. Even though it took me so long to see that I needed it, I’m happy it happened before I was going to leave Tabor.”
The Tabor College Concert Choir followed with a performance of “Celebrate” by Keith Hampton. The performance was highlighted by solos from Betsy George (SO, Omaha, Neb.) and Jessica Klein (FR, Bel Aire, Kan.).
Kassandra Drewitz (M.S., Nursing, High Honors, Rapid City, S.D.) spoke on behalf of the Graduate & Online students. She talked of her calling to nursing and how it influences her interactions in the profession.
“Our job, calling and purpose is to create a connection with those we serve despite the industry,” she said. “Ministry, business and nursing graduates…, if we can’t connect with someone, we won’t have the opportunity to share the Gospel. As a follower of Christ, we’re not meant to simply carry the message, but to show the love of God with those around us by connecting with them.”
Anna Glanzer (B.A., Biology, Hillsboro, Kan.) read three passages/verses, including Jeremiah 29:11, John 10:10 and James 1:2-4 (NIV).
The keynote speaker of this year’s Commencement was 1984 graduate Gary Speese. Now serving in education after an award-winning career in business and real estate, Speese spoke of the pillars of a Godly life, abundant life and the foundation of interacting with people in this world. His speech was titled, “Beginning your Journey to the Abundant Life.”
The graduates were comprised of 31 master’s degrees and 92 with bachelor’s and/or associate’s
degrees including the following: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Bachelor of Social Work and Associate of Arts.
Master’s degrees included the following: Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Entrepreneurship and Innovation (MEI) and Master of Science in Nursing (MSN).
Hooding ceremonies were conducted by the director of each program, Mark Posson, director of nontraditional & business programs, assistant professor of business; Dr. Rick Bartlett, director of theological education & associate professor of ministry; and MSN: Dr. Tammy Stefek, director of nursing programs & associate professor of nursing.
The presentation of the honor cords was conducted by Dr. Chris Dick, professor of English and faculty chair. President Glanzer presented diplomas and Rod Hamm, director of alumni relations, provided each graduate with a Bible.
Madison Johnson (B.A., Environmental Biology, Cum Laude, Littleton, Colo.), senior class president, provided the final speech on behalf of her classmates.
“A Tabor degree is different,” Johnson said. “It is more than just a piece of paper. It is a community and family that we are going to be able to hold on to years after we graduate. We all have come so far since freshman year, we have created so many memories together that are going to be remembered for a lifetime. Even those of you who have transferred to Tabor, we have been able to create so many memories through the time we have spent together.”
Following a performance of “Redeemed of God”, written by Dr. Clarence Hiebert and Jonah Kliewer, Assistant Professor of Psychology Jim Paulus closed the morning with a benediction.
To see the 2021 Graduate Spotlight and recipients of each degree, click HERE.