Tabor College celebrates 114th commencement

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On Saturday, May 4, students of the Tabor College class of 2024, including 130 undergraduates and 58 from Graduate & Online, were honored in separate ceremonies. Photo: Tabor College

Tabor College held two commencement exercises for the second time in the last three years. Students of the class of 2024, including 130 undergraduates and 58 from Graduate & Online, were honored May 4 in separate ceremonies.

The day helped commemorate record growth in graduate programs, with enrollment hitting 100 students in the 2024 spring semester. It was also the largest undergraduate class since 125 students received their diplomas in spring 2020. Graduating students represented 10 countries and 28 states.

Nearly 50 percent of Tabor’s graduates finished with academic honors, including 24 students who graduated Summa Cum Laude (3.85-4.00 GPA), 19 at Magna Cum Laude (3.70-3.84) and 20 at Cum Laude (3.50-3.69).

Five degrees were conferred among the 188 graduates. The M.B.A. is represented as one degree with multiple concentrations. Conferred degrees were:

  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Bachelor of Social Work
  • Associate of Arts
  • Master of Business Administration- Leadership
  • Master of Business Administration- Global Leadership
  • Master of Business Administration- Sports Management & Leadership
  • Master of Education in Neuroscience & Trauma

David Faber, professor of philosophy and religious studies, gave the keynote address at the morning exercise. Celebrating his 40th year on campus, Faber challenged students to “be peculiar,” understanding how their time at Tabor can help them stand out and build upon the foundation built as students.

“May you be peculiar people, whose faith is personal but not private, and political but not partisan,” Faber said. “Be peacemakers and not power-grabbers.”

Tabor College faculty member David Faber, who completed his 40th year of teaching at Tabor, was the 2024 commencement speaker. Photo: Tabor College

Grant Papenhagen, undergraduate senior class president from Firth, Nebraska, provided the graduating class response in the morning exercise. The Class of 2024 faced no lack of obstacles, having finished high school and starting college amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When we put our faith in God and trust in our abilities, we can be the best versions of ourselves,” Papenhagen said. “As I reflect on my time at Tabor, I reflect on times I saw myself grow in my faith, academics, and sport.

The Tabor Concert Choir performed in the morning, singing “My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord,” arranged by Moses Hogan.

Jerin Kliewer, a 2009 graduate, spoke as a member of the Graduate & Online students graduating class. Earning his M.B.A., he emphasized the foundation of spiritual leadership imparted by professors and what they want to carry forward.

“As I went through the program, learning more about my skills, motivations, and what kind of leader I want to become, I learned to lead as Jesus Christ led,” Kliewer said. “It made me a better husband, father, and better, stronger follower of Christ.”

Derek Hamm, associate professor of graphic design and faculty chair, awarded honor cords.  President David Janzen awarded each diploma. Graduate student hoodings were conducted by their program director: Melinda Rangel, Marvin Sellberg Professor of Business Administration & Entrepreneurship, for M.B.A.–Leadership; Amy Ratzlaff, associate professor of health and human performance, for M.B.A.- Global Leadership & Sports Management, and David Stevens, program director & associate professor of education, for M.Ed in Neuroscience and Trauma.

Stevens was selected as the keynote speaker for the afternoon exercise. After opening the M.Ed. in 2019, Stevens continues to attract a global audience. He challenged students to understand the opportunities their degree can afford them in the future.

“If you’re focusing all your efforts in your degree to making other people’s lives better, you will have a purpose-driven master’s degree,” Stevens said.

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