About 100 people turned out Saturday forenoon for the dedication and ribbon-cutting event for Harms Residence Hall at Tabor College.
The building was made possible by a donation from North Newton physician Wilmer Harms to honor the memory of his late wife, Esther. A long-time supporter of Tabor, Harms has contributed time, treasure and talents to the school.
In his remarks, Harms said former Tabor Larry Nikkel had first challenged the couple to “put their name on a building” by funding its construction.
Harms said he turned to his wife and said, “That will never happen.” But she had encouraged him to think of the challenge as a “seed”; in the end, they gathered the $160,000 needed to initiate the project.
The ribbon-cutting originally had been scheduled for February, but was postponed by a snowstorm. The 16-unit residence hall is located at 502 E. B St. Following the ceremony and ribbon cutting, the hall was opened for guided tours.
Harms is the founding chairman of the board of the Center for Mennonite Brethren Studies since its formation in 1975. He also is member emeriti of the Tabor College Board of Directors, having served on the board from 1978-1996.
Harms has written five books. At the dedication service , he introduced his most recent, an autobiography. As a student of Mennonite history, he has led several educational tours to Russia.