The drive from Bridgewater, S.D., to Hillsboro, Kan., wasn’t one that Jules Glanzer was familiar with. Yet his 407-mile trip in August 1970 was far more foundational than he could have imagined.
He had his eyes set on farming after college, but God saw his future through a different lens. His path to ministry and leadership began at Tabor College and led to his degree in 1974. Now nearly a half century later, Glanzer will retire from the college’s presidency after serving the third-longest tenure, 13 years, in the school’s history.
The calling to serve as Tabor president came 34 years after receiving his B.A. in business administration. It wasn’t a role he saw when he departed Hillsboro as a graduate. However, obedience toward and answering God’s call happily brought him back to 400 S. Jefferson.
Between his two stints on campus, his Tabor roots only grew stronger before assuming the presidency.
After obtaining his master’s of divinity from the Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary in 1974, Glanzer was ordained by his home congregation, Salem Mennonite Brethren Church. He pastored in Ulysses, Kan., over four years and then moved to Houston to plant churches. When the Mennonite Brethren church withdrew from Houston, the Glanzers teamed up with the Evangelical Covernant Church to plant Faith Community, where they pastored for 14 years. He later earned his doctorate from Fuller Theological Seminary in 2000.
While serving in Texas, Glanzer and his wife, Peg, saw all three of their children, Jeremy (g’98), Nicole (g’99) and Matt (g’01), attend and graduate from Tabor. They also each married a former Bluejay, including Jeremy’s wife, Jodi (Seibel) (g’99), Nicole’s husband, Jason Quiring (g’98), and Matt’s wife, Chrissy (Previtera) (g’02).
Glanzer became the dean of seminary at George Fox Evangelical Seminary in 2001. Seven years later, Tabor search committee chair David Wiebe gave him an unexpected call.
Feb. 1, 2008, started his tenure as a Tabor president, and Glanzer said the Lord’s faithfulness was present from the second he arrived on campus. Peg dropped him off beside the library, and words echoed through his mind as he took each step.
“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, you will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’”
Was it a bible verse or where did they come from? His concordance later showed him that these words could be found in Isaiah 30:21. Later that day Proverbs 16:9 —“In their hearts human plan their course, but the Lord directs their steps”—also brought clarity to the new journey that he had started.
Over his 13-plus years as Tabor president, those verses became Glanzer’s guide. He also wrote them beneath the carpet on the floor of his office inside the Shari Flaming Welcome Center.
“They have been the foundation of everything we have accomplished and done together,” he said at the President’s Dinner on April 30. “We’ve listened to the voice behind us whispering, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’ You can make all kinds of plans, but it’s the Lord who will direct our steps.”
Peg served faithfully alongside Dr. Glanzer for his time in office. She played an integral role in hosting over 500 people per year at their home, including work with the Presidential Leadership Program. She hosted luncheons for board member spouses and was also a significant help in donor calls. Glanzer specifically noted that she was “priceless” in adding a personal and social touch in requesting a gift for the college.
Glanzer and his family endured a scare as they watched him battle COVID-19 over the past six months. In the highs and in the lows, he said he was reminded of the faithfulness of the Tabor community.
When doctors expressed concern, he’d ask Peg to tell people to pray because it wasn’t going well. In at least two occasions, his health corrected itself to the surprise of the surrounding doctors and staff.
“I’d look at the clock and I’d see exactly what time it was,” Glanzer said. “I’d think to myself, ‘Somewhere out there a righteous person, as James 5:16 says, prayed and God heard.’”
It served as a reminder of the seeds he had sowed throughout his tenure as Tabor president.
“Our job is to provide a soil for when God’s transformation work can happen,” he said. “I never want us to think we’re the ones transforming people. We’re not. All we can do is create the environment. That allows God to reach down and touch people’s lives.”
June 30 will be Glanzer’s final departure from campus as president. Much like the words he has repeatedly prayed over each group of students or in his career as a pastor, his hopes remain the same for Tabor’s future.
“Now may the risen Christ go with you. Above you to watch over you and beneath you to lift you up. Beside you to encourage you and within you to give you peace. Amen.”
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.