Written by Don Ratzlaff Thursday, 27 December 2007 06:20Transitions are inevitable and usually for the better. But that doesn’t mean we can’t feel sad about them when they signal the conclusion of something that has been very good. That’s how we see the upcoming retirement of Tabor College President Larry Nikkel.
Of course, we congratulate him on a job well done, and wish him a long and healthy retirement because he so richly deserves one. But the truth is we’ll miss the positive outlook, congenial personality and organizational genius with which he guided Tabor College for almost a decade. So far as we know, he was universally respected and admired in the role he filled so ably.
President Nikkel is the first to admit he didn’t possess the academic credentials usually required of a college president. Maybe that’s another reason we admire him. He proved that effective leadership can’t be defined by one’s educational pedigree, even at an academic institution. It’s the intangible qualities of strong character, a caring heart and an insatiable desire for excellence that make for good leadership. Larry Nikkel could see a great future for Tabor College, and he helped the rest of us see it, too. Thank you, Larry. —DR