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Tabor College Appoints Six New Board Members

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By Tabor College

 

HILLSBORO, Kan. — The Tabor College board of directors has announced the appointment of six new members ahead of its 2024 spring meetings.

Joining this year: Norris Friesen (g’72), Aaron Garza (g’14), Vonda (Vetter g’91) Graf, Brian Harris, Noelle (Dick g’88) Jost, and Jerome Wichert (g’85). 

“On behalf of the Tabor Board of Directors, we’re excited to welcome these six new members,” Chair Susan Franz Koslowsky (g’84) said. “We’re so thankful for their heart and desire to serve the greater Tabor community.”

The new appointments come as Tabor says goodbye to a combined 119 years of service to the board of directors. 

Mark Jost (fs’79), Dean Nachtigall (g’68), Dennis Penner (g’69), Diana (Penner g’72) Raugust, Tim Sullivan (g’86), and Dick Unruh (g’65) were integral in Tabor’s growth and sustainability. The college is grateful for their commitment and vision in supporting its mission of preparing people for a life of learning, work, and service for Christ and His kingdom.

“We’re truly thankful for the service of these six individuals,” President David Janzen, Ph.D., said. “They’ve served significant roles in Tabor’s history, providing outstanding leadership for the college.”

Six former board members were also granted board emeritus status. This honor is bestowed after they’ve served 15 or more years. The group includes Penner, Raugust, Sullivan, Unruh, Darrell Driggers, and Loren Balzer.

Norris Friesen

Friesen (g’72) worked in numerous roles at Huntington University (Ind.), retiring after a 35-year stint in 2020. His leadership roles included but were not limited to dean of students and vice president for student development and academic affairs. He also taught German and psychology classes while working in the graduate counseling program.

He earned his B.A. in German and a secondary education endorsement from Tabor College. He played football and served as student council treasurer as a senior. He completed his M.S. in education and student affairs administration at Kansas State University before earning his Ph.D. in counseling and development from Purdue University. He has participated in philanthropic efforts around the globe, including over 25 service trips in North and South America. Friesen and his wife Grace have two children, Jared and Erin (Friesen) Krekling, and six grandchildren.

Garza-Aaron-

Aaron Garza

Garza (g’14) is in his second year as senior pastor at Bethesda Church in Huron, S.D. Before his current position, he also served as associate pastor at Mountain View Sunnyside in Fresno, Calif.

He is married to Justine (Langer g’14) Garza, and they have two children, August and Samuel. He was a member of the men’s soccer team at Tabor College. He graduated with a B.A. in Christian ministry and is a Ph.D. candidate in systematic theology and Reformation studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Before his doctoral work, he also earned his M.Div. and Th.M. at SWBTS.

Vonda Graf

Graf (g’91) and her husband, Mark (g’91), own and operate their family farm near Corn, Okla. They have started commercial fertilizing, spraying, and planting businesses since graduating from Tabor College.

She graduated with a B.A. in office and business administration and participated in band, choir, and Harvest Crew. Their children, Mitchell (fs’17) and Marissa (g’20) attended Tabor and played football and volleyball. They attend Corn Mennonite Brethren Church and have been youth sponsors for over 30 years.

Brian Harris

Harris assumed duties as USMB Southern District minister on Jan. 15. He previously spent 18 months as a national church planting mobilizer and 18 years as lead pastor at Pine Acres Church in Weatherford, Okla.

He earned his B.A. in Bible/Biblical studies at Moody Bible Institute and a master’s and doctorate from Grace Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Stephanie, have two children, Reagan and Macie.

Noelle Jost

Jost (g’88) and her husband, Doyle (g’89), own and operate a farm near Hillsboro, Kan. She also spent 24 years as marketing director at Presbyterian Manor in Newton, Kan. After graduating, she moved to Japan to teach English as a Second Language (ESOL) and also served as Tabor’s alumni director for almost eight years.

She earned her B.A. in business administration/economics and English & communications. She participated in student government (president as a senior), choral groups, and Harvest Crew in college. Tabor roots are deep in Jost’s family, including parents Bill (fs’65) and Vi (Wohlgemuth g’64) Dick, late husband Craig Dickinson (g’92), and son and daughter-in-law, Wyatt (g’20) and Emily (Kemling g’20) Dickinson. Her son Nash attends Hillsboro High School (Kan.), and she has two step-children, Sarah (Jost) Rathbone and Emily Jost.

Jerome Wichert

Wichert (g’85) farms and recently retired after 17 years as director of student financial services at Southwestern Oklahoma State University.

Wichert earned his B.A. in social sciences at Tabor College and received his M.P.A. in urban affairs from the University of Central Oklahoma. He and his wife Anita have three children, Caleb, Kelsey (Wichert) Wall, and Katrina (Wichert) Watkins.

For names and positions of Tabor’s current board of directors, please visit www.tabor.edu/board.
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