Tabor landmark to come down
Tabor College alumni and friends have been notified that the Mary J. Regier building is slated to be razed later this year. School officials say the building has become too expensive to maintain, and renovating and bringing it up to code would be prohibitively expensive.
Completed in 1920, along with the current administration building, the top two floors housed female students and the lower floor was a dining room. It served various other purposes throughout its 98-year history, housing a music hall and computer and art programs.
Financing for the building was jump-started by a gift of an inherited $15,000 annuity from Mary J. Regier.
Peggy Goertzen, director of Mennonite Brethren Centre for Biblical Studies, wrote a biography, Mary J. Regier: A Life of Generosity.
Born and raised as a preacher’s daughter on a farm at Henderson, Nebraska, Regier was a 24-year-old charter student at Tabor when it opened in 1908 and was a member of the first graduating class in 1912.
One month after an April 1918 fire destroyed the original administration building, plans already were being laid for a new building. A local newspaper announced that Regier, then 34 years old, was determined to see a girls’ home built along with the new administration building.
Designed by the same architect, it was similar in style and material but not as elaborate. Both buildings were completed by April 1920.
“Mary’s vision was to foster the spiritual lives of young women,” Goertzen said. “She cared, and demonstrated that caring with action.”
Regier was matron of the “ladies’ home” for 20 years. She also was the founding president of Young Women’s Christian Association at Tabor and led workshops on prayer.
In 1955, Regier donated another $15,000 for books for a new library.
Fortunately, she won’t be alive to witness the demise of her legacy. She married Jacob J. Hiebert at age 65 and died Jan. 31, 1970 in Hillsboro.