Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Palmer's Hall of Honor

For the fourth update to my blog’s Hall of Honor, I have just one inductee . . . Timothy Fuller. In the past, I’ve written about people such as Dan Crabtree, Greg Vaughan and Bill Katip.

For as long as I’ve known Tim, he has been in charge of enrollment at Houghton College in upstate New York, perhaps the most isolated college I’ve ever visited. It’s a school with a great heritage and strong academics, but it has to be a very challenging to maintain and build enrollment when there is no population base within any easy driving distance. In a way, I guess I can relate somewhat to that challenge since I also represent an institution that is kind of in the middle of nowhere.

Tim is universally respected by admission professionals, particularly in the world of Christian higher education. He’s served as a peer consultant to schools who are looking for insights into how they can more effectively manage their enrollment. I’ve seen the type of feedback that he has provided these schools. He’s able to give advice that is worthwhile but delivered respectfully.

Now Tim’s leaving Houghton, his alma mater, at the end of this school year . . . going to the “dark side” . . . instead of doing consulting from the goodness of his heart, he’s going to consult for a living, working for Performa. I’m sure he’ll do a great job there but I can’t help feeling that we’re all going to be somewhat the poorer now that he’s not based on a specific campus.

Having said all that about Tim’s professional competence, none of that really is why he deserves a place in Palmer’s Hall of Honor. Personally, it is Tim’s friendship that I’ve grown to appreciate very much over the last seven years, starting mostly when I joined the Cora! Cora! Cora! fantasy baseball league. I’ve appreciated the way that Tim has accepted me, has been transparent about the challenges he’s faced and has listened to my own frustrations. When I've looked into professional opportunities, he's been faithful to provide me with information that helped me make wise decisions.

I greatly appreciate Tim’s sense of humor and the way he doesn’t take himself seriously. He’s a gifted writer and his humor often comes out in the [incredibly lengthy] travelogues he creates.

A mutual friend and I were talking about Tim not too long ago. She speculated that some people may find Tim to be intimidating. Even though he stands 6’9” and weighs well in excess of 500 pounds, knowing this man, I find it hard to think that anyone would see him as an intimidator. But, on the other hand, if you’re someone who doesn’t like to hear the truth, then perhaps you won’t like being with Tim.

Tim has a great work ethic. It’s not unusual for him to work just atrocious hours but I respect the way he keeps things in perspective, particularly caring for his wife and kids. I know that when push-comes-to-shove, nothing on this earth is a higher priority than they are. I look to him as a role model in this regard.

Finally, I appreciate Tim’s commitment to his God. Without that, nothing else matters.

I love Tim Fuller and it’s an honor to me to call him a friend and be able to include him in “my hall.”

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