“I know of no person who better emulates with his life the joining of the spirit and the psyche,” said former seminary president and longtime friend Larry Martens, who introduced Nikkel at the ceremony, which was held during a two-day seminar at the seminary titled, “The Psyche and the Spirit.”
After receiving his bachelor’s degree in history and sociology from Tabor College in 1964, President Nikkel spent three years as a secondary school teacher before he left the field to work at Prairie View, a Mennonite founded behavioral and mental health hospital in Newton, a fulfillment of his obligation as a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War.
Nikkel served in a variety of roles at Prairie View, starting out as an administrative assistant and finishing in 1993 as executive director of four centers. In 1974 he earned his master’s in Health Administration (MPH) from the University of North Carolina.
From 1993 to 1998, Nikkel continued in the health field by taking positions as both director of member services at Mennonite Health Services in Lancaster, Penn., and later as CEO of MHS in Goshen, Ind.
Since 1998, he has been president of Tabor College. He will retire at the end of the year.