July 21, 2024

Legacy in their Lives: Retired Dan Tymann Reflects on 18 Years at Gordon 

Anne Shearer '24

Last week, Dan Tymann picked his two grandkids up from school. Still transitioning into retirement, he’s looking forward to more moments like this with his grandkids, kids, and wife of nearly 40 years. However, he and Mrs. Tymann (known to many students as “Mama T”) also hope to maintain an active part in the lives of their many adopted children at Gordon. 

Dan Tymann retired February 2nd after serving Gordon for 18 years. During his career at Gordon, Tymann was Executive Vice President of various offices: first Advancement, then Marketing and Communications, Technology, and eventually Student Life (among others). He was the Chief Head and Chief of Staff under Gordon’s previous president, Michael Lindsay. Most recently, Tymann worked as Special Assistant to President Michael Hammond. 

Tymann’s retirement came after months of prayer and spiritual conviction that it was time to step down. His transition to being Special Assistant to the President anticipated this change, as it provided time to consider what was next. Tymann said, “I just realized that the Lord had other things, just general things for me to do. I turned 65 this year and figure I have another 10-15 years in me working wise, and it just seemed like it was a good time of transition for me at Gordon.” 

Taking time to pray and seek prayerful advice from others also granted Tymann space to reflect on some proud moments at Gordon. Career-wise, he noted his first assignment at Gordon: leading the $33 million fundraising campaign to build the Ken Olsen Science Center. He began the project without any fundraising experience. He ended it proud of his team— and proud of “seeing that go from just drawings and plans to this beautiful building that is so important to the campus,” he said. Tymann also values the relationship he still has with Ken Olsen’s family.  

Another career high for Tymann was growing the Admissions Office from 2012-2016. Enrollment was suffering, so Tymann brought in coworkers from his time as Gordon’s Executive VP of Technology. “We made some significant changes that I think really impacted the college long-term,” he said. With improvements to data processing, financial aid, and quality of visit events, Tymann’s team significantly raised enrollment. “Enrollment is always a challenge,” said Tymann, “but the time period where we were focused on it, that was really an exciting time.” 

However, Tymann also recalled low points working at Gordon. “Any of the times when I was involved in having to downsize staff . . . was a really hard, hard, hard time,” he said, noting the “reprioritization” of 2019 in which Gordon eliminated some majors and fired some faculty. Tymann said he dealt with those times in the same way he’s processing his retirement: plenty of prayer and “trusting the Lord and making the decisions that had to be made.” 

Though he’s closing his professional career as a Gordon staff member, Tymann’s love for Gordon remains. “I consider Gordon my alma mater, even though I didn’t graduate from Gordon,” Tymann remarked. He and Mama T plan to continue their ministry caring for people they’ve met at Gordon. “I don’t think there’s a week . . . that I’m not on a Zoom call with a former student from somewhere around the world,” said Tymann. 

He also noted plans to visit campus once a week to spend time with students. He and Mrs. Tymann see them as God’s provision after medical issues kept them from having more than one child. “We always had a real heart for young people,” said Tymann, “and the Lord just blessed us with so many in our lives through Gordon.”  

In a Chapel service honoring the Tymanns on January 31st, Abby Durkin ‘24 introduced Tymann saying, “many of us have had the privilege of being adopted into their spiritual family of sorts.” Durkin said Tymann has encouraged her with prayer in painful times. She remarked, “Dan knows the people that he prays for well because he prays for them so deeply.” Even for those he doesn’t know well, Tymann says, “trying to at least remember students’ names has always been something that’s important to me.” 

As Tymann continues in this unofficial role of ministering to students, he also looks forward to more family time and church ministry. Lately, he said, “my wife and I really are spending a lot of time with just getting a deeper understanding of prayer and especially really though the Holy Spirit.” They see this as central to how they serve others. 

Tymann has spent recent weeks reflecting on his time at Gordon. He appreciates Psalm 77 in this time, he said, because it begins with lament and questioning God. But as it continues, the psalmist “ends up praising the Lord for his provision and his care and always being present.” Tymann feels this reflects his situation. He’s grappled with the decision to leave, but said that having people honor his work is a “redemptive thing.” 

More important than Tymann’s institutional work at Gordon is the relational impact he’s had. He said, “I don’t see my legacy as being something that maybe even 10 years from now people at Gordon will even know who I am, because I see that happen all the time.” Rather, “I hope it’s in the lives of graduates . . . that there’s something about our relationship . . . that has impacted their life for the good as it relates to their walk with Christ.” 

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