In accepting the gold Presidential Medallion around his neck, Glanzer, 55, a 1974 graduate of Tabor College, said, “I love Jesus; he is walking with me on this journey. I love Tabor College; my blood is blue and gold. I love a leadership challenge; there’s plenty of that around here.”
The inaugural evening, planned around the theme “Called to Serve and Chosen to Lead,” highlighted a weekend of activities marking the start of the 100th anniversary celebration of the college, which was founded in 1908 by members of the Mennonite Brethren and Krimmer Mennonite Brethren churches.
The inauguration was in the campus gymnasium, which had been transformed in appearance by college maintenance workers, who built a spacious stage platform and backdrop, and information technology staffers, who installed theater-style track lighting and a premium sound system.
The ceremony began with trumpet fanfare and a flowing, colorful procession of program participants. Among them were academic and denominational dignitaries and the entire faculty and staff of Tabor College.
Tabor students Andrew played a trumpet composition accompanied by the college symphonic band, under the direction of Richard Cantwell, professor of instrumental music.
The welcome and call to worship was led by Lyndon Vix, chairman of the Tabor College Board of Directors. Vix called the choice “the most significant decision that the board of directors faced as we approached our centennial.”
Glanzer began his on-campus duties in January, succeeding Larry Nikkel, who led the college for nine years before retiring at the end of the calendar year.
The worship portion of the program began with music from the concert choir, under the direction of Bradley Vogel, professor of choral music, with instrumental accompaniment.
Following the invocation by Wendell Loewen, associate professor of youth, church and culture, Glanzer’s nephew and niece, Nicholas and Heide Glanzer, current Tabor students from Abilene, read Scripture and a litany of installation.
Featured speaker Leonard Sweet, professor of evangelism at Drew University and distinguished visiting professor at George Fox University, then followed with the inaugural address.
Sweet has been voted two years in a row as one of the “50 Most Influential Christians in America” and is the author of more than 100 articles, 600 published sermons, and a wide array of books.
Sweet’s most recent book, “11 Indispensable Relationships You Can’t Be Without,” is dedicated to Glanzer.
In his address, Sweet presented Glanzer with a variety of spiritually symbolic gifts intended to enlighten his presidential trek, including a copy of the children’s book, “Dr. Seuss’s ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book.”
Borrowing from the letter G, Sweet said Glanzer would “Google goggles” to lead the college from the “Gutenberg world” into the digital age.
“Lord willing, Lord tarrying, the students who are walking the campus at Tabor today are going to live well into the 22nd Century,” Sweet said. “You think we’ve seen changes? We can’t prepare them for all the changes that will happen to them, but what you can do is incubate them in this missional, relational, incarnational gospel, to help them navigate whatever changes are coming their way.”
Before receiving the Presidential Medallion, Glanzer received affirmations from three former Tabor College presidents: Vernon Janzen (1980-87), H. David Brandt (1995-98) and Nikkel (1999-2007).
Nikkel, who wore the medallion around his neck until this point in the ceremony, handed the symbol of leadership to Vix, who then placed it around Glanzer’s neck, bestowing upon him the title of president.
Overjoyed by the moment, Glanzer stood at the podium and received applause for accepting a position he had not sought or applied for, but for which he was sought out by the school’s board of directors.
In his acceptance speech, Glanzer said his dream for Tabor College was that all graduates, faculty and staff would deeply and passionately love Jesus Christ and the church, that they would give themselves in meaningful service, and see their vocations as a way to “make the world the way God intended it to be.”
“Be they a teacher, doctor, financial tycoon, or a butcher, baker, candlestick maker, that they would give themselves in making the world right; so that the prayer we pray, ‘Your kingdom come, your will be done, in earth as it is in heaven’ would be more of a reality,” Glanzer said.
He added that he wants Tabor College to be “the best college for the world.”
“Not in the world, but for the world,” Glanzer said.
“In the past 100 years, we have had the opportunity to shape the lives of 5,000 graduates and 15,000 students, who have been sent into the world to make it a better place,” he added.
“It is not a stretch to envision that in the next 100 years there will be 20,000 graduates and over 50,000 students who will have had the Tabor experience.
“With that kind of impact, the world will be a better place. And what is so beautiful is that this is already happening. I invite you to join me on the adventure; continuing to make Tabor the best college for the world.”