Tabor College Presidents Blog

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Tabor College Presidents Blog

Homecoming 2011

October 7, 2011 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Homecoming, loosely defined, is the tradition of alums returning to college campuses during the fall, seeing new developments on the grounds of their alma mater, reuniting with old classmates and reminiscing about memories and activities surrounding the college experience. I’m pleased that this tradition is alive and well on the Tabor campus.

Homecoming week is one that I always look forward too. It is exciting to see so many people return to campus, rekindling old friendships and catching up with developments in each others lives. It is amazing to see the fabric of the Tabor experience that has been woven through the decades – with each new class making their own contribution while clinging to the framework that makes Tabor so unique.

From the Festival Dinner, MusicFest, football game, class reunions and kids activites – not to mention the Golden brunch and the German buffet lunch, all provide wonderful opportunities to interact and engage with Tabor alums and supporters. I relish in hearing the stories of where their degrees have taken them and the difference they are making around the globe. I’m regularly amazed at some of the unique opportunities God has provided our graduates to take the Tabor Experience out into the world.

This year I am personally looking forward to a Commitment reunion. The singing group that I was a part of in my college days will reconnect and reunite around the piano and sing to our hearts content. some of these people I have not seen for over 35 years. Although they have seen my picture, I have not seen theirs… so i might not even recognize them.

It’s not too late to take part in the 2011 Homecoming. Registration is available online under the Alumni section. Plan to join us today! Come see what is happening on campus, and share in the celebration of our fourth consecutive year of record enrollment – and the largest student body ever in the history of the school. These are exciting times, we hope that you’ll make plans to join us.


Message to Graduating Class of 2011

May 22, 2011 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Congratulations Tabor graduates.  You have made it.  You have worked hard, persevered, and reached a significant milestone.  We are all proud of you. You now join the ranks of a “college graduate.”

Commencement 2011-7Congratulations parents, spouses, children, and grandparents.  Each of you have played a part in seeing your graduate walk across the stage this weekend.  Thank you for being there along the way.  You have made a difference in the world through the next generation.

The diploma and Bible that you received as you walk across the stage will serve you well in the future.  The diploma tells everyone that you have worked hard, focused your time and energy on preparing for a chosen vocation, and have a college degree to show for it.  The Bible provides a path for you to follow as you navigate the many twists and turns in life.  Together they are symbols that you have had the Tabor experience.

Your college experience is something that you will remember for the rest of your life.  The friendships you have made, the knowledge you have gained, the memories that you have created, and the life that you have experienced will form a foundation for a life of learning, work, and service for Christ and His kingdom.  You have done well.  You have succeeded.  The world is waiting for you to make it more as God intended it to be.

Commencement 2011-9

My prayer for you, college graduate is Psalms 20:4 “May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.”

J. Paul Getty once was asked the key to success.  His response was, “Rise early. Work late. Strike oil.”  May each of you be successful.


Tribute to Life Long Mentor

February 18, 2011 · No Comments · Personal

This past week, Henry Schmidt crossed over to the other side.  Whenever I was asked in some group or in a conversation to list who the top three influencers were in my life, Henry was always one of them and at the top of the list.

Attending the memorial service for a life-long mentor is quite an experience.  I found myself thinking about the impact that he had on my life and reviewing my life as well.  I realized that so much of what I do and am I can trace back to Henry.

His legacy was investing in people.  I am part of his legacy.  My mission statement is “to influence those who will influence others.”  That is what Henry did.  In my expanded mission statement, I say that at the end of my life, I want to be able to have a list of people whose lives I have impacted.  That is what Henry had as he transitioned to the other side.

During seminary, I was one of three students that he met with each Friday morning for donuts and coffee.  We studied Measure of a Man by Gene Getz.  In one of those sessions I became broken and experienced the wisdom and love of Henry.  Henry was there as I dealt with things in my life that would be a hindrance to future ministry.

My life mission statement of “influencing those who would influence others” began with my relationship with Henry.  As I watched and experienced his investing in the lives of potential leaders, it became my life mission as well.  In each place I have served, I have done what Henry did with me during seminary… bring a group of people together for the purpose of investing in their lives.

Later when doing my DMin work, all I had left was the dissertation to write.  I was about to quit because I has learned what I wanted to learn from the program.  In Henry’s home over dinner he pointed his finger at me across the table, shaking it in my face, and with henryesque sternness said, “You have proven to us that you can lead.  But can you keep your butt in the seat and write.”  I went home challenged to finish the degree.  I would not have had the opportunity to serve at George Fox and subsequently at Tabor had I not completed the doctoral program.

I am who I am and I am serving where I am serving because of Henry.

Some thoughts and take-a-ways from the memorial service.

Why are we on this earth?  Henry always knew why and instilled in other a passion for the same.  Know why you are here.  He helped me focus on my reason for being on this earth.

The vision of future changes everything.  How true… how you see the future makes all the difference in the world.

Look to the margins.  Henry always had time for those on the margins of life.  He instilled in us the importance of giving time and serving those who needed a chance.  He never gave up on people no matter what the condition or cost.  To this day my heart is tender towards those who need a second (or more) chance.

His legacy was people.  I want my legacy to be the same.  I realized that the Presidential Leadership Scholarship being instituted this year at Tabor is an attempt at doing that as president of Tabor.

Every time I see you I think of you. :)

If you see a turtle on a fence post, you know that it did not get there by itself.  Serving in leadership is not a solo adventure.  The leadership I am providing for Tabor is on the shoulders of others.

My good friend and mentor is on the other side.  But his legacy still lives on in all those he invested his life in.  Thanks Henry for investing in me.


Prayer in New Year

January 2, 2011 · No Comments · Personal

The following prayer was sent to me by Leighton Ford.  I am touched by it.  It is my prayer as I begin 2011

Lord, give me I pray:
A remembering heart for the things that have happened
An attentive heart to what I have learned
A forgiving heart for what has hurt
A grateful heart for what has blessed
A brave heart for what may be required
An open heart to all that may come
A trusting heart to go forth with You
A loving heart for You and all your creation
A longing heart for the reconciliation of all things.
A willing heart to say “Yes” to what You will.


Christmas Thoughts

December 25, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Christmas Thoughts 2010

Where was God at the first Christmas? As I read the Christmas story this year, I found myself wondering about many of the things that happened that could have been different and alleviated a lot of pain, grief, and difficulty.

Where was God when they needed a room? I have heard many testimonies about answered prayer for a parking space.

Where was God when the order was given to slaughter every baby boy under age 2? A simple intervention with Herod could have saved a lot of grief.

What about Joseph? The poor guy. First the love of his life is pregnant by someone else, no honeymoon, and then to top it off, he goes to pay his taxes only to be deterred for over two years before he gets back home. God really was smiling down on him.

Wasn’t he kind of harsh on Zachariah? All Zach did was ask some clarifying questions.

I wonder if an angel also showed up at the parents of Mary’s bedside as well. Sure would have been nice of God to do that for Mary. I have a hunch that her visit to the hill country to visit her aunt and uncle was more than just a family get together. There just might have been some family honor being protected.

Could have the census been taken at any other time? Sure would have been easier if the counting would have happened a year earlier or later?

I am not trying to be cynical, just wondering about the ways of God.
The words from Isaiah 55:8-9 seem to be true and they keep ringing in my ear this Christmas.

‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,’
declares the LORD.
‘As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.’

Yes, His ways are so different than mine. How God does things and how I want them done are certainly different. The distance between the heavens and the earth is quite far making His ways literally “other world ways.”

I have come to understand that God is not a riddle to be solved but a mystery to embrace. And the more I think about it, the more I realize that I do not want to serve a God that I understand. Because my capacity to understand is so limited and if I could understand God, he would be a very small God.

This Christmas I am embracing the mystery of God.



November 25, 2010 · No Comments · Personal, Uncategorized

I love Thanksgiving. Of all the holidays, Thanksgiving Day is my favorite. Although is does not have Christian roots, in character and practice it seems more Christian to me than the rest of the holidays and the practices that accompany them. Gratitude and its twin generosity are at the heart of being Christ like.

On this thanksgiving day, I share this message with you which I received from Jerry Panas, someone who has influenced my life.

Blessings overflow and are unceasing.

Be thankful for robust health to make life and work a joy.

And joy abundant to pass on to others.

Wealth enough to support your needs and those in need.

And determination to make each day better than the day before.

Boundless happiness to share with others.

Strength and spirit unbridled to overcome all obstacles.

And unremitting optimism to vanish all doubts.

Grace to overcome and forgive any transgressions.

Patience to remain calm while the world races by.

Love enough to conquer all.

And a caring outstretched hand, especially to young people.

To know that in the central place of every heart must be respect for the earth,

peace for the people, and delight in the good, forgiveness for past wrongs,

and passion for new beginnings.

And above all, abiding thanks for all your gains, miracle after miracle.

To know that your final victories come from hope and faith and love and gratitude.

And the greatest of these is gratitude…because it is the wellspring for all else.

Unleash the power within you so you can touch the lives of others

in endless and wondrous ways.

Make every day a hallowed day of thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving.


October 7, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized

A legacy of leaders

Leadership and a love for Tabor.  Those are the two themes that have been running through my mind lately as I traveled to California and hosted our first-ever President’s dinner on the West Coast.  Fresno, nestled in the rich agriculture region of the San Joaquin Valley, is also Tabor country.  It was also of the place last week where nearly 100 Tabor supporters came together to fellowship and renew acquaintances.  It was a delightful evening.

Leaders and former leaders of Mennonite Brethern institutions.

Leaders and former leaders of Mennonite Brethern institutions.

I felt it was important to connect with the Tabor family living there.  Although 1,567 miles away from the home campus, there are many who feel keenly tied to the Tabor mission.  What is even more impressive are the number of alumni who have become influential leaders and servants in the MB family.  At the dinner there were no fewer than seven current or former presidents of Mennonite Brethren institutions that are Tabor alums. Dr. Art Wiebe, retired Fresno Pacific University (FPU) president; Dr. Richard Kriegbaum, retired FPU president; Dr. Merrill Ewert, current FPU president; Rev. Vernon Janzen, retired Tabor president;  Dr. Elmer Martens, retired Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary (MBBS) president;  Dr. Larry Martens, retired MBBS president; and Dr. Lynn Jost, current MBBS president.

I was honored to have these leaders at the dinner and reminded again of the leadership legacy that is part of Tabor College.  While we may be a tiny school, the reach of our mission is global.

There were some interesting bits of trivia that were highlighted while I visited the Golden State.  There are 1,084 Tabor alumni living in California, and these folks love Tabor as much as the people on the central plains of the Midwest.  Last year $276,485 was given to Tabor from people in California.

There are currently 57 students taking classes in Hillsboro that hail from California.  That is 10% of our student body and second, only to Kansas, as the leading state from which we have students.

Even in our leadership, California has a strong presence.  Three board members live in California.  Dr. David Karber, Jerry Kliewer and Elaine Cargill are all very active in setting the direction and policy.

Thank you California for helping make Tabor what it is.


The numbers are in! God’s blessings are abundant.

September 22, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized

It’s official.  We have broken the trend.  For the third year in a row we have a record enrollment.  For over 40 years we have not had more than two years of sustained growth.  Our 2010 Fall enrollment headcount is 669 a 4.5% increase over last year.  We came within one of tying the Hillsboro campus record of 558 set in 1974.  The Hillsboro campus increase was 7.3%  We have the largest freshman class (153) since 1988 (159) and a record number of transfer students (68). New students were up 18%.

How did this happen?

I Corinthians 3:6-7 describes it clearly.  “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.”

There have been many Apollos’ and many Paul’s.  Former President Nikkel’s decision to hire Noel-Levitz.  The hard work of Linda Cantwell and here admissions team.  Rusty Allen and all the coaches.   Adam Penner and the TCW crew. The faculty, staff, and even the alumni all had a part in planting, watering, and cultivating.  But the growth comes from God.  In his wisdom and grace, he saw fit to increase Tabor.

What does all this mean?  God is smiling down on us.  He has entrusted us with the lives of more young people to shape and mold for a life of learning, work, and service for Christ and His Kingdom.  Like the story Jesus told (Matthew 25) of the wealthy owner who gave different sums of resources to manage in his absence, so God has given us more lives to influence.  Our responsibility is to shape these lives so that they can go into the world and make it more like God intended it to be.  God is blessing Tabor.  I want to be faithful with what he has entrusted to us.

You can read more about it here.


We are all in this together.

September 16, 2010 · No Comments · Alumni

Ubuntu.  An African Tradition of Teamwork and Collaboration.  About six years ago I was introduced to this word at a pastor’s seminar describing a way of leading and working in the church.  Three months ago I saw a book by this title in the business section of Barnes & Noble.  When I purchased my iPad, I wanted to experiment with the different readers, so I purchased a short book for each.  Ubuntu was one of them.  The concepts the book talked about touched me deeply and I realized that we needed Ubuntu at Tabor College.

Ubuntu.  A word that I would like everyone at Tabor become familiar with to help us become the very best we can be.  The best in providing the education experience, in the relationships we have with our students and between members of the faculty and staff.

Ubuntu. It means we are all in this together.

Authors Stephen Lundin and Bob Nelson capture the essence of this approach to relationships – in work as well as our personal lives.  The pair emphasizes that to be successful, we each must have a high degree of trust and respect for each other – and that the work of the group must come before the success of individuals within the group.   A basic fundamental principle of ubuntu, is that each person has value and can be a contributing member of the group.  It’s not something that can be impersonated, it must be genuine.  The authors point out, “You can’t just do ubuntu. You have to be ubuntu.”

Another of the aspects that I find attractive is that ubuntu is not soft nor allows for individuals to skate along and not make contributions, “rather the group, if threatened by an individual’s behavior, that person must be challenged.”  It is not a sit around and sing “kum-ba-yah” but rather demands that we all pull our weight towards the common good and mission of the group.

Ubuntu! I like what it stands for, what it means, and where it can take us.  The executive team will be taking a closer look at the concept during our retreat and I will be meeting with various groups across campus to talk about ubuntu and discover ways that we can help improve the Tabor community be more connected and thus more responsive to our students and our mission.


And the school year begins

August 25, 2010 · No Comments · Campus News, Personal, Students

The campus has come to life.  Scholars, artists, athletes, and musicians are filling the classrooms of Tabor. Meeting with the new students, I am humbled that God has entrusted these young lives to us for the next semester, year, one year, maybe even four years. We are stewards of these young lives entrusted to us by God.

New students come with a unique view of the world.  Each year the Beloit College publishes a listing of things that the next generation of student has grown up with.  Things that for the freshman class have always been that way.  They have known it no other.

There are some interesting things to consider, things that my generation have become accustomed to, yet knew it in some other way, too.

This year’s freshmen class has always had the world wide web.  Their snacks have always come with a nutritional label.  Stadiums, music tours and sporting events have always had corporate sponsors. Burma has always been in Myanmar.  Women’s studies have always been widely available on college campuses.  Read the list for yourself.

But as much as things do change rapidly around us, thankfully, some remain very much the same. I am so pleased that when Jim Elam spoke to our football team during camp activities last week, 15 young men heard the gospel and committed their lives to Christ.

Here at Tabor, we strive to provide the setting where students can grow—not only in scholarly knowledge, but spiritual knowledge too.  Introducing students to their Lord and Savior is very much at the center of what we do every year at Tabor—Christ-centered identity formation.

We are being encouraged by the increasing numbers of students that are coming to Tabor.  Classrooms  and residence halls filled to capacity, the doubling of Chapel are all good signs for us—and cause us to look to the future and how we can continue to do the work we have been called to do.

US News and World Report thinks we are well too. . For the seventh consecutive time Tabor has been listed in the top tier as one of the Best Colleges in the Midwest.  Number 40 up three from last year.  The complete list can be found here

On a personal note, I have become a tweeting president.  I have bitten the bullet.  I have joined the tweeting crowd.  I would be honored if you would follow along.  Go to and sign up.  I plan on using this as a way to share information about Tabor with our many publics.  Some samples you have missed.

Hosted parents last night of new students in our home. Awesome people. If the apple doesn’t fall far from tree, we are in good stead.

A record? 33 students from Wichita First MB. Now that is support from a church. Thank you Wichita.

“Be all you can be” is too low an ambition for a Christian. Be all Christ wants you to be”

“If there exists no possibility of failure, then victory is meaningless.”

In closing, there is clearly change happening and it is good.  To quote the words of Atchison, “Change is inevitable. It’s the direction that counts.”



May 4, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Dr. Will Johnson.  The death of Dr. Will Johnson touches us all. I will miss him. Three words describe Will for me. Positivity. Gratitude. Contentment. Will always had a positive attitude. No matter what the circumstance or difficulty that he faced, his attitude was a positive one. He truly believed that attitudes are a choice and he always seemed to chose positivity. He was always thankful. He said thank you often. Little things, things that others took for granted he was grateful for and would communicate it. He seemed content with whatever came his way. Situations that would cause others concern and frustration seemed to not have that impact on Will. He always was content. I will miss him… at lunch… at ball games… at Tabor events. I was told that on his deathbed he was till trying to convince those who were caring for him to attend Tabor.  May his tribe increase. (Read Obituary)

Katie funk WiebeA week ago Tabor hosted a reception and program honoring Katie Funk Wiebe. (See Story) The MB Historical Commission presented her a festschrift: The Voice of a Writer. Honoring the Life and Work of Katie Funk Wiebe. The Wolgy was packed. Peggy Goertzen and her staff at the CMBS did a wonderful job of hosting the event.


Remembering Henry Remple

April 14, 2010 · No Comments · Campus News

Long time Tabor supporter and son-in-law of Tabor’s first president H.W. Lohrenz, went to his eternal reward this past Friday.  Henry was almost 102 years old at his home going.

Dr. Henry D. Remple

Dr. Henry D. Remple

The Lohrenz garden is one of his legacies on campus.  A memorial service will be held in the historic church on Thursday at 2:00 PM with burial following the service.  Read Obituary

His daughter reports that they had a marvelous Easter together.  Now Henry is experiencing all that Easter has to offer.

I had the privilege to meet Henry a couple of times… at the Centennial Plaza dedication and at a Center for Mennonite Brethren Studies dinner.  At that dinner we had a delightful conversation.  He loved Tabor.  He understood the global influence of a small school on the plains of Kansas.  His wisdom to me was to lead by remembering our history.  Good words for any college president.

As I meet this generation of Tabor supporters I am always impressed by the deep commitment to Tabor, the sacrifices that are made for Tabor, and the faithfulness of their prayers and support.  I usually leave the conversations with a deep appreciation and wondering if the generations that follow will be as faithful and dedicated to Tabor and our mission of preparing people for a life of learning, work, and service for Christ and His kingdom.  This is a remarkable generation on whose shoulders we all stand and are experiencing the benefits of their vision and commitment.

Theological Education

This week Tuesday and Wednesday I will be meeting with representatives of the US Conference, Fresno Pacific, and MBBS to talk about the merger and possible ways we might be able to partner in serving our churches.  This is a significant meeting in the life of graduate theological education for the Mennonite Brethren.


I am pleased to announce that Dr. Terry Wise has accepted the invitation to join the Tabor team and serve as Vice President of Adult and Graduate Studies and Professor of Communication. Dr. Wise has significant experience in leading successful extension sites like TCW.  Dr. Wise will begin serving June 1.  His wife Judy is an artist whose graduate work is with artistic coffee stains.

Strategic Planning

The platform of the strategic plan is “Immersive Learning for the 21st Century.”   The elements of the platform are practical and professional experiences, cross-cultural engagement, mentoring relationships, positive influence through leadership, Christ centered identity formation, and quality, excellence, and faculty development.  The Steering Committee has formed work groups for each of the elements of the platform with each group expanding their teams from the greater Tabor community.  The work group teams are designing the details of the plan.  Broad participation is hoped for during this phase of the process.


India Adventure – the final post

March 29, 2010 · No Comments · India Adventure

We are home re-entering life as we knew it.  Experiences like this have a way of shaping us and in some ways we will never be able to be the same again.  I know that I will never read the scriptures the same again.  On the way home I read most of the gospel of Luke.  It read so differently.  Story after story yielded new insights as they passed through my filter.

Last days in Hyderabad

Our last day in Hyderabad was a day of looking around.  We drove through High Tech city where American companies have set up shop.  Then to central old town Hyderabad and the charminar.India 336 Hyderabad is known for pearls.  India 313It makes no sense to me that a city in the middle of a country is a pearl center.  But there are numerous pearl shops in Hyderabad.  The charminar is an old Muslim military fort in the center of the city.  While there a parade came by.  The day was  Hindu holiday.  We heard two versions of the holiday.  One was that they were celebrating the marriage of two gods.  Another person told us that they were celebrating the birthday of one of the gods.  Either way, festivals, parades, and celebrations are a normal part of Indian culture.


In Mumbai we were invited to the US India 373Consulate where the US Consul General Paul Folmsbee, a Tabor grad, hosted a dinner party for us.  This was a networking evening.  He invited principals of a number of colleges, and his own staff also was there.  It was a delightful evening.  We gained so many insights. started new friendships, and discovered ways that Tabor can serve and offer educational programs in India. Meeting an accomplished alum who has a distinguished record of international service was truly an honor.

Then came the most difficult part.  I wrenched my back while packing my suitcase.  I will not bore you with the details except to say that the experience for me was painful and my traveling colleagues experienced another part of Indian culture dealing with a doctor and chemist (druggist).  Out travel insurance made it a possible for me to get home with some assistance from the airlines.  Painful but all part of the India adventure.


India 368On the last day we ate at a McDonald’s.  Interesting was that their menus did not have any beef products on it.  Yes, no hamburgers.  McDonalds also has a delivery service for phone in orders.

One of my most memorable experiences is the crowded streets.  There are people everywhere.  I am sure that they have rules of the road but I could not determine them.

India 119At Jerchilla I met an old seminary classmate.  What a surprise.  We attended MBBS together. It is a small world.

Images of India

There are some images of India that will forever be seared in my memory.  Here are some of them.

India 049

Can you find Peg and Malva in this picture?

India 121

Meet Paul Wiebe.  Paul grew up in India as a missionary child.  The house in this picture is his growing up place.  Paul was our guide.  I do not want to imagine this experience without him.  His words of encouragement, explaining Indian culture, and being our travel guide made the trip a success.

India 210

Yes you are seeing right… a family with infant on the freeway on motor bike.

India 309

Auto rickshaws are the preferred mode of transportation.  All are black and yellow.

India 357

Masses of people.  The population of India is 1.2 billion.  Over 50% are under the age of 35.

India 055

Our trip was a success by all standards.  We discovered ways to provide additional global experiences for our students.  We also found ways to serve the nation on India with progranms of higher education.



March 25, 2010 · No Comments · India Adventure

Sixteen hour days combined with very slow connectivity has not allowed me to daily post what we are experiencing.  We are now in Mumbai getting ready for a dinner hosted by Tabor alum and US Consul General, Paul Folmsbee.  So here is a summary of the past three days in Hyderabad.

Life in India

Life in India is filled with determination, ingenuity, and hard work.  They are survivors.  The population of India is 1.2 billion.  According to the World Bank, 75% live on less than $1.50 a day and 85% live on under $2.00 a day.  The contrasts are striking and real.  They know how to live with diversity, religious diversity, class diversity, and economic diversity.  Here are some pictures for you to ponder.

India 084

India 081

A trip to the market and later to central Shamshabad further introduced us to life in India.

India 055

India 061India 064

India 110

India 036

Transportation happens.  We have seen whole families on a motor cycle.  The yellow and black auto rickshaws are everywhere.

Meeting with leaders.

Our meetings with leaders of the Mennonite Brethren Centenary Bible College and the Mennonite Brethren Church have gone well.  We are being exposed to the issues, opportunities, and possibilities of Tabor being involved in a significant way in India.  A lot of conversation is still needed but I can see genuine possibilities that will serve our students and also increase Tabor’s global influence.  Tabor has a historic connection to India.  This is a natural place for us to be involved.

Church in India

The Mennonite Brethren Church in India is thriving and having significant influence.  Our church tour on Tuesday afternoon and evening touched me deeply.  We visited tw0 mega-churches that have beautiful buildings, ministries that have high impact, and people who are deeply committed to Christ.  India 107The Judcherla church facility is simply beautiful.  Over 1000 people attend each Sunday.  Sitting on the floor is the preferred posture in worship.  The church has a 12 hour prayer ministry where from morning to night each day there is someone praying for all of the people by name.  Each member gave one month’s salary for three years to build the church.  Now each member is asked to give one month’s salary for the programs of the church.  They are now starting satellite churches in surrounding villages.  The church cornerstone is graced with the names of Tabor alumni David Wiebe and Paul Wiebe.

The church in Naububnagar has 2000+.  Chairs are set up outside so that all may participate.  This church supports 20 pastors that serve in nearby villages and is building a mountain top community hall.  The church will host a community sunrise service at which the local political leader who is Muslim and the local Hindu leader will attend.  On the cornerstone of this church was the name of my seminary professor J.B. Toews.  Being the church in a pluralistic society is something that is very real.  Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Christian are dividing lines in the community.  Having a beautiful Christian facility seems like an important value when the setting has beautiful Hindu temples, ornate Mosques, and Hindu shrines.

Our church tour continued to three large village churches.  Here the scriptures took on new meaning for me.  We arrived to singing from the churches blaring over speakers that were flooding the community with the music from the Christian church.  The fact that there were such loudspeakers on the church towers is one thing.  That they were being used to flood the town with music is something else.  We were told that this was sending a signal to the community that something big was happening at the Christian Church.  The big was our arrival.  Once we got out of the car and met the pastor and local church leaders, we were given a tour, fed a full meal, and then a program was held.  Yes, we had three dinners in one evening.  Leis were presented, music sung, and speeches given.  A photographer was snapping pictures.  Crowds pressed in to shake our hands.  To say we were mobbed is an understatement.  All they wanted to do was touch us… touch our hands.  Some asked that we pray for them.  Others once touching us made what seemed like the sign of the cross.  I am not Jesus.  I felt powerless.  Yet I found myself wanting to give them something more than I had.  When the gospels talk about the crowds pressing in on Jesus wanting to touch his garment because of his power, I wished for a moment that I had some of His power to give to these people.  My belief is that Christ lives in my and I have something to give.  But in this case I felt quite powerless. I realized that this was not about me but about hope.  These people are in India society untouchables and for a white man to touch them… well let’s just say it was affirming for them.  And add to this that the Jesus the white missionary presented to them many years ago looked white.  So when I connect the dots, this is how it looks. the scriptures read differently to me now.

On the tour of the village homes of the members, one person was sick and asked me to pray for him.  Where I live, when we are sick, we go to the doctor.  This person had no money, no insurance, no corner drug store.  He was sick.  I prayed.  Somehow praying for the sick in this setting makes a whole lot of sense to me.  I hope God answered my prayer.

India 120At the church in Chinnachinta Kunta, the people make a living by making beedies, a kind of cigarette.  They make 60 rupees a day.  From this meager income, they give the earnings of one day a month to the church to build the building.

Education.  In India, children go to school for 10 years, then plus 2 which is called junior college.  Following that they go for three years to a university.  We are here on exam week.  Everyone in India is taking the same exam this week which is graded at a central location.  All the instruction is towards the exams.  Is this where President Bush got his idea of “No Child Left Behind.”

Our visit to the MB Junior College was eye opening.  they have 450 students who board there.  170 come from poor MB families.  We are again treated as royalty.  Abram Prakash is the principal.

I will write more later.  We are now off to a diner hosted by Tabor alum Paul Folmsbee.


India Adventure Day 2 and 3

March 22, 2010 · No Comments · India Adventure, Uncategorized

Sixteen hour days with one experience after another, we finally have a few hours to catch our breath on day 4.

Day 2 Travel to Hyderabad

After a rooftop garden breakfast, a trip to the domestic airport in Mumbai, a canceled flight resulting in a four hour wait at the airport, and a pleasant Jet Airways flight, we arrived in Hyderabad. Jet Airways is the most friendly, efficient, and pleasant airline I have traveled in many years.This sign in the airport caught my eye.  American advertising would never offer a hint of doubt in their product.  India 006

We were greeted by Dr. Soto, the President of MBCBC, and Rev. C S Joel. Following tea with most of the faculty, we attended a evening service for the purpose of welcoming us. Tabor is held in high esteem. We were presented with leis and asked to make comments.  Student performed numerous musical numbers with the culmination of the kolatam dance. I would describe the dance as an Indian version of the American square dance. the caller used a whistle and the dancers had sticks. India 011India 009

India 016

Day 3 – We experience the MB church in India.

There are over 900 MB congregations in India with 200,000 people attending these churches.  Peg and I went to the only English speaking MB church in India.  Once again we were treated as royalty.  I spoke without interpreter.  Most interesting were the people we met.

India 019Meet John Edwin.  John is the Director of HR at ICGAI National College.  they have 10,000 students and offer one degree program –  Masters in Business Administration.  Quite fascinating.

India 024Meet Rev. Devadass Animalla.  He is the former pastor of the church and now spends his time going to villages and preaching and starting churches.  Church planting in India is quite different from how it is done in the US.  He has his method down.  He depends heavily on Campus Crusade materials and methods.

India 027Meet Melchizedek.  If you have a Penny’s charge card and have not paid your bill, then you might just have talked with him.  He works at one of the call centers in Hyderabad for Penny’s.  Prior to this he worked for Direct Dish TV in customer service.  Melchizedek has a winsome personality, is very bright, and engaging.  He understands Americans quite well.  The next time I make a call and realize that I am talking to someone at a call center in India, I will think of Melchizedek.  He loves his work, is paid well, and the interview process he described was very interesting.  Command of the English language, accent, and capacity to talk about random topics in the interview are essential in being hired.

On the way home from church, we went to a  very nice restaurant for Sunday dinner plus a stop for ice cream on the side of the road.  Except for the menu, just like any Sunday in the US.  We enjoyed Biryani which is a dish that Hyderabad is famous for.

The evening was an experience I will never forget.  We started by picking up a local pastor and his family to go make a house call to pray for a family and then to a church plant in one of the villages.  The pastor comes from the upper class and his home was very nice.  The house call was to a 8×12 room in which four people lived, slept, stored fire wood, and cooked.  They were being prepared for baptism.  They wanted us to pray for them.  We do.

India 042Now comes the Sunday evening church service.  Words are inadequate to describe this experience.  On land besides a spice factory are 500 homes of migrant workers.  Electricity went out so we move from under a shelter to the ground in front of the shelter.  About 60 people show up.  The poverty is staggering.  The singing begins.  I am to preach.  I was planning on preaching on Jesus feeding the 5000.  It seems so hollow so I decide to preach on Zachaeus.  I focus on his being an outcast but leave out that he was a wealthy outcast.  I talk about the good news being that Jesus does not pass by, he invites the to come down, and he wants to come to their place.  It sounds so hollow to me as the words come off my tongue.  After the message, Peg gives candy to the children.  She is mobbed.  Adults press in on her.  All asking her to pray for them.  Peg does.  Then one person comes up to me and forces a rupee into my Bible.  I look and it is 10 rupee.  I do not know what to do. I am speechless.  I still am.

India 044Now we are instructed to sit down and in front of all of the people, who no doubt are hungry, we are served cookies, pastries, and tea.  Everyone watches as we who are not hungry eat in front of those who are.  I do not know what to do except to invite everyone to take a picture.  With joy, they all gather behind us who are sitting and love the experience.  Is it only me or is there something wrong with this picture.

Church planting… it sure is different in India.  About 10 had already been baptized and another 6 were prepared to be baptized.  This is the church.  These are the people of God.  The gospel suddenly looks so different.  Reading the New Testament will be quite different for me from this night on.

I am exhausted.  My heart and mind are in overload.

India 051Our Driver.  If you are ever looking for an expert driver, B Jayaraju is your man.  This man knows how to navigate traffic, avoid accidents, and regularly come within inches of all that he encounters on the road.


India Adventure Day 1

March 19, 2010 · No Comments · India Adventure

India 002After 19 hours on planes and over 11,000 air miles, we have set foot on Indian soil.  Of course, the first adventure is the ride to the hotel.  There are lanes on the road but for some reason they are not followed.  The acceptable mode of communication is the horn.  Not sure what it means, but it is used frequently,  no constantly.  I think it means Get out of the way, Here I come, Let me in, or something like that.  Anyway, they seem to understand each other and there is no anger invovled in the honking.

India 003Hillsboro – population 3000.  Mumbai – population 20,000,000 (that’s what the driver said).  What do these have in common?  Very little.  Except that we are connected.  Tabor alum, Paul Folmsbee is the US Consul General of India.  And Mumbai is the financial capital of India.  So if anyone in Hillsboro has any international financial dealings, it just might go through Mumbai.  India is on the rise.  Global relevance passes through India.  Why are we here?  We are in India to explore two kinds of opportunities for Tabor College.  As our world becomes increasingly global, we want to provide global experiences for our students preparing them for a life of learning, work, and service for Christ and His kingdom.  We desire to be a college of choice that is academically excellent, life transforming, globally relevant, and decidedly Christian.  Connections in India can help us fulfill our mission and see our vision become a reality.

The second reason is that I think we have a very good thing going at Tabor and I would like to increase our global influence as a college.  We are looking for opportunities to extend our kind of education on the global scene.  With our contacts in Mumbai and Hyderabad, there seems to be some possibilities.  We will see.

India 001Exploring like this requires a team of eyes, ears, minds, and hearts.  Dr. David Faber the director of the Carson Center for Global Mission, Service, and Education at Tabor, and former Tabor President David and Melva Brandt are joining Peg and myself.  In Hyderabad, alum Paul Wiebe will be our host and guide.


Exploring India

March 15, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized

On Thursday Peg and I will be leaving for India. Dave Faber, Carson Center Director, and former President David and Melva Brandt will be joining us. The purpose of this trip is to explore opportunities for providing global experiences for our students. We will spend time in Mumbai where Tabor alum Paul Folmsbee is the US Consul General and in Hyderabad where Paul Wiebe will host us. I invite you to join us right here as I plan on blogging regularly during our time in India. I covet your prayers. Rather than give you a list, I will trust the spirit to guide you in praying. I do have one request… that I do not see a cobra.


Provost’s Resignation, Record Spring Enrollment

March 13, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Personal regret

With deep regret I accepted the resignation of our Provost, Dr. Lawrence Ressler, effective at semester’s end.

Lawrence has accepted a faculty position at Taylor University in Upland, Ind., where he will be Professor of Social Work. Dr. Ressler has served Tabor for the past five years, providing leadership to our academic affairs including one month serving as Acting President.

Lawrence has been a good friend, trusted colleague, and wise counselor as I found my way in the presidency. Thank you Lawrence.   I will miss you.  Read Story

Some very good news

Tabor College Sets Spring Enrollment Record with 621 Students. It takes an entire college community to set the enrollment records we are currently setting.  My thanks to each of you for helping make it happen. You can read the details here.

A very good letter

This past week I received a letter that made my heart sing.  The sender was United States Department of Education.  The content officially informed us that we were the recipient of a $350,000 grant for rural nursing and education purposes.  The letter went on to detail what we needed to do and by when to receive this funding.  Joy Mark will serve as the project director and the money should be in the bank by mid June.

Congratulations and Thank You

My thanks to the student callers who participated in our annual phone-a-thon.  All indicators are that they reached their goal of raising $40,000 for the annual fund.  Over 3800 households were called, with over 2000 of them called up to four times due to no answer.  Four hundred and nine people pledged to give specific amounts with 171 additional people pledging to give unspecified amounts.  The average pledge was $90.64.  That is a lot of dialing and a good return.  I admire the courage, enthusiasm, and tenacity of these students.  My sincere thanks to all who picked up the phone, responded positively to our students, and contributed to the mission of Tabor College.

Great Show!

Judy Harder and Co. put on a wonderful spring drama, Arsenic and Old Lace.

It was another one of those student events that makes my heart swell with pride at the quality of our student body.

A contest was held to select the promotional poster for the Tabor College production of  Arsenic and Old Lace, and the winning entry was created by junior Julie Wiens, a Graphic Design and Biblical/Religious Studies major from Fresno, Calif.


Tabor Sets Spring Enrollment Record!

March 2, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized

News that Makes My Heart Glad

Presidents always keep an eye on the enrollment numbers.  So when I heard today that we had an all-time record number of students for a spring semester, 621, my heart was full of thanksgiving.  I am thankful to God and to the many people at Tabor who faithfully give themselves to make Tabor a special place.  Having record enrollment is the perfect storm of the grace of God, the hard work of many people, and the strategic decisions of those in leadership.  I am humbled and honored to be part of Tabor at a time when we are experiencing sustained growth.  Like in the story of the feeding of the 5000, God is multiplying our resources.  If you want to read more about this good news, here is the full story.

Full Story

The Week that Was

I often describe life as a series of experiences and relationships.  This past week certainly was that for me.
First up: Teaching with Tony Campolo.  Adventure describes it best.  “Academic shock jock” describes his teaching style.  He tells it like he thinks it and relishes in controversy.  Tony C is happiest when students engage him and fight back.  And when one student walked out in protest, he seems to think that he got through.  As for me, he sat through my first presentation, then got up and promptly with grace and class, disagreed, tore apart, and challenged most of what I had said.  Only to come back later and affirm most of what I had presented.  With great joy I was able to create a comeback my next time up to the students delight.  This was my third experience with him, so I was prepared and enjoyed my time with him.  The guy is simply amazing.
Next up:  CCCU Breakthrough Conference.  Interacting with college presidents and leaders from other Christian colleges was inspiring, insightful, and challenging.  I came home having learned much, expanded my networks, and much to consider as I lead Tabor.  The seminar on applying strengths to organizational and academic culture was most helpful.  Hearing John Perkins and Tim Elmore was refreshing and thought provoking.  I missed Francis Collins but will get the DVD when it comes out.  It all certainly helped me understand Tabor better.
A great week, but 7 airports in one week plus a red eye, delayed flights, and some bad mattresses, makes for a combination not suitable  for people over 55.  I am looking forward to being home for a few days.

The Week that Is

This week (Monday and Tuesday) I am with the Central District Pastor and Spouse’s  annual retreat in Rapid City.  I always love connecting with pastors.  These couples carry heavy loads.  When with pastors, my primary goal is to encourage and equip.  I am impressed with the quality of the Central District Pastors.

Running and Jumping

Congratulations to Tabor qualifiers for the NAIA National Indoor Track meet:  Tasia Johnson in the long jump and the 60 meter dash; Kelli Kopper and Justin Ball in the 600 meter run; and Emily Post in the triple jump.

Thought of the week

“If we did not have golf balls, how would we measure hail?”


Tabor Board Meetings, Scholarship Dinner (Podcast)

February 26, 2010 · No Comments · Alumni, audio, Campus News, Faculty

Tabor Board

Tabor College is blessed with a wise, passionate, and committed Board of Directors. This past week they gathered on the campus to discuss and make decisions regarding our future.  These men and women are a delight to work with.  They love Tabor and want only the best for us.


The February meeting was described by a number of board members as one of the more engaging and passionate board meetings in recent memory.  The three topics that took much of the board’s time were the strategic plan, the stalled campaign, and theological education.  Here is a summary of the board meeting.

1.     The board affirmed the work of the Strategic Planning Steering committee and the concepts of the positioning platform:  “The Tabor Experience: Immersive Learning for the 21st Century.”

2.     In light of the announcement of the pending transfer of assets of MBBS to FPU, and the invitation of FPU to have the Tabor President participate in the Advisory Council of the seminary, the board discussed Tabor’s involvement in graduate theological education.  The discussion was passionate, engaging, and lengthy.  The board decided that further information was needed and asked the district representatives to meet with US Conference Leadership to gain further understanding of the pending merger. Until we have additional information, the board asked the president not to accept the invitation at this time. The board desires to be involved in graduate theological education and partner with FPU in serving the MB conference.  However, they are concerned that the partnership be genuine and that there be mutual benefits to both FPU and Tabor.

3.     The board grappled with the stalled stadium campaign.  It was decided that we will extend the campaign to June 30, 2011 and begin considering the scope and project for the next campaign considering having debt reduction as part of the next campaign.

4.     The board approved offering an AA degree in Urban Ministry working with World Impact and their TUMI program.

5.    The board decided to raise the traditional undergrad tuition by 5.05%, and room and board by 4.07%.  Adult and Graduate Studies programs will also experience some modest increases.

Scholarship Dinner

This past Friday night the advancement office hosted a donor/student scholarship dinner.  What a wonderful evening.  My heart soared as I watched scholarship donors interact with the students who were receiving their scholarships.

After an opening prayer by J.D. Tippin, lovely music was performed by Will Friesen, Corina Neufeld, Julie Wiens and Stephanie Wiens. We also heard testimonies from Darren Enns and Kirsten Krehbiel about their Tabor experiences, and Andrew Wiens closed in prayer. Hearing the stories behind the scholarships and the student’s stories of appreciation along with student’s music was awesome.




It was gratifying for me to be able to speak to this group of wonderful Tabor supporters and our great students. It was also a joy to hear stories about Tabor College in days gone by from David Karber, a member of our Board of Directors.

When in doubt about our mission, just hang out with some of our students and hear their stories.

It is all about the students.


Seven Tabor College instrumentalists have been selected to participate in the 2010 Kansas Music Educator’s Association (KMEA) College Honor Band Concert on Feb. 26, at Century II Concert Hall, in Wichita.  Selected to perform from Tabor College are Emily Miller, clarinet; Darren Enns, trombone; Eric Funk, trumpet; Emily Miller, clarinet; Corina Neufeld, oboe; Janae Rempel, clarinet; Cody Schroeder, trombone; and Megan Souter flute.  Kudos to Dr. Richard Cantwell.

Thought of the week

“The things that come to those who wait may be the things left by those who got there first.”


Teaching With Tony Campolo, Highlighting Our High-Brow Bluejays

February 18, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Continuing to Learn

I am no longer a rookie president, but I continue to learn.  I participate in the CCCU mentoring program.  My mentor is Dr. Carl Zlystra, president of Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa.  I had never been to Dordt.  I experienced a thriving college in a small Midwestern town with numerous competitors nearby that is making a Kingdom impact. They are tied closely to the Christian Reformed Church with a Reformed Church in American college just 12 miles down the road.  Many who work there have given their lives to the college.  The names are predominately Dutch and many are related to each other.  The college’s US News ranking this year was 4th.  Academic creativity and innovation is impressive.  Some facilities are astounding while others are aging and need some help.

Their distinctive is very clear – it is their educational philosophy which is teaching a Reformed world view. Out of frustration with the growing gap between faculty and administration, they created a new academic governance structure.  Some of their facilities are jointly owned with the city and local recreation department.  They just started football program a few years ago.  They have a good music program and offer 14 sports.

Does anyone else see the similarities?  I learned a lot.

In the Church.

From Dordt I went to Henderson, Nebraska, one of the strong Tabor supporting churches and communities.  I was scheduled to speak four times over the weekend but a white-out blizzard Sunday morning changed the plans and everything was canceled. However, plan B was not disappointing as I was able to spend some good time with our grandchildren.  So in the last two weeks I have held, played, and wrestled with all my grandchildren.  It does not get much better than that.

Board Meetings

On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday the Tabor Board of Directors will be meeting on Campus.   On the agenda is theological education, strategic planning, campaign issues, and budget business.  They fly at 35,000 feet helping set policy and direction of the school.  These people love Tabor, are generous, and share their wisdom with us in leading Tabor.  I thank God for each of them.

My Schedule

The next two weeks will challenge even the joyful traveler.  On Sunday following the board meetings, I travel to the Oregon coast to teach in the doctoral program at George Fox Seminary. Thirty leaders from all over the world are enrolled in the program.  I am co-teaching “The Practice of Spiritual Leadership”  with Tony Campolo. This is always a kick.  The guy is simply amazing.  Then I catch a red-eye to Atlanta for the CCCU Breakthrough conference.  Home in time to change clothes in the suitcase and then off to Rapid City, SD to present at the Central District Pastors retreat.  I will let you decide what to pray for during these next two weeks.

Academics and Athletics

I thought you might be interested in seeing how the Tabor College  Student Athletes’ GPAs broke down for the fall of 2009. Tabor consistently ranks among the highest achieving schools academically in the NAIA.

Sport              Team GPA
Baseball            2.789
Football            2.559
Men’s Basketball  3.178
Men’s Cross Country 3.386
Men’s Soccer   3.027
Men’s Tennis    3.198
Men’s Track    3.075
Softball           2.572
Volleyball      3.516
Women’s Basketball    3.153
Women’s Cross Country 3.693
Women’s Soccer   3.224
Women’s Tennis    3.514
Women’s Track      3.369

Totals                    3.051

Former NFL Player Inspires Bluejays

Sports is approached and played differently at Tabor College. BluejayBlue

This was certainly evident last week during the Athletic Department’s Spring Celebration. In an evening filled with laughter, cheers and some tears, Tabor College Bluejay athletes, coaches and fans were challenged and inspired by former Denver Bronco and Christian motivational speaker Steve Fitzhugh in the Chapel Auditorium.

An accomplished speaker, poet and rap artist, Fitzhugh has been referred to as “The Chaplain to the Pros” because of his inspiring talks to professional and collegiate athletic teams. He is a national spokesman for The Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

“It was a blessing to have Steve Fitzhugh on our campus,” said Rusty Allen, V.P. for Athletics. “Steve is gifted in his ability to communicate the truths of God’s word and what it means to follow Christ.”

According to Allen, the purpose for the Spring Celebration was to highlight the many accomplishments of Tabor athletes and teams this past fall and winter, and to preview the coming spring sports seasons. The focus of the evening was to encourage excellence, both on and off the field, which enhances ministry.

The keynote speaker scored a touchdown, Allen added.

“Steve challenged everyone associated with Bluejays athletics to discern God’s plan and gifts, and then use all we’ve been given to have a positive sphere of influence,” Allen said. “His combination of humor, personal testimony and challenging personality really resonated with our athletes.”

The night after hearing Fitzhugh speak, the Tabor College Bluejays men’s and women’s basketball teams both captured upset victories on the road.

Read Full Story


‘Engaging’ With Our Students in Prayer

February 10, 2010 · No Comments · audio, Faculty, Personal, Students

Speaking in Chapel is always a joy.  On Monday I spoke to our students about “Engaging God”, or as we commonly call it… Prayer.  I do not know how prayer works, and I do not really know why we pray when God knows everything about us and wants the best for us.  But I do know that when we pray, we become engaged.  Something happens.  We engage with God, ourselves, the people we pray for, and the situation we are praying about.  I also know that prayer has no time span.  Prayers that were prayed by our parents when we were first born are still operative in our lives.  I also know that prayer knows no geographical boundaries.  We do not have to be on location.
Thank you for your prayers for Tabor College.

‘Freedom Day’

Yesterday, Monday, February 8, was ‘Freedom Day’ at Tabor College.  That meant that the money that is paid by students and their families for their college education lasted until that day.

Students reeived 100 Grand candy bars during chapel services on Monday to celebrate 'Freedom Day' at Tabor College.

Students received 100 Grand candy bars during chapel services on Monday to celebrate 'Freedom Day' at Tabor College.

Now until the end of the year, the gifts of the alumni, friends, and supporters of Tabor are picking up the tab for our students.  We are truly blessed with such generous donors.   And more than giving, these donors pray for Tabor, many of them daily.  Many of them start their day with their Bibles open, praying for their children, grandchildren, and for Tabor.
Thank you for your financial support, and for your prayers.

As good as it gets

This past weekend I held for the first time my new granddaughter, Campbell Grace, played with her big sister Avery, and then on the way home stopped and was able to hold Olive.  Next weekend I will see the rest of them.  Being Gramps is wonderful.

We were honored

U.S. Congressman Jerry Moran and his wife, Robba, attended the Tabor-Kansas Wesleyan basketball game on Saturday.
Dapper Tabor College students take a photo op with U.S. Congressman Jerry Moran, from left: Jared Redding (Hesston, Kan.), Troy Frick (Durham, Kan.), Congressman Moran, Ishmael Morris (Hillsboro, Kan.), and Brett Voth (Walton, Kan.).

Dapper Tabor College students enjoy a photo op with U.S. Congressman Jerry Moran, from left: Jared Redding (Hesston, Kan.), Troy Frick (Durham, Kan.), Congressman Moran, Ishmael Morris (Hillsboro, Kan.), and Brett Voth (Walton, Kan.). Tabor College Photo by Vance Frick.

I regret that I was traveling, but Board Chair Lyndon Vix and Provost Dr. Lawrence Ressler did a great job hosting them.  Our students were excited to see him on campus. It is nice to have friends of the college in places of influence.

Missing from the Cafeteria

For many years, a familiar face each noon in the Cafe was Dr. Will Johnson.  Since early December we have been missing his positive attitude, warm smile, cheerful greeting, and enjoyable conversation each noon.
Will’s health has deteriorated quickly and he is no longer able to get out and come to lunch.  Please pray for Will in the evening of his life.

This week

I participate in the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities’ (CCCU) mentoring program for presidents. Dr. Carl Zylstra, president of Dordt College in Sioux City, Iowa, is my mentor.  There are many similarities between Tabor and Dordt.  I will be visiting their campus, and observing their winter board meeting, and learning how to be a better president from one who has been successful over the years.  Going and coming I will connect with some of our faithful supporters.

What I am praying about

I find my prayers focused on the budget challenge.  An aging campus, bringing new facilities on line, servicing our debt, and the low pay scale of our employees makes the creating a balanced budget a challenge.  I am waiting for Jesus to multiply the loaves and fish again just like he did many years ago. Please pray for me and the Executive Team as we finalize the 2010-2011 budget.

Longing for Spring

I know that we still have some wintry days ahead, but that does not stop me from longing for spring.


As A New Semester Begins…

February 3, 2010 · No Comments · Alumni, Faculty, Interterm Trips

A new semester has begun at Tabor College, and with it here’s another go at the President’s Journal.

While I make no promises, I will do my best to keep you up to date on life on our wonderful campus from my perspective as president of The Best College FOR The World.

To receive President’s Journal posts via email,  enter your email address in the box, at right.

Read The Tabor College Connection Online

To catch up on the goings-on at Tabor and our wonderful alums, take a look at the new Online version of Tabor College Connection Magazine.

Interterm Trips

I find myself praying harder and give a huge sign of thanksgiving when all our student have returned home from their Interterm trips.  Here is a sampling of the three trips Tabor students took this past month:

Gulf Coast Disaster Relief

Rachel Unger, left, and Jera Tessel serve on Gulf Coast.

Eight Tabor College students participated in the Disaster Relief and Service Travel Study Tour during the Interterm, from January 11-29. They experienced the impact of natural disasters as they worked alongside survivors of Hurricane Katrina (which killed 1,836 people and caused some $81.2 million in damage in August, 2005) and more recent hurricanes in the region. Read the Disaster Relief and Service Travel Study Tour Journal


Student Body President Andrew Wiens meets new friends in India.

Ten Tabor students were fully immersed into the fascinating culture of India during Interterm, from Jan. 8 to 27.  Students were introduced to the inspiring work of the Indian Mennonite Brethren in the Andra Pradesh region of India, and were challenged to think globally as they engaged with a wide variety of people and situations in another culture. Read the India Tour Journal


Dr. Richard Kyle led his 25th Tabor College Tour

Dr. Richard Kyle led his 25th Tabor College Tour

Sixteen Tabor students traveled to six European countries during the January Interterm, from Jan. 6 to 26.

The group visited Germany, Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and the United Kingdom, and saw several historical and cultural sites in Munich, Zurich, Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris and London. They were led by Dr. Richard Kyle, Professor of History and Religious Studies, who was guiding his 25th college tour.  Read the European Tour Journal

The students will be adding thoughts about their trips and more photos to these journals as time permits, so be sure to sign up/subscribe to receive email updates as they are posted.

Let’s hear it for Nursing!

The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education has approved the substantive change in our Nursing Program. We also have launched the Larned, Kan., extension site this past week.  Word is getting out and other sites are now coming to us asking if we can offer our program at their location.

Alumni Recognition

Dr. Carl Gerbrandt

Dr. Carl Gerbrandt

The National Opera Association (NOA) has awarded former Tabor College professor and alumnus Dr. Carl Gerbrandt its prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award for his significant and distinguished contributions to the area of sacred opera.  Dr. Bradley Vogel, Professor of Choral Music and Director of the Tabor College Choir,  was one of his students.  Our music legacy continues.

Read full story on the Tabor College Music Journal

And the really big news!

Campbell Grace

Campbell Grace Glanzer

Last but not least, Campbell Grace Glanzer was born to Jeremy and Jodi Seibel Glanzer on Jan. 28. She weighed-in at 8 lbs 8 oz and is 20 inches long. This is #7 for us.   She will be Gramp’s little “Chicken Noodle.”


Record Enrollment

September 24, 2009 · No Comments · Campus News

We are celebrating on the Tabor campus.  It is official.  We have record enrollment for the second year in a row along with 5 new enrollment records set.  You can read all about it at
Here are the records:
  1. Total enrollment – 640 up 5% from last year
  2. Total FTE – 596 up 6% from last year
  3. Full time Students in Hillsboro – 504 up 5% from last year
  4. Total full time students – 521 up 5% from last year
  5. Number of Grad students – 22
What a joy to be part of Tabor College when God is smiling down on us.  It seems to me that we are experiencing a “perfect storm” resulting in unprecedented growth… the blessing of God, the hard work of many people, and the strategic initiatives that we have taken enabling this growth.  Growth is never the goal but rather the result of hard work, strategic decisions, and the grace of God.  My heart is full of gratitude to Him for the team of people that worked so hard to help make this happen.  It is a team effort of admissions staff, financial aid personnel, coaches, faculty, student life, and administration.  I also am thankful for the courageous leadership of former President Nikkel who chose to hire Noel Levitz to assist us with our strategies.  This has paid off for us in a big way.  Our student life staff and student success people really worked hard at helping students succeed.  This led to excellent retention numbers that helped us reach our record enrollment.  My thanks to all who had a part in making it happen.


A weekend in Hillsboro

September 20, 2009 · No Comments · Campus News

In the little village of Hillsboro a weekend to remember was experienced by many.

DSC08148Arts and Craft Fair. Tens of thousands descended on our hamlet for the annual Hillsboro Arts and Craft Fair. Some say 40,000+.  The streets were lined with booths, parking was at a premium, and people came from all over the United States.  My job was to greet people at the door of the food booth that was sponsored by the Tabor Women’s Auxiliary which served verenike, sausage, zwieback, and moos.  People came licking their chops and left rubbing their stomachs.  This is a day when groups and families from all over the nation come to Hillsboro to meet, enjoy the fair, and catch upon each others lives.  I met one group that had people from California, Colorado, Texas, and Kansas gather for the weekend and take in the fair.  My thanks to Edith Regier, Betty Fruechting, Beth Cox, Debbie Allen, and Peg Glanzer for all the planning and organizing that they did to make it a success.  And to the many volunteers who worked so hard to raise money for a special project at Tabor.  In the past they have purchased chairs, banners, office furnishings, Christmas lights, china, outdoor lighting, and many other improvements.  This year it will be a new ice cream freezer for the cafeteria.  Churches from both the Central District and Southern District provided the verenike, moos, and zwieback.  Sausage came from Dale’s, and Vogt’s. Even the president’s granddaughter got in on making verenike.

Adams House Reunion Adams House Reunion. For five years, Tabor alumni who lived in Adams house have gathered to reminisce and reconnect.  This year it was in Hillsboro.  At Tabor, one makes friends for life.

Stadium Christening.  The new Joel H. Wiens Stadium and Reimer Field was christened with two soccer games on Friday and a football game on Saturday.  manny2The stands were almost full for the football game.  Tailgating parties in the parking lot.  The Bluejay suite hosted the USD 410/Tabor College Task Force that worked so hard in building the stadium along with the USD 410 School Board.  The game was a hard fought contest with Tabor coming out on the short end of a 41-37 score.  At halftime we remembered Marcus Manny, the player who was tragically killed in a car accident last year.  His family traveled to Hillsboro to witness the first game on the field.

Hillsboro, home of Tabor College and a place that people love to visit.