A Thriving Tabor

God’s hands at work through the presidency of Dr. Jules Glanzer

“Tabor is not the best college in the world, but for the world.”

The words spoken by Dr. Jules Glanzer at his inaugural President’s Dinner on Feb. 15, 2008, served as a pillar throughout his tenure as Tabor president. The phrase was spoken out of a yearning to see the world influenced by its graduates.

Almost 14 years later, that vision has come to fruition.

God has poured his blessings over the school, including over $11 million in growth in Tabor’s endowment ($16 million in 2021) and a record 237 freshmen at the start of the 2020-21 school year. That enrollment also included a noteworthy 92 percent retention rate between the previous two semesters.

The end of Glanzer’s tenure also coincides with one full year of the Tabor Promise and Advantage. After being approved in October 2019 by the board of directors, the college implemented the new model to help reinforce itself for a strong and sustainable future.

“It was a collaborative, God-inspired moment that came together at the same time,” Glanzer said.

At its core, the Tabor Promise strengthens the college’s mission statement. The promise is 1) Be encouraged to place Christ at the center of all you do; 2) Be asked to pursue excellence in academics, athletics and the arts; 3) Be prepared for the real world; and 4) Be made aware of your place in God’s kingdom.

Rusty Allen, Tabor’s vice president of operations, said it solidifies how any student, faculty or staff member should view their position.

“We bring everything under the umbrella of Jesus (rather than vice versa),” Allen said. “That’s our vision and that’s who we want to become.”

The Tabor Advantage has offered dynamic changes to the college’s business plans, opening doors to new course loads and academic outlines that it hadn’t seen previously. It starts with 1) Understanding your career as a calling; 2) Being able to obtain a double major in four years; 3) Having the opportunity to complete a degree in three years; 4) Learning and practicing leadership; and 5) paying an all-inclusive price.

Executive Vice President of Academics and Compliance Frank Johnson said Glanzer empowered the college’s leadership team to build a strong mission moving forward.

“We reinvented ourselves, but as we worked on these things Jules has his fingerprints all over it,” Johnson said. “The majesty of it is that you can’t find them, and it’s the paramount of good leadership. He has equipped us to succeed.”

Vice President of Business and Finance Mike James said that financially Tabor can now stand out from the pack in graduating students in less than four years. By doing so, it can also open the door to additional schooling if a student chooses to pursue graduate work.

By paying for tuition, room, board, fees, accident insurance and laundry within one price, it eliminates tuition overload and credit card fees as well as a host of typical college add-ons.

“(The Promise and Advantage) is an articulation of what has made Tabor special,” James said.

Glanzer said that scholarship, facility and general endowment funds have increased across the board. Gifts have increased, and he specifically noted that Tabor has been the beneficiary of estate gifts.

The president and James both expressed their thanks for these gifts and the estate planners and financial advisers who have suggested putting Tabor as a recipient of their funds.

“All of these gifts have been meaningful,” James said. “We have been written into quite a few estates, but haven’t seen the full fruits of that yet.”

Fundraising has been led by Ron Braun, vice president of philanthropy and the advancement team of Rod Hamm, director of alumni and donor relations; Steve Warkentin, director of development; and Kim Wiens, major gift officer.

Tabor has strengthened majors that span deeper than Glanzer’s tenure and also added new programs to the college’s portfolio. Those include: criminal justice, social work, entrepreneurship, sports information, adaptive ministry and musical theater. The college’s roots in social work, psychology, pre-med and business administration have also increased under Glanzer’s leadership.

Athletically, the Bluejays have won a combined 27 conference championships since February 2008. That includes baseball, football, softball, women’s tennis, volleyball, and men’s and women’s basketball.

Through the 13-plus years that Glanzer has served as president, the mission of preparing people for a life of learning, work, and service for Christ and His kingdom has not changed. Simply, God’s hand has been at work on campus, helping illustrate what has happened and what is still to come.

Take a walking tour with us, celebrating the work God has done on the Tabor College campus.

Shari Flaming Welcome Center

Shari Flaming Welcome Center
The August 2020 groundbreaking of the Shari Flaming Welcome Center

The front door to Tabor College has also never been stronger.

The addition of the Shari Flaming Welcome Center has not only served as a key cog in the college’s ability to welcome incoming guests and students, but it is representative of how Tabor has continued to stand on the forefront of excellence and hospitality for anyone who steps on campus.

The new welcome center, which sits at 8,400 square feet and is two stories tall, has centralized operations for a larger chunk of campus. It has given the admissions, recruitment and financial aid office one space to collaborate and bolster Tabor’s pitch to prospective students. It also brought a majority of the executive team and college administration under one roof. That included bringing advancement and the president’s office together.

“Admissions has their work space as well as a really nice room where they have a view of campus and can run through the details of what it means to come to Tabor College,” Glanzer said.

Shari Flaming Welcome Center
Shari Flaming Welcome Center

When prospective students arrive on campus, reserved parking spots greet them before entering the facility.

“The ability to invite visitors into a space that demonstrates excellence and hospitality will significantly improve the first impression,” Allen said. “We thank God for moving Chuck Flaming to be generous toward Tabor College and are excited for the opportunity to continue to steward well all God entrusts to us.”

The groundbreaking of the Shari Flaming Welcome Center, click HERE.

Library and opening of the Shari Flaming Education Commons

Shari Flaming Education Commons
Work continues on the second floor of the Tabor College library. It’ll be the new home of the education department.

The second floor of the library is the future home of the Tabor education department.

The Shari Flaming Education Commons will feature four classrooms, including rooms that are specifically designated for elementary and secondary education majors. There will also be two general education classrooms that will be multipurpose. A diverse curriculum library will also equip Tabor students as they progress through the program. Five different offices will allow the education staff to work out of one location.

“The future of Tabor rests in signature academic programs and education is one where we have a great reputation,” Glanzer said.

Lisa Moore, department chair and an assistant professor in education, said that the technology will also allow students to thrive in these spaces. These include Flex Interactive Monitors.

“It’s a large screen that you can access from your cell phone or laptops,” Moore said. “Students can use their devices and use the technology as easy as we can. We can use any type of writing device or even our finger. It’s going to be pretty awesome.”

With financial support and the leadership of Glanzer and the executive team, this new space will highlight the growth of the college’s education department.

“We believe it is going to increase enrollment through recruiting and retention,” Allen said. “More importantly, the new space will strengthen our mission of preparing teachers to partner with Jesus in Kingdom work.”

Chuck Flaming has served as a major donor for the welcome center, arts center and now the education commons. All three are named in honor of his late wife, Shari.

Centennial Plaza

Tabor College Centennial Plaza
The Centennial Plaza, including the ‘Called to Serve’ sculpture, opened in October 2008.

The sculpture was launched five months after Glanzer’s inauguration in October 2008. Created by Tabor alumna Sandra Storm, the monument was constructed with the mission of “Called to Serve.” The celebration fell during the Centennial Homecoming, bringing former presidents Vernon Janzen, Dr. LeVon Balzer, Dr. David H. Brandt, and Larry Nikkel back together. A big thank you to President Emeritus Nikkel for his leadership in starting the project.

“The Centennial Plaza is in a perfect location, where everyone can see and experience the mission of Tabor College,” Glanzer said during the 2008 celebration. “’The ‘Called to Serve’ sculpture is inspiring, contemplative, moving and one cannot help but be touched by its message.”

Tabor College Centennial Plaza
‘Called to Serve’ sculpture, created by Tabor alumna Sandra Storm.

The sculpture features the name of each president as well as brick pavers that include names from past and present Tabor families via donation.

Tabor Online/Graduate Studies

Tabor College Online Graduate Studies
Online/Graduate studies officially opened its primary office in Hillsboro in September 2019.

Tabor’s move to Hillsboro for its graduate studies commenced in September 2019. It consolidated Tabor’s campus to one location, giving a home to its online directors, faculty and staff. This department is housed at the former home of the MB Foundation at South Lincoln and C streets.

The leadership of Glanzer and Johnson has propelled nine different graduate and online programs.

Dr. Rick Bartlett, who serves as director of theological education and associate professor of ministry, is also the associate dean of graduate and online studies.

The opening of the Tabor College School of Graduate Studies in September 2019, click HERE.

Shari Flaming Center for the Arts

Shari Flaming Center for the Arts
Shari Flaming Center for the Arts

The arts of Tabor College were revolutionized with the presence of the Shari Flaming Center for the Arts. The building honors the past and present of Tabor performing arts as well as art and design.

Names of the college’s past and present are proudly displayed with the first coming before entering the facility. The Kliewer Plaza opens to three spaces, including the Wohlgemuth Music Education Center (dedicated in 1990), Franz Family Heritage Lobby and Regier Atrium. The Richert Auditorium sits inside the front doors, but is surrounded by the Ebel Gallery, Prieb Harder Black Box Theater, Vogel Choral Rehearsal Room and Lonn Richards Band Practice Room.

It recently hosted the 111th Commencement of Tabor College in front of a full audience. Glanzer said he sends pictures to donors from events, reminding them their gifts made the facility possible.

“Seeing it completely full and seeing students walk across the stage, there was a real sense of the hard work that we put into this facility over six years,” Glanzer said. “When I see a chapel, students giving their lives to Christ or to make decisions to be more committed to him, there’s always a feeling that it was worth it.”

Since it was dedicated in December 2017, Glanzer said the musicians and artists routinely compliment the magnitude of the facility and how it stands out in what it can offer.

It has also become the home of all Tabor livestreaming, a dynamic studio that has allowed the college to produce broadcasts for campus events.

It was funded by the Signature Campaign, and Allen said it is appropriately named as the Shari Flaming Center for the Arts. It gives Tabor a signature facility to call its own for all within its arts departments and the surrounding community.

“We wanted a signature space,” Allen said. “… Everybody is attracted to it, and there is something for everyone.”

Force Reduction Simulator in Criminal Justice

Tabor College Criminal Justice
Chris Williams, assistant professor of criminal justice, leads students with the Force Reduction Simulator.

The 2020-21 academic year brought the state’s first force reduction simulator to the Tabor campus.

The criminology computer programming allows Christopher Williams, assistant professor of criminal justice, to interact with students through different real-life situations. Based on answers given by students, Williams will tell the simulation to respond in a certain way.

“It puts them in a real-life situation that they can de-escalate,” he said. “De-escalation is key. They have to be able to do that to help others and themselves.”

Students within this program are given the opportunity to understand criminal justice through the lens of their Christian faith. They also gain an understanding of the dynamic and frequently reactive relationship between the modern justice system, greater society, and the individual.

Cafeteria/gymnasium upgrades

Tabor College Courtside Grill
The brand-new Courtside Grill debuted inside the Student Center in October 2018.

The experience of the Student Center, specifically the concession and gym area, took on a much different look in October 2018. The renovation of the entrance, which included moving the concession area west inside the facility, opened up a much larger gathering space for Tabor constituents and visiting fans.

Brand-new bleachers will also be available in the Tabor gymnasium at the start of the 2021-22 season. A Hall of Fame display (on the south wall of the entrance) and a new, improved trophy case (east wall) make for a grand entrance to athletic and campus events.

Allen specifically credited the relationship that the college has forged with Pioneer College Catering, who helped fund the project. He also noted the relationships that were built with the coaches, who pushed for the renovations to be done.

Joel H. Wiens Stadium and Pendery Athletic Center

Joel H. Wiens Stadium
It has been 12 years since Joel H. Wiens Stadium officially opened on the Tabor College campus.

The Tabor and USD 410 (Hillsboro-Durham-Lehigh) communities were the beneficiaries of a massive stadium overhaul. Homecoming 2009 served as the official opening of Joel H. Wiens Stadium, including an address from the facility namesake. The opening of the 3,000-seat stadium included the first artificial football and soccer turf for both entities. It also led to a brand-new synthetic track, throwing area for track and field events, home bleachers, press box, and restroom and concession facilities. The $1 million gift, provided by Cheyenne, Wyo., businessman Joel H. Wiens, was the largest gift in Tabor history at that time. A big thank you to President Emeritus Larry Nikkel for his leadership at the start of this project.

One year into Glanzer’s presidency, the college opened the brand-new Pendery Athletic Center that overlooks the stadium. The offices, which house coaches for baseball, football, softball as well as athletic administration, have become a focal point in the complex. Sitting on the south end of the Campus Recreation Center, the facility also features a classroom as well as the Bluejay and Hall of Fame Suites. Both suites offer a view that overlook the field.

Indoor Tennis Center/Penner Baseball Clubhouse/Harms Hall

Indoor Tennis Center at Tabor College
Tabor coach Luke Rencher speaks at the ribbon cutting for the brad new Indoor Tennis Center.

Glanzer said both the Indoor Tennis Center and Penner Baseball Clubhouse serve as two examples of Tabor’s generous supporters. They came as a result of families seeing a need and wanting to be a part of putting the plan into action.

“As we were working on projects, we’d have donors who would say, ‘I’d like to see something different,’” he said. “That’s how Harms Hall, the Penner Clubhouse, Indoor Tennis Center and Shari Flaming Welcome Center came to be.”

The Penner Baseball Clubhouse, which has been in operation for five years, has added significant upgrades to the field on the south side of campus. It includes indoor batting cages and locker rooms as well as the Alan and Jennifer Vogts Upper Deck and the Marvin and Marilyn Ratzlaff dugout. The indoor space offers a fantastic view from the first-base line, houses livestream productions and also serves as a study space for athletes.

At the announcement of the tennis facility, coach Luke Rencher said the space is rare and can be a major tool to fight off weather interruptions.

“Having this facility will have a far-reaching effect on our recruiting, retention, and overall enrollment,” Allen said. “That includes a positive impact on our other sports who have to share the CRC for training during the winter months.”

Thank you for reading a story from our 2021 summer edition of the Tabor College Connection. To see more from this issue + others, click HERE.