In tune with the times


Birds of a feather: Peg and Jules Glanzer are greeted by the Tabor College Bluejay after their arrival in late January. The official inauguration will be held at 7 p.m. May 9 at the college. Tabor College photo

On his first day as the new president of Tabor College, during an informal get-together with faculty and staff, Jules Glanzer pulled from his pocket a choir director?s pitch pipe and blew a note loudly enough for everyone to hear.

Smiling, Glanzer then made his point: ?As we work in harmony together, we will make beautiful music at Tabor.?

Glanzer and wife, Peg, seem to have struck the right chord on campus and with the larger Tabor community since arriving in Hillsboro from Portland, Ore. in late January.

Glanzer, a 1975 graduate of Tabor who will be inaugurated on May 9 as the 13th president in the history of the college, says returning to his alma mater ?has felt very much like a homecoming.?

?Everyone has been so welcoming and appreciative,? he added. ?I feel like they want me here, which is a wonderful feeling as I begin to serve in the presidential role.?

Smooth succession

Glanzer spoke to about 300 members of the Tabor constituency at the annual Presi?dent?s Dinner Feb. 15 at the new Hillsboro MB Church. He was introduced by outgoing Presi?dent Larry Nikkel, who served from 1998-2007 before retiring Dec. 31.

Nikkel told the audience, ?Jules?s agenda, style and urgencies may be different, but his heart is for the same things as mine; his commitment to an education that is ?Decidedly Christian? is the same as mine; and his passion for Tabor College is the same as mine. We believe that we have been prepared for him and that he has been prepared for us.?

During his after-dinner speech, Glanzer harkened back to his days as a Tabor student when he sang in and managed a contemporary group called ?The Commitment.? The group cut an LP record that Glanzer brought with him to show the audience. Everybody laughed when he held up the faded album cover, offering to autograph any copies that might still be around.

After showing his vintage vinyl, Glanzer held up an old 45 rpm record, an eight-track cartridge, a cassette tape, a CD, and finally, his new I-Pod.

?We?ve been through many changes in the way we listen to music,? he said. ?And just as we?ve all adapted to technological changes in the past, Tabor College must make changes to be relevant in the world in which today?s Tabor students are living, to prepare graduates for a digitally-driven society.?

A Blackberry-using, flash drive-carrying, I-Pod listening, personal blog-writing devotee of the Digital Age, Glanzer said he still loves the old gospel songs sung by Bill Gaither?s Home?coming singers. He has about 100 Gaither songs downloaded to his I-Pod.

Technology savvy

During that first assembly in the Tabor Chapel, Glanzer faced a small camera mounted atop a laptop and waved hello to faculty and staff at the School for Adult and Graduate Studies in Wichita, who were watching a Tabor College president speaking for the first time live in real time via broadband Internet.

Glanzer also is the first president of the college to have vidcasts of his speeches posted on YouTube and GoogleVideo.

The significance of Tabor inaugurating a traditional-minded, tech-savvy president on the same weekend as Tabor begins its historic centennial celebration is not lost on Tabor Board Chairman Lyndon Vix.

?Jules combines an understanding and appreciation of what has made Tabor great for the past 100 years with a vision for how it can be great in the next 100,? Vix said.

?Everyone who has spoken to me after meeting Jules or hearing him speak has been very enthusiastic about what he brings to Tabor.?

Personal background

Glanzer was born in 1952 in Mitchell, S.D., and grew up on a traditional Mennonite farm. He married Peggy Todd in 1972 while a student at Tabor College.

After graduating in 1974 with a bachelor?s in business administration, Glanzer earned a master's of divinity in 1978 from Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, Fresno, Calif., and a doctorate of ministry in 2000 from Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, Calif.

He was ordained by Salem Mennonite Brethren Church, Bridgewater, S.D., and later transferred to the Evangelical Covenant Church. His vocational ministry roles included youth director, associate pastor, pastor and church planter for the Mennonite Brethren denomination in Houston, Texas, and with the Evangelical Covenant. He was founding pastor of Faith Community Church, a creative seeker-driven missional church, from 1987-2001.

In 2001 he became sean of the seminary at George Fox Evangel??ical Seminary in Portland, Ore., where he led a 60 percent increase in enrollment, achieved financial stability, reshaped the Board of Regents, increased the endowment and scholarship funds, was instrumental in leading the seminary in hybrid programming and fostered a high degree of faculty morale.

At the same time, as associate pastor of pastoral leadership at the seminary, Glanzer taught courses such as ?The Practice of Spiritual Leadership? and ?Spirituality and Money? and served as faculty mentor and dissertation advisor.

Personal vision statement

Glanzer?s personal philosophy is reflected in his own vision and mission statement: ?To honor and trust God with my life by being a person of influence, inspiring and impacting with integrity and relevance the lives of those who will influence others.?

Glanzer desires to embody this credo as president of the college.

In his President?s Dinner speech, Glanzer said, ?I think the question I?ve been asked most often since assuming this role is, What is your vision for Tabor College? I have to tell you that the mission and vision of Tabor College is still the same; it will not change. The mission is still to prepare people for a life of learning, work and service for Christ and his kingdom, and our vision will still be the same: To be the college of choice for students who seek a life transforming, academically excellent, globally relevant and decidedly Christian education.

?I have a vision for Tabor,? he added. ?I want Tabor College to be the best college for the world…. I did not say the best college in the world. I said the best college for the world.

?I passionately and deeply believe that is already true. I believe that Tabor is, and I want Tabor to continue to be the best college for the world because the world needs to be influenced by the things of God.?

Post inauguration

In the weeks and months leading up to and following his inauguration, Glanzer plans to meet and greet as many constituents as possible, sharing his respect for the past 100 years and his vision for the next 100 years of the college.

Whether they listen to their music on LPs or iPods or on a technology in-between, people from all generations will appreciate the fact that, when it comes to preserving the mission and vision of Tabor, Glanzer sings from the same hymnal.

?I am hesitant to say exactly what our collective voices are going to sound like at this point,? he said, ?because more than anything else, I?d rather let the melody flow out of who we are in harmony with one another and with Jesus.?


This article was written by Grant Overstake, director of communications at Tabor College.

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