Dr. Jules Glanzer to work in harmony with community

On his first day as the new president of Tabor College, during an informal get-together with faculty and staff, Dr. Jules Glanzer pulled from his pocket a choir director's pitch pipe and blew a note loudly enough for everyone to hear.

Smiling, Glanzer then made his point, As we work in harmony together, we will make beautiful music at Tabor!

One doesn't need perfect pitch to know that Glanzer and his wife, Peg, have struck the right chord on campus and with the larger Tabor community since arriving in Hillsboro from Portland, Ore., in late January.

Glanzer, who will be inaugurated Friday as the 13th president in the history of the college, says returning to his alma mater "has felt very much like a homecoming."

"Everyone has been so welcoming and appreciative," he added. "I feel like 'They want me here!' which is a wonderful feeling as I begin to serve in the presidential role."

Glanzer spoke to about 300 members of the Tabor constituency at the annual President's Dinner, Feb. 15 at Hillsboro MB Church. He was introduced by out-going President Larry Nikkel, who served from 1998-2007 before retiring Dec. 31.

During his after-dinner speech, Glanzer harkened back to his days as a Tabor student when he sang in and managed a contemporary group called "The Commitment." The group cut an LP record that Glanzer brought with him to show the audience. Everybody laughed when he held up the faded album cover, offering to autograph any copies that might still be around.

After showing his vintage vinyl, Glanzer held up an old 45 rpm record, an eight-track cartridge, a cassette tape, a CD, and, finally, his new iPod.

"We've been through many changes in the way we listen to music," he said. "And just as we've all adapted to technological changes in the past, Tabor College must make changes to be relevant in the world in which today's Tabor students are living, to prepare graduates for a digitally-driven society."

During that first assembly in the Tabor Chapel, Glanzer faced a small camera mounted atop a laptop and waved hello to faculty and staff at the School for Adult and Graduate Studies in Wichita, who were watching a Tabor College president speaking for the first time live in real time via broadband Internet. Glanzer also is the first president of the college to have vidcasts of his speeches posted on YouTube and GoogleVideo.

The significance of Tabor inaugurating a traditional-minded, tech-savvy president on the same weekend as Tabor begins its historic centennial celebration is not lost on Tabor board chairman Lyndon Vix.

"Jules combines an understanding and appreciation of what has made Tabor great for the past 100 years with a vision for how it can be great in the next 100," Vix said. "Everyone who has spoken to me after meeting Jules or hearing him speak has been very enthusiastic about what he brings to Tabor."

To understand Glanzer's personal philosophy, one needs to go no further than his personal vision and mission statement, which states: To honor and trust God with my life by being a person of influence, inspiring and impacting with integrity and relevance the lives of those who will influence others." He desires to embody this credo as president of the college.

In the weeks and months leading up to and following his inauguration, Glanzer plans to meet and greet as many constituents as possible, sharing his respect for the past 100 years and his vision for the next 100 years of the college.

Whether they listen to their music on LPs or iPods or on a technology in-between, people from all generations will appreciate the fact that, when it comes to preserving the mission and vision of Tabor, Glanzer sings from the same hymnal.

"I am hesitant to say exactly what our collective voices are going to sound like at this point," he said, "because more than anything else, I'd rather let the melody flow out of who we are in harmony with one another and with Jesus."