HILLSBORO, Kan. – Tabor College held its 107th Commencement on May 20. More than 2,000 parents, family and friends gathered at Joel H. Wiens Stadium and via live stream on Tabor Webcast to celebrate with the graduates.
Of the 177 graduates from Tabor, 114 earned degrees at the Hillsboro campus while 63 completed degrees at Wichita and online. Of those, 20 individuals earned master’s degrees in areas of business, ministry or nursing.
President Jules Glanzer welcomed the graduates and attendees honoring the work they achieved through hard work and commitment to their education.
“Completing a college degree is a major milestone,” Glanzer said. “These young people have worked and sacrificed to earn these honors and I am proud of their achievements.”
Glanzer notes that this time of year is always a bittersweet one for him.
“Tabor’s faculty and staff are so pleased with who these individuals have become,” he said. “We’ve seen growth and change and now we watch them go out into the world to share their knowledge and skills with others. They have given us the gift of their time and we are grateful to have shared in a short part of their lives.”
At a reception held on Friday, Alex Janzen of Morro Bay, Calif., and Tena Loewen from Hillsboro, Kan., were awarded the Larry and Elaine Nikkel Service Award.
Two graduates were recognized with the Professor Fran Jabara Leadership Award, which is given to graduates of four-year, private colleges in Kansas. The 2017 recipients from Tabor were Alisa Ediger from Aurora, Colo., and John Jedneak from Princeton, Minn.
“Alisa and John exemplify what we hope Tabor graduates will become when they step foot on campus as freshmen,” Glanzer said.
Class representatives from both Hillsboro and Wichita spoke to the graduates giving their perspective.
Celeste Worthy from Hillsboro, Ore., earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and marketing. She encouraged graduates that while they may not be the same person they were when they started at Tabor, the best is yet to come.
“All the lessons you’ve learned, all the skills you’ve developed and all the passions you’ve ignited are now the building blocks for your glorious future,” Worthy said. “And ultimately, the people and the experiences here have pointed to the God who loves endlessly, strengthens continually and empowers the fearful to soar.”
Aaron Duvall, from Circleville, Ohio, earned a Masters of Arts in Entrepreneurial Ministry Leadership. He spoke on behalf of graduates from Tabor College Wichita and Online.
Duvall quoted Ecclesiastes 4:12, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
He shared his experience joining the community he found at Tabor.
“Tabor understands we are created to be in community and we learn better in community,” Duvall said. “Our success is a testament to Tabor’s ability to cultivate community even when distance could be an obstacle.”
Roger Camping, a 1976 graduate of Tabor, gave the commencement address to graduates. Camping reflected on the many relationships he built while he was at Tabor and urged graduates not to take those for granted.
“Why talk about all these relationships?” Camping asked. “Because no matter what course in life you take, they will be essential and you’ll build something great if you cultivate relationships!”
He demonstrated this point by sharing the story of Nehemiah. Camping noted all the relationships that God put in Nehemiah’s life to help rebuild his city’s wall.
“Through 32 verses in chapter three, family after family, clan after clan, group after group, 100s if not 1,000s of people pitched in and the wall was done in 52 days,” Camping said.
Later Camping noted that the most important connection of Nehemiah’s was his relationship with God.
“Here’s why I wanted you to hear what a man like Nehemiah went through and how he responded,” Camping said. “His attitude was preset. He didn’t have to think twice about his purpose or who he worked for. Are you prepared for greatness? Is your attitude one of God’s view of your life?”
Following the presentation of diplomas and hooding ceremony, Glanzer had a few final remarks for graduates and their families.
“Tabor is a special place where learning, work and service aren’t just a mission statement, but something we measure,” Glanzer said. “I hope our graduates look back at this time in their lives and see how Tabor has impacted the call God has placed on their hearts to learn from, work for and serve others in their future.”