You know it?s been a good year when Tabor College President Jules Glanzer can?t limit his list of highlights to 14, much less a traditional ?Top 10.?
?I have a couple of bonus ones,? said Glanzer, referring to the list he had already shared.
One was the addition of best-selling author and American culture expert Leonard Sweet as a distinguished visiting professor and lecturer, and ?the incredible generosity of our people.?
On the former, Glanzer said Sweet?s latest book, ?Tablet to Table,? has the potential to expose possibly 50,000 or more book-buyers to the college.
?A lot of his books are six figures,? he said. ?So it?s possible that over 50,000 people will see Tabor College, and that this prolific author is a part of us. Who knows what that can do??
The generosity of Tabor supporters became clear with the announcement in December that the Mabee Foundation of Tulsa, Okla., would donate $1 million toward Tabor?s proposed $9 million center for the arts because donors made it possible to meet the Mabee funding deadline a month ahead of schedule.
Glanzer said some 820 people have contributed to the project so far, including 25 individual gifts of $100,000 or more.
Glanzer publicly announced the grant during a break in the college?s ?Messiah? performance.
?They clapped when we announced the million dollar gift, but they clapped even harder when we said in two years they?ll be hearing the Messiah in the new facility,? Glanzer said, ?It was kind of like, ?It?s really happening.? That really felt good. This is a popular people?s project.?
Glanzer said since the announcement, some $200,000 in additional donations has been designated for the project.
?It was people wanting to give to the fine arts center because they?re seeing that it?s going to happen?they?ve been waiting 48 years for this thing,? he said. ?It?s been a galvanizing project.?
Glanzer said Ron Braun, vice president of advance?ment, and his fundraising team ?has done a fabulous job.?
?The whole team just loves people,? Glanzer said. ?Yes, we?re raising money, but we?re also having a really good time hanging out with Tabor friends.?
Groundbreaking is targeted for commencement weekend, and the local building committee is working hard to be ready for it. Two Hills?boro supporters are leading the committee: Keith Harder as chair and Darrell Driggers as vice chair.
?They?re putting in lots of time,? Glanzer said. ?They almost have the design set to meet the needs that they have.?
Glanzer said progress on the fine arts center is an example of decisions enacted in 2014 leading to challenges for 2015.
?When I looked over the list (of highlights), they weren?t things that were looking back?they had impact for the future,? Glanzer said.
Among the examples he cited:
? Completing? the $16.2 million Signature Cam?paign. ?We still have over $3 million that we have to raise to complete the campaign?that is this year?s fundraising goal,? he said.
? Launching new academic initiatives, such as a new bachelor?s degree in criminology and restorative justice, and a ?four-plus-one? program that enables a student to earn a master?s degree in business administration with one additional year of study after earning a four-year degree.
?It will start us thinking more in the line of what other disciplines or majors could have a ?stay a fifth year and you?ll have a master?s? (option),? he said,
? Implementing the cooperative agreements Tabor has initiated with community colleges and other institutions.
?TCW has so much potential and has done quite well, but we signed all these agreements?what will happen with them and how will we implement them?? Glanzer said.
? Evaluating the impact of offering scholarships based on choice of major in addition to traditional academic scholarships.
?Like we give athletic scholarships on top of academic scholarships, we?re going to offer scholarships for majors,? Glanzer said. ?The jury?s still out on that. We are offering them this year, so we?ll know next year what happened with that and how good that is.
? Dealing with the federal government will remain an ongoing challenge. Glan?zer cited President Obama?s recent proposal to offer two free years of community college as one example.
?First, I don?t think it will pass,? he said. ?Second, it?s really a bad idea because it cheapens what a college degree is. Third, Tabor?s already doing it?you get four years for the price of two. It?s called scholarships. We just dole it out one semester at a time.?
Glanzer said he hopes one thing doesn?t change during 2015.
?Our relationship with the (Hillsboro) community is really good, and it keeps getting better,? he said. ?It will probably be tested with the building of this (fine arts center), because there are some things we?re going to need from the city.
?Right now, our relationship is really good and I look forward to it continuing to be good.?