Compelled by grace. Called to obedience. Christ in us. These three phrases were the theme for the inauguration of David S. Janzen as president of Tabor College and will serve as a springboard for his presidency. The Sept. 24 ceremony celebrated what God has, is and will do for the greater Tabor College community.
The evening’s dinner kicked off the festivities, bringing members of Janzen’s family and friends together with local governing bodies and members of the Tabor board of directors and administration.
Shirley V. Hoogstra, president of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, spoke at the dinner, expressing her well wishes for Janzen and Tabor on behalf of the more than 180 institutions within the CCCU.
“The CCCU is here for you, David,” she said. “It takes a special heart of service to take the mantle as college president. You already have had a big life and made contributions and innovations. As a college president, are going to get to add to that collection of wonderous things.”
Hillsboro mayor Lou Thurston and President Emeriti Larry Nikkel and Jules Glanzer also spoke at the dinner.
The evening ceremony, following dinner, brought Janzen’s business, family and educational ties to the Tabor campus. Classmate Bryce Unruh (g’91) served as the evening’s emcee.
Serving as one of five members of the evening’s greeting litany, Natalie Ford (Fort Collins, Colo.) spoke on behalf of the student body.
“As student representative to the board of directors, it is my honor to welcome you on behalf of the student body,” Ford said. “This campus has afforded me great opportunities to grow academically, spiritually and athletically. The ability to share with each other in how God has gifted us is a very unique thing to Tabor. We the students look forward to partnering with you as you implement your vision here at Tabor College.”
Janzen selected Mike Jordahl, senior vice president of The Navigators (Colorado Springs, Colo.), as the ceremony’s keynote speaker. The two met while Janzen completed his master’s degree at the University of Kansas (1991-93).
Jordahl spoke of their relationship, admiring Janzen’s heart for the Lord and for people.
“David, my prayer for you is that under your leadership, Tabor would send out many answers to Jesus’ prayer request,” Jordahl said. “That people will experience how much Jesus loves them, that they’ll love him back and to live out and be the disciples and followers that he wants.”
The Tabor College Concert Choir performed “Sun, Rain, Wind,”a poem penned by Jean Janzen. The music was composed by R. Christopher Teichler, director of instrumental music at the college.
Three of the college’s former presidents were present for the inauguration. Vernon Janzen (1980-87), Nikkel (1999-07), and Glanzer (2008-21) each spoke a word of blessing or read Scripture over the college’s newest president.
President Emeriti Nikkel and Glanzer presented the presidential medallion to Janzen. The medallion features the college seal as well as the inscription “All Glory be to Christ our Lord.” It expresses the community’s complete reliance on Christ and recognition that whatever success Tabor College experiences is to his glory.
In his presidential response, Janzen spoke of the benefits of a Tabor education. His comments stemmed not only from his experience as a student (g’90) but show how he desires to equip students in a scriptural foundation.
“Tabor students live and learn in a context where the Bible, God’s word to us, is integrated in all aspects of the college,” he said. “For 113 years, students have come to Tabor where they learn in community from faculty that know and love God. They go out into the world not to just make a living, but to make a difference for Christ and his kingdom.”
Pastor Mark Isaac provided the evening’s benediction, highlighting a near 30-year “reunion” on stage. Isaac’s not only a Tabor graduate (g’84) but also was the officiant at the Janzen’s wedding as brother and brother-in-law.
“We stand beside David and Karen at this moment, giving our ‘amen’ to their yes,” Isaac prayed. “Trusting as they do with confidence to fulfill in and through them what you desire. Grant them compassion, courage, discernment, discipline, and determination. May they rest in the overflowing peace of you, Christ Jesus.”