Judy HarderJudy Prieb Harder(g’68)
Alumni Merit Award Winner
Tabor College Theater Director

After graduating from Tabor College in 1968, her and Keith settled in Elkhart, Indiana where they lived until returning to Hillsboro in 1985. After the unexpected death of Timothy, their 13-year old son, she was encouraged by a friend to “pursue something that would feed your soul, something you would love to do”. She enrolled in a few graduate level theater courses that eventually led to a graduate degree in Communications and Theater from Wichita State University. Tabor hired her to direct theater productions as an adjunct professor in 1987 and by 1989 she was on faculty full time.

Finding a space to host productions has been a key part of the adventure that Judy found herself on at Tabor College over the course of 26 years and 74 productions. From the old stage in the chapel to the renovated chapel with the stage in different configurations, the fair barn, the Methodist church, the high school auditorium and the Historic church, these venues all made the job challenging, but it also left room for creativity and gave the plays an endearing quality. To Judy, theater is intrinsically a collaborative art between the playwright, cast, crew, and audience where anything can happen and often unexpected interactions and connections are experienced. Theater to Judy was a natural way to draw the audience into the issues, people and events to help them see and learn through the experience.

In an article from the local newspaper when Judy retired from Tabor in 2013 she was quoted as saying: “ You can’t make the magic moments in theater happen, but you can create conditions for them”. Judy and Keith have 3 children and 3 grandchildren.