The 112th Commencement of Tabor College was the first of its kind. Students of the class of 2022, including 124 undergraduates (online and on-campus) and 49 from graduate and online, were honored in separate ceremonies with their family and friends.
A significant increase in graduate and online enrollment marked the college’s second year of holding commencement in Richert Auditorium, located in the Shari Flaming Center for the Arts.
David Janzen took part in his first commencement as Tabor president and between the two ceremonies welcomed more than 1,000 guests to campus.
Alistair Robertson, a 1984 Tabor College graduate, gave the keynote address at both ceremonies. Serving in social work for nearly 40 years, Robertson spoke of God’s calling into the profession and what has been an award-winning career. After living in Kansas from 1981 to 2002, he has spent the last 20 years at Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera, California.
Robertson’s speech, “A Life’s Journey of the Weird and of God’s Grace,” centered around God’s hand in his story. A native Californian, he recalled coming across a Campus Life magazine that featured a full-page advertisement for Tabor College and its social work program. Wanting to work with those battling mental health, Robertson took it as his door to his career.
“This is my passion, joy and ministry,” Robertson said. “My prayer for each graduate is that you’ll find your passion. What brings you joy? Integrate your spiritual gifts into your work, so that work becomes a place of worship and that you live a life of purpose with gratitude.”
Toby Penner, Whitewater, Kan., gave the undergraduate address, highlighting the many accomplishments and memories of the class of 2022. He challenged his classmates to not let their collegiate accolades be their defining moment.
“So often God speaks to us through other people and it’s important we open ourselves to new relationships wherever we go next,” Penner said. “We need to also continue to learning. Don’t get me wrong, a college degree is an amazing accomplishment and something that we should be very proud of. If we leave Tabor thinking that we have nothing else to learn, we will miss valuable lessons God wants to teach us in the coming days, months and years. We need to make Jesus the center of each day. Not each Sundays or holidays, each and every day.”
Chris Dick, professor of English and faculty chair, presented honor cords. President Janzen presented diplomas, and Rod Hamm, director of alumni relations, provided each graduate with a Bible.
Senior class president William Boney, Frisco, Texas, gave the graduating class response.
“I’ve learned a lot here at Tabor College, and most of what I’ve learned is that we are all different in some way,” Boney said. “We have students here from all over the United States, and even from all over the globe. We have students who are the first in their families to graduate from college and I’ve got to meet so many different people from different cultures, and I’m forever grateful for that. Tabor gives students opportunities that bigger schools couldn’t.”
The Tabor College Concert Choir performed “Celebrate” by Keith Hampton, featuring solos by Betsy George, Omaha, Nebraska, and Jessica Klein, Bel Aire, Kansas. The Tabor College Symphonic Band provided the prelude, processional and recessional.
Senior class representatives Analeisa Bejarano, Tucson, Arizona, gave the invocation and Lindsay Rader, Joplin, Missouri, read Scripture. Melinda Rangel, assistant professor of business, gave the benediction.
Amy (Lautt g’01) Ongstad spoke on behalf of the Graduate & Online students at the afternoon ceremony. A part of the inaugural cohort for the M.Ed. in Neuroscience & Trauma, Ongstad emphasized the relationships they formed through this breakthrough program.
“We have shared our joys and struggles, cheered each other on, prayed for each other, and dared to be vulnerable,” Ongstad said. “We hoped to find acceptance in our weaknesses. Our lives have been woven together through our time at Tabor, and the connections we’ve made here will remain long after we finish.”
Henri Ngolo, Dayton, Ohio, and a graduate class representative from the MEI Program, gave the invocation and Dwight Rahming, Nassau, Bahamas, graduate class representative from the MBA Program, read Scripture.
President Janzen presented graduates with their diplomas. Hooding ceremonies were conducted by the director of each graduate program: Mark Posson, director of nontraditional & business programs, assistant professor of business; Rick Bartlett, director of theological education and associate professor of ministry; and David Stevens, M.Ed. program director and associate professor of education. Bartlett explained the significance of the regalia.
Mark Posson, director of nontraditional and business programs and assistant professor of business, gave the benediction.
The following degrees were conferred among the 173 total graduates: Bachelor of Arts,
Bachelor of Arts-Online, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Social Work, Associate of Arts, Master of Business Administration, Master of Education in Neuroscience & Trauma and Master in Ministry Entrepreneurship & Innovation.
Tabor College is the Mennonite Brethren college located in Hillsboro, Kansas. The mission of Tabor College, founded in 1908, is to prepare people for a life of learning, work and service for Christ and his kingdom.