It’s no secret that 2017 was a big year for Tabor College. The evidence is in plain sight on the campus.
The long campaign to plan, fund and build the $13 million Shari Flaming Center for the Arts was essentially completed by year’s end.
Given the effort he invested from the start, it should surprise anyone that President Jules Glanzer put the dedication weekend of the facility at the top of his “Top 10” list for 2017.
“It’s gratifying, and we’re just full of thanksgiving for all the people,” Glanzer said. “What I didn’t realize was how significant this was for the people—the stories we heard from people waiting for this (project) to happen.
“To have over 1,100 people show up for the dedication weekend and ‘Messiah’ tells you a little something about how people were thinking about it.”
While the first weekend of December was the highlight of the year, Glanzer said he is grateful that the state-of-the-art facility is in the final “punch list” stage.
“It took more time, more money, more energy, more leadership then we thought it would,” he admitted. “We just decided we weren’t going to cut back any more than we absolutely had to.”
Glanzer said the generosity of Tabor supporters around the country enabled the college to complete the project debt-free. That was Glanzer’s No. 2 highlight.
“It will be debt-free when all the pledges are paid,” he said. “There are pledges that have to come in yet, and some verbal promises will happen in the next couple of months yet. When we close the books on it, all the bills will be paid.”
Glanzer said more than 3,000 donors contributed to the campaign.
“They opened their hearts and their pocket books,” he said. “We had people who gave us checks who told us, ‘I know I won’t see it, but I know Tabor needs this.’”
Glanzer added that community support from the Hillsboro community itself was overwhelming.
“That’s what’s so neat about this building—$3.7 million was given by 67063 (Hillsboro’s ZIP code),” he said. “That’s a significant message from the community to Tabor. Giving the building back to the community for it’s use is what we want to see happen.”
Glanzer said the “giving back” will range from offering the facility for community projects and concerts, to opening the new Adrienne’s coffee bar in the lobby for general-public use during the week.
THE BEST OF THE REST
The Shari Flaming Center for Arts absorbed the first two highlights of the year, but Glanzer had plenty more achievements to fill his Top Ten list.
NO. 3: Accreditations. During the calendar year, Tabor was reaffirmed for accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission. In addition, the social work program was accredited by the Council on Social Work Education; the nursing program was reaccredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, as was Tabor’s Master of Science in Nursing program.
“That speaks to the quality of the education here,” Glanzer said. “Normally, that would be at the top of the list, but not this year.”
NO. 4: Record enrollment. Tabor’s student enrollment reached an all-time high this fall with 770 students participating on campus or online.
“What drove that number so high was our dual credit program,” Glanzer said. “That was something we intentionally got into because we saw all the colleges around us were coming to Hillsboro and taking all that business from us.
“So, we do it here (Hillsboro) and we have a high school in Wichita (Trinity) that we do it with,” he said. “We’ll be adding more to it. We’re giving them a taste of Tabor—it’s a recruiting strategy. But officially, they are part-time students.”
NO. 5: Constituent generosity. Glanzer said Tabor supporters contributed more than $4.27 million during 2017.
“While this was driven by the facility, we also had a pretty strong up-kick in giving to scholarships, and our endowment has increased significantly,” Glanzer said.
“We’re almost at $10 million, plus what is also held by MB Foundation that is assigned to us. All together, that puts us around a $13 million endowment. We have a long way to go on that, but that’s what we want to do.”
NO. 6: Success in athletics. This year, Tabor College received the “Governor’s Cup” from the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference. The achievement recognizes athletic success across the various sports KCAC colleges offer.
“We didn’t expect to win that one this year because there’s two or three sports we don’t have,” Glanzer said. “We don’t have wrestling, we don’t have lacrosse and we didn’t have golf. But we still pulled it off because of all the conference championships we had.”
In 2017, Tabor announced it will begin a golf program for the 2018-19 school year.
Tabor also was recognized with the Learfield Directors Cup from the NAIA. The college was ranked 46th among the 260-plus schools based only on success in post-season play.
NO. 7: Gold status NAIA Champions of Character. Glanzer highlighted Tabor’s success beyond athletic competition.
“It isn’t that we’re just winning in competition, but character-wise and academic-wise, we did very well, too. We had a lot of athletic All-Americans and academic All-Americans.
“Our grade-point average of all of our athletes is 3.1 (on a scale of 4.0), and 15 of the varsity teams were recognized as scholar athlete teams. You have to have a 3.0 for that.”
NO. 8: Named a “Great College to Work For.” The Chronicle of Higher Education cited Tabor based on the results of a survey administered in spring and compiled by ModernThink LLC for The Chronicle.
“They have about a dozen character statistics, and we were listed as one of them,” Glanzer said. “It had to do with how we communicate and handle tenure. So our faculty, as they filled out that form, that was one that rose to the top.”
NO. 9: Launched Project SEARCH. Tabor College Project SEARCH aims to help people with disabilities develop work skills and social skills within the day-to-day workplace with the goal of enabling participants to enjoy a more fulfilling and independent future.
“That’s been a good thing,” Glanzer said. “We have three students who are involved in it right now, and it will be growing. It does a lot for the campus, and we want to treat them as full employees—and they work hard.
“It’s a partnership we have that we are part of the community.”
NO. 10: Student lives transformed. “I’m embarrassed that this is No. 10, but it happens,” Glanzer said. “It’s really a higher value involved in it, but it didn’t seem right to move it higher than 10.
“Student lives are still being changed and transformed,” he said. “We don’t always get it right—we live real life here. Everyone here struggles with the same things students struggle anyplace else. We try to make them into learning experiences.”