Coming off a historic 2017-18 year with record enrollment and the completion of the Shari Flaming Center for the Arts, Tabor College President Jules Glanzer said 2018 brought administrative highlights and accomplishments as well as transitions and challenges heading into 2019. Now completing his 11th year as president, Glanzer identified his Tabor highlights from 2018.
Influence of the Shari Flaming Center for the Arts. “It has been pretty incredible,” Glanzer said. “It has changed how we do things on campus. Student orientation now happens there, with dinner in the atrium, program in the auditorium and party on the plaza with a live band.
“It has become a hub for relationships,” he added, noting that the “We Proudly Serve Starbucks” is a big draw.
“The Starbucks is a gift to the community and the community keeps supporting it,” Glanzer said. “I see mothers with little children in one corner, business executives in another corner, and a Bible study on another table.”
The $14 million facility, with its state-of-the-art performance venues, has attracted higher-profile events, presenters and performers, ranging from renowned organist Diane Gish in September, and Denver Bierman and the Mile High Orchestra in November.
“We do life differently because of the Shari Flaming Center for the Arts,” Glanzer said. “It is truly a transformational building on our campus. It also helps us feel better about ourselves to have something like that on campus.”
Articulating Tabor’s theological identity as both evangelical and Anabaptist.
“I have never in my 11 years had so much positive feedback on something we did as making that statement,” Glanzer said. “I still get mail, even though the statement has been out for some time now. It has helped us with our constituency more than anything. It’s kind of like we showed our colors and people liked it. I had about five people who did not approve of the statement, but more than 100 who did like it.”
Students in the public spotlight. ”Having a student (Hannah Klaassen) become Miss Kansas, a student (DeShun “Springs” Patterson) become a Harlem Globetrotter, and an alum (Jacob Webb) made the 40-man roster of the Atlanta Braves baseball team. That brought positive attention to Tabor,” Glanzer said. “These are popular-culture achievements that people notice.”
Two athletic programs capture first KCAC championship. Both the women’s tennis program, coached by John Ruder, and the softball program, coached by Suzanne Unruh, captured their first KCAC titles last spring.
“I think that was a real accomplishment,” Glanzer said. “These two coaches have worked long and hard to get there, so that’s neat to see.”
Took steps toward a strong, sustainable and preferred future for Tabor. “We talked about the business model a lot,” Glanzer said. “The board is going to be meeting in February, and in May decisions will probably be made about it. We’ve identified six areas of what our preferred future looks like. That crystalized for us this past year.”
Remodeled gym entrance in the Student Center. With Executive Vice President Rusty Allen’s vision, Tabor’s maintenance facility operations team developed the Courtside Grill to replace the outdated concession area. “That was a fun thing that was noticed by everyone,” Glanzer said. “My thanks to Pioneer College Catering for their gift to help make it happen.”
Chapel experience. Glanzer affirmed campus pastor Ryan Lee and his team for transforming the atmosphere of Tabor’s twice-weekly student gatherings. One chapel speaker told Glanzer afterward, “I have spoken in a lot of Christian college chapels. Your students are the most respectful and the most engaged.”
Glanzer admitted, “That’s a turnaround from what it used to be here. But chapel is becoming a place where we can shape our corporate and individual identity. I also want to thank the faculty and staff for making chapel part of their weekly schedule. The students recognize this and appreciate it.”
Smart, good and winning athletic programs. In 2018, nine Tabor athletic programs were cited as KCAC Scholar Teams (only one school in each sport is selected based on highest GPA) in a conference that offers 22 sports. Overall, Tabor athletes registered a combined GPA of 3.14.
At the NAIA level, Tabor achieved “Gold Status NAIA Champions of Character” and 16 Tabor teams were named scholar teams in the NAIA based on a 3.0 GPA or higher.
“Those things are really quite remarkable,” Glanzer said. “What it means is, our athletes are smart, they’re good and they win.”
Heading into 2019, Glanzer said, “The whole focus of our year is to prepare Tabor for a strong, sustainable and preferred future. Everything is centered on that aspect. We were doing a lot of work about a business model, and we’re spending a lot of time talking about the student-value proposition.
“The faculty, under the leadership of Executive Vice President of Academics Frank Johnson, is going through a reimagining of our entire curriculum to make it distinctive, creative and efficient. They are doing some heavy lifting, but it will help us with our student-value proposition. We made it through the new building project, and now we’re kind of resetting for the future in a positive way. That’s the work we’re doing right now.”