Speaker tells TC students to take risks


Tabor College alum James Wiebe, a Hillsboro native now living as an entrepreneur in Wichita, addresses Tabor?s 99th graduating class Saturday.


Eric Weinbrenner, from Hillsboro, received his diploma from Tabor College President Jules Glanzer at Saturday?s commencement.

Constructed on the Kansas prairie by faithful risk-takers a century ago, Tabor College persevered through a fire that destroyed the main campus building and overcame the Great Depression that closed its doors for a year to become the college it is today.

In the same spirit, James Wiebe, who himself overcame a failed business and bankruptcy to become a successful entrepreneur, challenged the newest graduates of Tabor College to trust God and take more risks during these uncertain times at the college?s 99th commencement exercises Saturday.

In his keynote address, titled ?Reinvention,? Wiebe, a 1979 graduate of Tabor and a Hillsboro native who lives in Wichita, said Christians are called by God to take inspired risks.

He commended his mother, professor emeritus Katie Funk Wiebe, a prolific Mennonite Brethren author who taught English at Tabor for 24 years, for ?reinventing herself? after the sudden death of her husband, Walter, in 1962.

?We all have strong incentives to reinvent or change ourselves, from risk-less and complacent people into dynamic people who are willing to take risks,? Wiebe said. ?We do this by considering what we?ve been given and by not letting the struggles of life tear us down.?

After his computer business failed in bankruptcy in 1996, Wiebe and wife Kathy created a new company, WiebeTech, which became a major supplier of digital forensic equipment to law enforcement, including the Secret Service and the FBI.

After that company sold in 2008, Wiebe launched a new endeavor in the field of aerospace composites.

?The point I?m trying to make here is that we have all sorts of things happen to us in life,? Wiebe said. ?We have happy events. We get married. We start a career. There?s joy. A father dies. A mother excels. She changes, she reinvents. Then we have a bankruptcy. We have a business success. We have a new, thoughtful start.?

Tabor President Jules Glanzer conferred 95 bachelor degrees and two associate degrees on students from the Hillsboro campus. Thirty-one bachelor of science and bachelor of science-nursing degrees were awarded to students from the School of Adult and Graduate Studies in Wichita.

The Professor Fran Jabara Leadership Award was presented to seniors Joe Wuest, Ridgecrest, Calif., and Meghann Eblen, Leavenworth. Each received a cash award and a plaque in honor of leadership skills demonstrated during their time as Tabor students.

Wuest delivered the graduate address on behalf of Hillsboro campus students and Marissa Boese, a student in the BSN program from Hutchinson, spoke on behalf of students from the Wichita campus.

In an emotional tribute, the younger brother of Marcus Manny accepted a bachelor?s degree awarded posthumously to the popular student-athlete from Dallas, Texas, who died in an automobile accident Feb. 22 during the final semester of his senior year.


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