Celebrating the 114th Commencement of Tabor College

Tabor College Commencement ceremony

Tabor College held two Commencement exercises for the second time in the last three years. 

 On Saturday, May 4, students of the Class of 2024, including 130 undergraduates and 58 from Graduate & Online, were honored in separate ceremonies.  

The day helped commemorate record growth in graduate programs, hitting 100 students for the first time in the 2024 spring semester. It was also the largest undergraduate class since 125 students received their diplomas in spring 2020. Ten countries and 28 states were represented in total.

Nearly 50 percent of Tabor’s graduates finished with academic honors, including 24 students who graduated Summa Cum Laude (3.85-4.00 GPA), 19 at Magna Cum Laude (3.70-3.84), and 20 at Cum Laude (3.50-3.69).

Five degrees were conferred among the 188 graduates. The M.B.A. is represented as one degree with multiple concentrations.

Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Social Work
Associate of Arts
Master of Business Administration- Leadership
Master of Business Administration- Global Leadership
Master of Business Administration- Sports Management & Leadership
Master of Education in Neuroscience & Trauma

David Faber, Ph.D., professor of philosophy and religious studies, gave the keynote address at the morning exercise. Celebrating his 40th year on campus, Faber challenged students to “be peculiar,” understanding how their time at Tabor can help them stand out and build upon the foundation built as students.  

“May you be peculiar people, whose faith is personal but not private, and political but not partisan,” Faber said. “Be peacemakers and not power-grabbers.”               

Grant Papenhagen (SR, Firth, Neb.), class president, provided the graduating class response in the morning exercise. The Class of 2020 faced no lack of obstacles, having finished high school and starting college amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When we put our faith in God and trust in our abilities, we can be the best versions of ourselves,” Papenhagen said. “As I reflect on my time at Tabor, I reflect on times I was able to see myself grow in my faith, academics, and sport.”

The Tabor Concert Choir performed in the morning, singing “My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord,” arranged by Moses Hogan.

Jerin Kliewer (g’09) spoke as a member of the graduating class for Graduate & Online students. Earning his M.B.A., he emphasized the foundation of spiritual leadership imparted by professors and what they want to carry forward.

“As I went through the program, learning more about my skills, motivations, and what kind of leader I want to become, I learned to lead as Jesus Christ led,” Kliewer said. “It made me a better husband, father, and better, stronger follower of Christ.”

Derek Hamm, associate professor of graphic design and faculty chair, awarded honor cords.  President David Janzen, Ph.D., awarded each diploma. Graduate student hoodings were conducted by their program director.

M.B.A- Leadership
Melinda Rangel, Ed.D., Marvin Sellberg Professor of Business Administration & Entrepreneurship
M.B.A.- Global Leadership & Sports Management
Amy Ratzlaff, Ph.D., associate professor of health and human performance
M.Ed. in Neuroscience and Trauma
David Stevens, Ed.D., program director & associate professor of education

Stevens was selected as the keynote speaker for the afternoon exercise. After opening the M.Ed. in 2019, the program continues to attract a global audience. Stevens challenged students to understand the opportunities their degree can afford them in the future.

“If you’re focusing all your efforts in your degree to making other people’s lives better, you will have a purpose-driven master’s degree,” Stevens said.