Circle Magazine Spring 2008

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n Family Literacy Day Held in Rose Park Belmont’s Eighth Annual Family Literacy Day took place this year in the Edgehill community that neighbors campus. The event, which is aimed at elementary school children and their families, celebrates the joys of reading with a free afternoon of interactive story times, crafts and games.

Spring 2008


From the President At Belmont University, I am thankful to say there is no shortage of success stories. Every day our students and alumni are accomplishing, in big and small ways, this university’s mission of engaging and transforming the world. Naturally, what sometimes appears to get the most attention are those stories that make major news headlines. Looking back on the spring semester, yet again Belmont University has claimed its share of the national spotlight. Our men’s basketball team captured the world’s interest with their fantastic NCAA Tournament game against Duke. While the Bruins suffered a heartbreaking one-point loss, they walked off the court as true victors in the eyes of all who watched. Also, the 2008 Town Hall Presidential Debate continues to be a source of excitement with nearly 3,000 members of the media expected on campus this fall, not to mention this country’s next President. Plans are well underway for academic programming, special debaterelated music performances and theatre productions and voter registration drives to immerse our students and our city in this historic event. However, there’s so much more happening at Belmont than what winds up in the media. Members of our community are making their presence known behind the scenes as well, as you’ll see in the following pages. For example, sociology students are working to share the broader perspective they’ve gained through a Restorative Justice class held in a Nashville prison. Alumnus Al Allen, who recently spoke to current students on race issues, works frequently with inner-city ministries. Dozens of students spend their Spring Break each year doing mission work, and this March found many of them building houses under a hot Florida sun with Habitat for Humanity. Plus, numerous campus organizations and athletic teams volunteer to read to elementary school students in the neighboring Edgehill community. These are just a few examples of the thousands of ways Belmont’s past and present students are transforming the world on a daily basis. We treasure all of these stories, and they all deserve to be celebrated. As you read this issue of Circle, I hope you take as much pride as I do in how well these stories reflect the heart of Belmont University. Sincerely,

Dr. Robert C. Fisher

Circle Credits University Administration President Bob Fisher Provost Dan McAlexander Vice President for Presidential Affairs Susan West Vice President of Finance and Operations Steve Lasley Vice President for Administration and University Counsel Jason Rogers Vice President of University Advancement Bethel (Bo) Thomas, Jr. Vice President of Spiritual Development Todd Lake

Magazine Managing Editor April Hefner Designers April Lyons Glenda Dahlhauser Josh Wilkerson Sara Spencer University Photographer J. Michael Krouskop Contributing Photographers Andrea Hallgren Brian Korosec Rob Lindsay Justin Veneman Images on p. 10, 19-21, 24, 29 courtesy of iStock Photo

Contributing Writers Sarah Davis Greg Sage Amanda Wheeler Production and Distribution Coordinators April Lyons Veronica Smith Circle magazine is published biannually for alumni and friends of Belmont University. Editorial content, graphic production, printing and distribution are coordinated by the Office of Communications. Address changes and alumni notes should be directed to the Office of Alumni Relations. Third-class bulk postage is paid at the U.S. Post Office, Nashville, TN. Direct inquiries and comments regarding Circle magazine content to: Belmont University Office of Communications/Circle magazine 1900 Belmont Blvd., Nashville, TN 37212 (615) 460-6645 or Belmont University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer under all applicable civil rights laws.



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nB ruiser lights up the night at the annual

Homecoming bonfire.

Table of Contents 2 From the President

14 Being Belmont

4 The Race for the White House Runs Through Belmont University

16 Campus News

6 Oh So Close! Bruins Battle Duke at NCAA Tournament

22 Belmont Achievers

8 Belmont Celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday with Series of Events

28 Spiritual Development

10 Sociology Class Looks at Life on the Inside On the cover: Photo illustration by J. Michael Krouskop

20 Community Involvement 26 Belmont Athletics 29 Calendar of Events

12 Music’s in the Air

nD r. Fisher greets Spring 2008 Valedictorian Melanie Murphy


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With time rapidly ticking toward the 2008 Town Hall Presidential Debate on Oct. 7, Belmont University is busy planning special debaterelated programming for the upcoming academic year for Belmont students and the local community. Most notably, award-winning documentary filmmaker Ken Burns and bestselling author and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner David McCullough will appear on campus as special guests. In addition, a task force of faculty and staff from Belmont, Vanderbilt University, Tennessee State University, Volunteer State Community College, Trevecca University, Aquinas College and Nashville State Technical Community College has formed to create opportunities for city-wide learning centered on Belmont’s role as a presidential debate host site. A variety of speaker series, visual and performing arts programs, and activities and events are already slated for the 2008-09 school year with more to be announced soon. Belmont is also planning several opportunities for students to actively participate in the democratic process, such as viewing parties for the series other debates and a post-debate mock election on campus. The Belmont Student Government Association has already begun voter registration drives this spring at a variety of on-campus concerts and programs. For additional information, see the calendar on page 29 or The Honorary Host Committee for the 2008 Town Hall Presidential Debate was recently announced and is made up of 52 distinguished individuals with national, state and local stature. Marty Dickens, chairman of the Belmont Board of Trustees and retired president of AT&T, serves as chair and Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and president of Curb Records Mike Curb are the committee’s honorary chairs. n

Alum Develops Debate08 Web Site Belmont’s Debate08 Web site

was created by local Nashville

company centre{source}, which just happens to employ 2004 Belmont graduate Chip Hayner as Director of Technology. Hayner, an Honors student who majored in Digital Media Studies, came to centre{source} three years ago and has led the charge on developing Hayner said, “Studying Digital Media at Belmont was perfect preparation for my career as I learned how to use cutting edge technologies in new and creative ways. It’s my hope that the site will be an easy to use resource of information, but also a great example of the class and style that Belmont represents.”

The Race for the White House Runs Through Belmont University

The Belmont debate site features news, programming information and campus updates for the Belmont community, neighbors and up-to-3,000 members of the media who are expected on campus this fall. Centre{source} is a full-service Interactive Strategy firm, delivering results in strategy, planning and execution of Internet-related initiatives. The 20+ member company also employs two other Belmont grads: Director of Business Development Evan Owens (2005, BA in Vocal Performance) and Interactive Strategist Aaron Briggs (2003, BA in English). More about the firm can be found at n


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Bruins Catch Nation by Surprise with Phenomenal NCAA Tournament Performance

Showcasing the heart of a champion and putting the madness into March, Belmont men’s basketball came within one basket of recording one of the greatest victories in college basketball history. After leading several times in the second half, the Bruins fell to second-seeded Duke in the NCAA Tournament first round, 71-70. Making its historic third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance representing the Atlantic Sun Conference, Belmont drew its third straight iconic college basketball program in the “Big Dance” after playing UCLA in 2006 and Georgetown in 2007. But the Bruins kept it close throughout the game, winning more and more crowd support as the game went on. Behind by one, the Bruins collected a rebound and called timeout with 2.1 seconds left to play. Needing to go the length of the court, junior Will Peeples threw a solid baseball pass to senior Justin Hare at midcourt, who turned and fired a running 40-footer at the horn. The shot to win was nearly on target, but rimmed off to the left. Head Coach Rick Byrd said, “It’s tough to come that close and not win. I’m so proud of our team and our players; I wouldn’t feel any better or be any prouder of them if the score would have been in our favor.” Byrd wasn’t alone in extolling the praises of the Belmont men’s basketball team as media coverage was extensive, with hundreds of hits, including coverage by the New York Times, Washington Post, the Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, Newsday, ESPN,, and, among countless others. Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski said, “We played against a team that played an amazing game. They’re a very good team… I’ve coached in 89 [NCAA Tournament] games now. I told the guys, as far as game pressure goes, this had to rank in the top three or four, and hopefully the people at Belmont take that as a real compliment because they should be complimented.”

nA lex Renfroe

Bob Knight, the winningest College Basketball Coach in NCAA History and a current ESPN College Basketball Analyst, added, “I think Belmont would have given most anybody in the country trouble the way they played.” Belmont (25-9) finished its finest season with a program-best 25 victories, including beating Jacksonville for the A-Sun title and wins over Cincinnati and Alabama. Perhaps most delightful for the home crowd were two “Battle of the Boulevard” wins against cross town rival Lipscomb University, a classic double overtime win 99-91 on Jan. 12 and a 74-65 home court victory on Feb. 22. n

nA ndy Wicke


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nB yrd (C) congratulates Krzyzewski

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For the 11th year in a row, Belmont celebrated the anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birth with a series of programs designed to honor the civil rights leader and to educate the community on issues of diversity. In addition to numerous classes across the curriculum examining King’s life and impact, a number of special events were held in mid-January for MLK Week. “Our Journey” by Michael Walker combined poetry, song, dance and drama to recount and celebrate Black history. The performance, which was directed by theatre alumna Crystal Jones, began with the civilizations of ancient Africa and ran through the late 1960s. “My heritage has nothing to do with skin. My heritage is Members of the Black Student Association and the Belmont Theatre Program participated in as a son of God... I celebrate the production.

Martin Luther King not as a black man or a great American. I celebrate him as someone who looked at the impossible and went after it. He dreamed a dream that was God’s dream, and he lived, sacrificed and died for it.” ~Al Allen (‘96)

MLK Week’s keynote speaker this year was Dr. Renita J. Weems, a nationally-renowned theologian who has been celebrated by Ebony magazine as one of America’s top 15 preachers. In addition to her “United/Divided by Faith” keynote, she also led a panel discussion with area ministers who shared their experiences with diversity. Alumnus and Athletic Hall of Famer Al Allen (’96) returned to Belmont to offer “A Christian Perspective on Race.” Allen illustrated how Jesus accepted the woman at the well and freed her from the bondage of rejection. In a similar fashion Allen recalled an experience in his own life that reminded him, “My heritage has nothing to do with skin. My heritage is as a son of God... I celebrate Martin Luther King not as a black man or a great American. I celebrate him as someone who looked at the impossible and went after it. He dreamed a dream that was God’s dream, and he lived, sacrificed and died for it.”

Finally, nationally known speaker and advocate for the poor Dr. John Perkins challenged his Belmont audience to build community. “Justice is understanding who owns the earth while injustice is about enslaving and exploiting people for your own aggrandizement,” Perkins said. n

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Luther King, Jr. Holiday with Series of Events Spring 2008


Sociology Class Looks at Life

on the Inside

The class begins in a most unusual fashion. The 40+ members gather in a circle and are asked to finish this sentence in one word: “When I think of this class, I think of….” The answers vary, but the themes have a familiar ring. Community. Freedom. Hope. Love. Repentance. Friendship. Of course, this class really began nearly 30 minutes ago when half its members pushed their shoes into an x-ray machine, walked through a metal detector and submitted to a thorough pat down from prison guards. This is Sociology 2990—Restorative Justice, a three-hour course held on Thursday nights at Nashville’s Charles Bass Correctional Complex. Here, students from Belmont University and American Baptist College meet weekly with Insiders, fellow students who are also inmates at this minimum security facility. Piloted in 1997 in Philadelphia, the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program was established to create a partnership between institutions of higher learning and correctional systems in order to collectively tackle issues of crime and justice. A decade later, more than 3,500 inside and outside students nationwide have participated in the program. Sisters Glenda Lingo (Parents in Prison) and Rev. Janet Wolf (American Baptist College) adapted the national Inside-Out curriculum for Tennessee and initiated the first Inside-Out course in the Southeast in 2005. Dr. Andi Stepnick, chair of Belmont’s Sociology department, teamed with Wolf and Lingo last year to introduce Belmont students to the program. Stepnick, who recently submitted a proposal that would expand Belmont’s involvement beyond the


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single Sociology course, said that the course’s objectives include evaluating the criminal justice system and exploring the idea of restorative justice. “Restorative justice is about trying to restore all of those who have been harmed by a crime—the victim, the offender, their families and the broader community.” It’s an approach that appears to be a first step to personal transformation. One Insider noted, “This class gives me great inspiration. It lets me know that life’s not over because of the mistakes I have made. I still have a chance to make a difference in this world.” The outsiders’ passion is evident as the class divides up to discuss their final group projects, innovative plans to support insiders’ reentry into society. One group is developing a Job Fair, while another provides a curriculum for a 15-week Life Skills class. The final group has designed an infrastructure for a formal Accountability Team. The discussions that ensue are testament to the education that’s occurred. One Belmont student writes, “This class has meant some hard work, some re-thinking of my prejudices and of my definition of justice. Justice is not met by beating an enemy, killing a murderer or stealing from a thief… Justice begins when all parties involved in a crime begin to see the wrong that has been done. Justice reaches its height when restitution has been made to the fullest extent possible and community is formed: brothers and sisters standing together deciding they will give these things called love, forgiveness and life one more go, and they will do it together.” n

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usics in the Air The School of Music and the Mike Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business receive major gifts

Music is always in the air at Belmont University, where the shady quad in the center of campus is as littered with guitar cases and sheet music as it is with Frisbees and books. Nearly half the students at Belmont aspire to be a professional musician or to work in the music industry. This spring, those students’ dreams received a new surge of energy thanks to generous benefactors. The semester kicked off with news that Belmont’s innovative songwriting major had won scholarship support from both the ASCAP Foundation, the charitable arm of the music publishing powerhouse, and Lee and Ageleke Zapis, a couple that has long supported musicians and music educators. A few weeks later, a $25,000 check was presented to Belmont at the annual “Best of the Best” showcase by the alumni, family and friends of Bob Mulloy, the former faculty member who is credited as being the vision and drive behind the university’s renowned music business program.

n Pianist Kory Caudill and other student musicians lit up the stage during

The largest music-related gift announcement this semester also occurred, appropriately, during an evening concert, this time showcasing the College of Visual and Performing Arts during the annual President’s Concert. There, Belmont

President Bob Fisher presented the 2008 Applause Award to Steinway & Sons and announced Belmont’s intent to become an “All-Steinway School” with the purchase of approximately 70 additional Steinway pianos. The purchase was made possible by a gift of more than $2 million from the Merrydale Woods estate, a bequest which will also provide endowed scholarships for future piano students. Belmont is one of only 88 schools world-wide to have the distinction of being an All-Steinway School. Of course, the event which likely attracted the most local attention this semester was February’s sold-out “Belmont University Presents Nashville Celebrates Elvis” concert, which benefitted the Cecil Scaife Scholarship Endowment for the Music Business program. A host of artists—including Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Wanda Jackson, B.J. Thomas, Pat Boone and Wynonna, among others—took the historic Ryman stage alongside friends and bandmates of Elvis Presley. Speaking of musical talent, the “2008 CMT Music Awards” were broadcast live for the third straight year from Belmont’s Curb Event Center this spring. Hosted by Billy Ray and Miley Cyrus, the “2008 CMT Music Awards” kicked off with a special “red-carpet” broadcast of the various artists arriving at the venue on Belmont Boulevard. Fans lined the streets and the steps leading to the Maddox Grand Atrium to get a first-hand glimpse of their favorite performers, including Belmont alumni Josh Turner and award winner Brad Paisley, who also performed live on the show with the legendary Hank Williams, Jr. n

the annual President’s Concert and Applause Award presentation to Steinway; (center) senior Mary Maples made her second appearance in the Commercial Music Showcase.


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nM usical theatre students danced the night away during the spring

production of Thoroughly Modern Millie while the Best of the Best showcase put students Jordan Kyle (top right) and Shea Raye (bottom right) in the spotlight.

Spring 2008






Author James Loewen Speaks at BURS James Loewen, author of the gripping re-telling of American history, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, spoke on campus in April as part of the Belmont Undergraduate Research Symposium (BURS). There were 220 students who participated in more than 135 presentations in 32 concurrent sessions across campus, representing research in more than two dozen subjects across the academic spectrum from Biochemistry and Molecular Biology to English and History to Accounting and Classical Voice. n

Scarlett Leadership Institute Hires Executive Director

Marc Broussard Provides ‘Insider’s View’ of Music Business

Long-time retail executive Jerry Brase was recently named Executive Director of the Scarlett Leadership Institute. Brase comes to Belmont after a 32-year career in retailing, including the last 10 years at Tractor Supply Company. The Scarlett Leadership Institute at Belmont University offers a wide range of executive education and leadership programs. n

Recording artist Marc Broussard shared his music business experiences with students at a spring Insider’s View seminar in a packed Massey Performing Arts Center. Hosted by Director of Development and Major Gifts Harry Chapman, the event opened with a viewing of Broussard’s video for hit single “Home,” from his 2004 major label debut on Island Records, Carencro. Broussard noted that his new label deal on Atlantic, a 360 deal, reflects current trends in the music business as Atlantic is invested in every aspect of his career. n

Belmont Receives $10 Million Donation from Johnson Estate Grammy-Winning Composer Joan Tower Visits Belmont The School of Music honored 2008 Grammy-winning composer Joan Tower in March, weeks after her Made in America work won a Grammy for Best Classical Contemporary Composition. Hailed as “one of the most successful woman composers of all time” in The New Yorker, Tower’s visit included a morning lecture as well as an evening performance by Belmont Camerata Musicale in celebration of her 70th birthday. Four Belmont School of Music Faculty members played on the Nashville Symphony Orchestra’s recording Joan Tower: Made in America, which also won two 2008 Grammys, Best Classical Album and Best Orchestral Performance. n

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Belmont University recently announced the receipt of more than $10 million from the estate of the late Ed and Bernice Johnson, long-time friends of the university. For 16 years, Ed and Bernice Johnson ran a neighborhood gas station on Belmont Boulevard. During the Depression, the couple often helped Herman Lay keep his potato chip trucks on the road by allowing him to pay on credit. In 1948, Lay offered the Johnsons a chance to buy stock in his company. The couple’s initial investment of $8,000 grew exponentially with the company, which is now part of Frito-Lay and Pepsi-Co Inc.

Belmont Celebrates National Recreational Sports & Fitness Day As part of the Beaman Student Life Center’s celebration of National Recreational Sports & Fitness Day, David Griffin from Season 4 of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” reality weight-loss show was on campus this spring with D1 Sports Training Head Coach Mark Sutton to talk about his weight loss struggles and successes. Other activities during the day included a 5K walk/run, climbing wall competitions, nutritious giveaways and free blood pressure screenings and massages. n

Spring Commencement Breaks Record Belmont’s spring 2008 commencement was the university’s largest commencement to date with a total of 654 students receiving degrees. In total, 546 undergraduate, 96 master’s and 12 doctoral degrees were conferred. n

Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “It should come as no surprise to anyone to discover the generosity of the late Ed and Bernice Johnson, a couple who believed in and supported a friend even in difficult financial times. Their remarkable philanthropic spirit will now benefit a new generation of students and future leaders.” n

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School of Pharmacy Awaits First Cohort Dr. Philip E. Johnston, Dean of Belmont University’s School of Pharmacy (BUSOP), has completed the hiring process for the necessary faculty/staff team for the 2008-09 academic year. Anticipating a full first class of 75 students, the BUSOP program currently has 10 full-time faculty members in place, all of whom boast impressive credentials in education, research and practice. In addition, the American Council on Pharmaceutical Education (ACPE) conducted a scheduled three-day site visit on campus in April. ACPE is the official regulatory body that accredits all colleges of pharmacy in the United States, and the site visit is the last hurdle (BUSOP) must clear before seating its first class in August 2008. Results of the ACPE visit will be announced this summer. n

Tompkins Offers Insights on Value of Journalism in a YouTube World Veteran journalist Al Tompkins, a member of the New Century Journalism (NCJ) program’s Advisory Board, kicked off the Spring 2008 NCJ Speakers’ Series with a talk titled “If Everybody has YouTube, Why Do We Need Journalism?” In addition to giving voice to the voiceless and holding the powerful accountable, Tompkins also showed how journalists act as watchdogs on a local level. “Journalism is so important that it’s the only constitutionally protected profession. I don’t much care how we deliver it… the act of journalism is at the core of democracy.” Other speakers for this semester’s NCJ series included Lillian Dunlap and Andrew Thornhill offering “The Digital Television Report,”’s Jennifer Sizemore and’s Malik Singleton. n n Award winner (L)

Olinda Richard and McDonald (R)

Awards Stack Up for College of Business Administration in 2008 2008 has been a huge year so far for Belmont’s College of Business Administration (COBA), with numerous awards being given to programs, students and faculty. For starters, the Entrepreneurship Program was selected by the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) as the winner of the National Model Undergraduate Program. COBA Dean Pat Raines said, “Recognition as the national model validates our highly engaged approach to entrepreneurship education and firmly establishes our program as one of the best in the country.”

Several COBA students won significant prizes in the International meeting of Delta Epsilon Chi, the collegiate division of DECA, which seeks to develop future leaders in marketing, management and entrepreneurship. Belmont teams placed as the top two winners in the three-day Entrepreneurial Challenge competition and held five of the top 10 finalist spots, with student Kevin Jennings also landing first place in the Business Plan Competition. Meanwhile, junior entrepreneurship major Andy Tabar was a semifinalist in two national business start-up contests, and the Fifth Annual Spirit of Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development (S.E.E.D.). Tabar is garnering notice for his company Bizooki Inc., which has created Web site tools that enable niche social networking. n

Belmont Hosts Gulf-South Summit on Service Learning

In addition, the undergraduate School of Business achieved a Top 100 national ranking in BusinessWeek’s third annual report on “The Best Undergrad B-Schools” in the U.S. Belmont (No. 89) and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville (No. 93) were the only two Tennessee programs to make the list. The BusinessWeek report went on to single out Belmont for achieving high student satisfaction with its entrepreneurship and music business programs. For the third year in a row, the Students in Free Enterprise Team (SIFE) won first place in the southeast regional SIFE competition. SIFE is an international organization that mobilizes university students to make a difference in their communities while developing the skills to become socially responsible business leaders. The Belmont team was also third runner-up at the semi-final level and first runner-up in the market economics area in this year’s national competition.

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Bryce Sullivan Named New Dean of College of Arts and Sciences Belmont University has named Dr. Bryce Sullivan the new dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Prior to joining Belmont in June, Sullivan served as chair of the Department of Psychology and Director of the interdisciplinary Gerontology Program at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE).

n Tabar

“I am very excited to be joining the Belmont community,” Sullivan said. “The College of Arts and Sciences presents an unparalleled opportunity due to its centrality to the university’s vision of bringing together the best of liberal arts and professional education.” n

More than 400 faculty, students and community partners from higher education institutions throughout the south and east gathered in March in Nashville for the sixth annual Gulf-South Summit on Service-Learning and Civic Engagement in Higher Education. Hosted by Belmont University, the Summit featured workshops and addresses by national leaders in service-learning. Associate Provost, Marcia McDonald, said, “Service-learning is central to Belmont’s vision, and to the vision of many universities in the Nashville area, for a meaningful university education.” Belmont University faculty provided presentations on emerging Social Entrepreneurship programs, the Engaged Scholars program, the longstanding partnership with Carter-Lawrence School and the service-learning study abroad trip to South Africa. n

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Local High School Students Participate in Belmont Science Labs

The Tennessee Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation for the first time this year held its annual Nashville Arthritis Walk on the Belmont University campus. The event supports public awareness and raises funds to fight the nation’s leading cause of disability.

High School Physics Day was recently held on campus as 20 students from Cheatham County High School visited Belmont’s School of Sciences department for chemistry and physics demonstrations and two hours of lab experience. The students performed lab experiments alongside Belmont students and faculty members Dr. Robert Magruder, Dr. Christian Thomas, Dr. Scott Hawley and Dr. Steve Robinson. n

Belmont’s School of Pharmacy fielded a faculty, staff and student team for the event and challenged Lipscomb’s Pharmacy team to enter the walk and raise more money. When the results were tallied, Belmont School of Pharmacy’s team raised $2,745, taking a slim lead over Lipscomb’s team of walkers. More importantly, together the two schools raised nearly $5,000, well above their combined goal of $1,500. In addition, the Belmont physical therapy team raised nearly $600 for the Arthritis Foundation. n

Homeless Exhibit Photos at Belmont

Dr. Fisher Co-Chairs Mayor’s Project for Student Success


Thanks to an idea developed by Belmont University students, a Mobile Loaves and Fishes Photography Exhibit was unveiled on the Belmont campus recently. The exhibit displayed photographs taken by many of the homeless and working poor people from the streets of Nashville and sought to raise awareness about issues of hunger and homelessness.

Belmont University President Dr. Bob Fisher and Nashville Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors are currently serving as co-chairs for Mayor Karl Dean’s Project for Student Success, a 40-member group convened to develop action steps to reduce the dropout rate of students in area public schools.

Mobile Loaves and Fishes (MLF) is a growing social outreach ministry to the homeless and indigent working poor that seeks to provide food, clothing and dignity to those in need. MLF started its Nashville relief efforts in summer 2007, and before long, Belmont’s Sociology Department had signed on with a commitment to lead the way in providing volunteers.

“I have had numerous conversations with both the vice mayor and President Fisher about reducing the dropout rate, and they share my deep desire to give every student that comes through our public school system a chance to have a future and to be a productive citizen in our city,” Dean said. n

Student Cash Forshee said, “We wanted to create a project that would bring reality to the Belmont community, acknowledging the enormous differences and surprising similarities, as privileged students, that we share with the homeless. n

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Nashville’s Largest Latin Street Fair Returns to Campus Belmont University presented the fourth annual “Fiesta Belmont: Nashville’s Latin Music Street Fair” in May, celebrating the traditions of Latin culture. Made possible through the generous contribution of Sam’s Club, the street fair featured a day-long schedule of Latin music performances, Latin food vendors, games, activities for children and Latin dance groups. Net profits from the event will benefit local Hispanic programs and scholarships administered through the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. n

CEMB Hosts Fourth Annual Leadership Music Digital Summit The Mike Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business recently hosted the fourth annual Digital Summit, which was presented by the Nashville Chamber of Commerce and Leadership Music. In just three years, LDMS has become one of Tennessee’s largest music-related summits. The 2008 LMDS featured more than two dozen speakers presenting conference sessions, including U.S. Congressman Marsha Blackburn, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, CEMB Dean Wes Bulla, artist Matt Wertz, producer Jay Joyce and numerous representatives from record labels, publishing, broadcasting and finance, among others. n

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Massey Associate Dean, Two Students Receive Fulbright Awards Dr. Joe Alexander, associate dean of The Jack C. Massey Graduate School, will spend part of this summer in Japan through an award from the Fulbright Scholar Program, the U.S. government’s flagship academic exchange program. “As one of the world’s largest national economies, Japan continues to play a significant role in shaping global business practice,” Alexander said. “I hope to further strengthen Massey’s graduate business programs through this experience.” Belmont maintains one of the few graduate business programs in the U.S. to require an international study-abroad experience for each of its graduate students. In addition, two of Belmont’s graduating seniors— Megan Dittmann (Honors Program German major) and Nick Ashburn (double major in German and Political Science)—were awarded grants for 2008-09 for teaching and study in Austria by the Austrian Ministry of Education, sponsored by the Fulbright Program. n n D enver & the Mile

High Orchestra

n Parry

n Bell (L) and Dan McAlexander (R)

Alumni Finish Strong on ‘Next Great American Band’ School of Nursing Recognized as Laerdal Center of Educational Excellence

In addition to Belmont’s School of Nursing, other centers recognized by Laerdal this year included facilities at Harvard, Texas A&M, Maryland and Oregon.

The School of Nursing was recently recognized by Laerdal Medical Corporation, a leading provider of healthcare solutions and products, as a Center of Educational Excellence. Centers selected for the award reflected consistent performance, a quality program and a commitment to continual improvement.

Belmont’s state-of-the-art nursing labs are equipped with human patient simulators, digitalized video, bedside computer charting, electronic supply scanning and static mannequins. The labs are designed to reproduce realistic practice settings. n

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Two bands with Belmont connections made it to the Top Three on FOXTV’s “Next Great American Band” reality competition, a sister show from the producers of “American Idol.” Most of the members of Denver & the Mile High Orchestra, which came in third place, are Belmont School of Music alumni, and sax player Chris Gregg is the son of School of Music’s Robert and Sharon Gregg. Also, Robb Houston, frontman for Nashvillebased band Sixwire, which won second place in the competition, is a 1985 Music Business grad. n

Faculty Receive Awards at Spring Commencement At spring commencement assistant professor Pam Parry, public relations program director, was awarded the 2008 Presidential Faculty Achievement Award, and Marty Bell, professor in the School of Religion, was honored with the Virginia M. Chaney Distinguished Professor Award. The Presidential Faculty Achievement Award focuses on the outstanding contributions faculty members make to student life outside the classroom, while the Chaney Award goes to a faculty member for outstanding classroom presentation, high quality advising and significant contributions to church and civic activities. n

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Chatham Named 2008 Recipient of AT&T Real Yellow Pages PR Scholarship Junior Anna Chatham was recently named the second recipient of the AT&T Real Yellow Pages Scholarship in Public Relations. AT&T Advertising & Publishing is supporting Belmont University’s public relations program with a five-year scholarship commitment, with the inaugural award given last year. Chatham, a junior public relations major and native of Burns, Tenn., has a strong grade point average and is a member of Belmont’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and the Phi Mu fraternity. She also serves as an intern with the Senior University Events Coordinator and has been a Belmont Ambassador and Tower Team Leader. n

n Austin (L)

Freshman Lands in Top Three of National Video Contest Freshman finance major Landon Austin was selected in January as one of three finalists from 352 video entries for the MySpace/Doritos “Crash the Super Bowl” Music Video contest. Austin’s original performance video for his song “Waitin’” was filmed in his Pembroke dorm room, and the one-camera shoot catapulted him to the top three in online voting. Austin and the other two finalists received a trip to a Super Bowl XLII viewing party in Phoenix, Ariz., as well as a cash prize and a limited distribution deal with Interscope Records. n

New Book by Fishers Offers Insights from Hospice Patients

Belmont Grads Gain Momentum for Philanthropic Web Site Alumni Sam Davidson and Stephen Moseley (‘98) met while working in the nonprofit sector in Nashville. Seeing first-hand how community needs were changing and being affected by technology, the two joined forces to launch philanthropic Web site The site provides informative articles with concrete steps and suggestions on how to make an impact in a small amount of time. Supplementing the content is CoolPeopleCare’s very own “Act Locally” events calendar that lists any event that makes the world a better place. Malinda Moseley (‘97) oversees management of the calendar listings. The site has also recently launched its first spin-off,, managed by Michelle Wright Andrade (‘03). CoolMomsCare content is modified to offer ideas and suggestions for ways parents can teach their children to make a difference. n

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n Olds (L) and Turner (R)

PT and OT Students Serve in Guatemala An eleven member team of Belmont University students and faculty served rehabilitation hospitals in Guatemala over Spring break. The group provided physical and occupational therapy to meet the needs of the local hospital as well as trained the hospital staff in up-to-date techniques. One student wrote, “The cultures of scarcity and plenty were brought home to us when the therapist showed us a piece of IV tubing that they were using as a therapy tool. Throughout the trip I realized that there are many things that transcend language and cultural differences such as a smile, the joy of holding a child, basketball, candy, a desire to help, dancing (both on and off the table), laughter and most importantly God’s love.” n

Cal Turner, Howard Olds Speak on Different Kind of Leadership A long-time supporter of Belmont University, retired Dollar General CEO Cal Turner Jr. and his pastor, Rev. J. Howard Olds, shared their insights on leadership and decision-making in a recent convocation session. He and Olds co-wrote the new book Led to Follow: Leadership Lessons from an Improbable Pastor and a Reluctant CEO. Turner said, “We hope (this book) will help liberate you from trying to figure out what you’re supposed to do... Life is about figuring out who you’re supposed to be.” n

Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher and his wife Judy recently released a new book, Life is a Gift: Inspiration from the Soon Departed (FaithWords), that features a collection of interviews and lessons learned from 104 terminally ill patients of Alive Hospice in Nashville. Twenty-five percent of the authors’ royalties will go to Alive ( During the course of their interviews, the Fishers spoke with a wide range of terminal patients of all ages and socio-economic backgrounds. Though each person had a unique story, each accepted death as an unavoidable fact. All of the 104 patients the Fishers interviewed have since died. Alive Hospice President and CEO Janet Jones said, “What a gift this book is to all of us about how to live our lives to the fullest. Bob and Judy Fisher’s ability to lovingly be present during these conversations and allow the individuals to express their core feelings and then grasp them in the story is nothing short of miraculous.” n

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n Jacob Buckman

Student-Athletes Win A-Sun All-Academic Trophy for Record Sixth Time

Rick Byrd Signs Contract Extension

Though often shining as stars in their respective sports, Belmont studentathletes are proving that education is still their top priority as numerous teams and individuals garnered academic accolades this semester. For the sixth time in its seven-year history as an Atlantic Sun Conference member institution, Belmont earned the conference’s All-Academic Trophy. Further cementing its reputation for achieving athletic and academic success, Belmont saw an astounding 161 of its 229 student-athletes receive All-Academic honors. In addition, three Belmont teams were honored nationally by the NCAA in its annual Division I Academic Progress Rate (APR) Public Recognition Awards. Belmont men’s basketball, men’s soccer and men’s tennis each ranked in the top 10 percent within their respective sports. Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “This is what I really love about Belmont’s athletic program: No matter what the scoreboard shows at the end of a competitive contest, we know that we’ve ‘won’ by playing with class, giving our very best, exhibiting good sportsmanship and doing all of this with scholar-athletes who will leave Belmont and make significant contributions to meeting the needs of the world.” Along with recent APR recognition, five times in school history a Belmont team has earned the top GPA in the nation for its respective sport. This past fall, Belmont men’s cross country was recognized by the U.S. Track & Field Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) as having the highest overall team grade point average (GPA) in the country at 3.57. For the 2007 fall semester, Belmont Athletics had a department GPA of 3.254, which is the highest for the fall semester in the department’s Division I era. Also, every Belmont team had a team GPA of over 3.0 for the first time in the Division I era with the top three team GPAs coming from Women’s Cross Country (3.619), Women’s Golf (3.538) and Men’s Golf (3.503). n


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n Ayres

Alum Signs with Major League Soccer Team

Men’s basketball coach Rick Byrd recently agreed to a five-year contract extension. Byrd, who with 541 career victories is one of only 15 active Division I men’s basketball coaches with 500 or more career victories, was named 2008 Atlantic Sun Conference Coach of the Year.

Hare, a highly-decorated guard on the Bruins’ three-time defending Atlantic Sun Champion men’s basketball team, was one of only three men’s basketball student-athletes in all divisions of intercollegiate play to receive an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. The Cleveland, Tenn. native graduated with honors in May and will attend Lincoln Memorial University’s Osteopathic Medicine program this fall.

“Any and every success that our basketball program has enjoyed, credit must begin with Rick Byrd,” Director of Athletics Mike Strickland said. “Coach Byrd stands for all that is good in college athletics, challenging, teaching, and inspiring his players. This is an exciting time of growth and achievement for our program, and we could not imagine anyone else on the sidelines for Belmont.” n

Hare ranks second in the Bruins’ NCAA era and eighth in Atlantic Sun Conference history in career points with 1,761 points. Known for lategame heroics with 14 career game-tying or game-winning shots, Hare was also the lead figure in Belmont’s three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic AllAmerica University Division Men’s Basketball First Team. “My college experience here at Belmont has been storybook,” Hare said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better athletic or educational experience. I have truly been blessed at Belmont.”

Former Belmont University soccer standout Jay Ayres has signed to play for the San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer. Ayres, a central defender, was a two-time A-Sun Conference Defensive Player of the Year, a two-time A-Sun Conference First Team selection and an All-South Region player. The Valrico, Fla. native was a four-year starter and a two-year captain at Belmont. Moreover, Ayres, who graduated this past December with a degree in accounting, was a three-time Academic All-Conference honoree and a finalist for a coveted NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. “We are all very proud of Jay, and his success is an example of the quality coming out of Belmont Soccer and the Atlantic Sun,” Belmont head men’s soccer coach Earle Davidson said. “MLS is the soccer equivalent in the United States of the NFL or the NBA. To have one of our players graduate and go directly into the top level of soccer in our country is a tremendous accomplishment.” Ayres signed a developmental contract and was in uniform April 3 as San Jose opened its MLS regular season against David Beckham and the Los Angeles Galaxy. The Major League Soccer Season runs from April through the end of November. n

Likewise, Weaver departs as one of the most accomplished studentathletes in Belmont history. A multiple individual and team champion in cross country and track, Weaver saved her finest performances for her senior campaign. After lapping the field at the A-Sun Cross County Championship and placing fifth at the NCAA South Region meet, Weaver posted the best individual finish ever by a Bruin runner at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in November. Moreover, Weaver was named to the United State Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Academic Team. The Nashville native graduated with honors in May, earning degrees in exercise science and marketing.

Belmont Says Farewell to two class acts Senior Student-athletes Justin Hare and Lauren Weaver each received the Presidential Scholar-Athlete of the Year award at the athletic department’s annual Scholar-Athlete Reception in April.

“Through all the ups and downs of my college experience, I have discovered things about myself that I otherwise would not have,” Weaver said. “In fact, the various challenges and opportunities of being a student-athlete at Belmont are treasures I will hold onto and take with me wherever life leads me next.” n

Spring 2008




Author Jim Wallis Speaks on Faith and Politics New York Times-bestselling author Jim Wallis brought his message on politics, religion and justice to campus in April, speaking on the topics addressed in his new book The Great Awakening: Reviving Faith & Politics in a Post-Religious Right America. The event included an in-the-round concert by acclaimed and Grammy-winning Nashville singer songwriters Ashley Cleveland and Marcus Hummon prior to Wallis’ address. Wallis noted that it will take a revival of faith to spark social change: “Our choice is between hope and cynicism. Cynicism becomes a buffer against commitment. Hope, however, is a choice you make, a decision because of faith.” n

Fall 2008 Campus Calendar The schedule below, which includes a number of special programs celebrating the 2008 Town Hall Presidential Debate, is subject to change and additions; check or for current information.

Students Serve on Spring Break Mission Trips

Aug. 8: Summer Commencement

While pursuing the Christian faith and meeting the needs of the world are pivotal parts of Belmont’s mission, it’s still amazing to see how many students are willing to give up their Spring Breaks to serve others. This year teams traveled to a number of different locales, including New Orleans, New York, Mexico, the Appalachian Trail, Guatemala and Pensacola, Florida.

Sept. 3: Citizenship and Faith, Dr. Tony Campolo

Aug. 27: First Day of Classes

Sept. 8: Classic American Rock Drumming, Zoro

In Pensacola, a University Ministries’ mission team put faith into action on a Habitat for Humanity build and were profiled in an article in the Pensacola Journal. n

Oct. 14: Concert of American Classics, Belmont Symphony Orchestra

Sept. 16: Rock ‘N’ Roll History, Barry Drake

Oct. 22: Faith-Informed Political Science, Dr. Vaughn May

Sept. 25: Pizza, Pop and Politics, students and faculty debate hot topics Sept. 26: Media Responsibility in an Election Year, John Seigenthaler


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Sept. 26: Ole Miss Debate Watching Party

On Feb. 16, a Belmont Disaster Relief Team consisting of numerous faculty, staff and students drove to Union University to aid in the clean up from devastating tornados. In addition to this team’s hands-on work at the site, B.U. supported its fellow Tennessee campus through the donation of funds and gift cards, benefit concerts and prayer services for Union’s recovery. n

Oct. 7: 2008 Town Hall Presidential Debate

Sept. 13: Freedom Sings, a multi-media experience

Sept. 24: The Media and Religion, Barbara Bradley Hagerty

Belmont Offers Support to Union

Oct. 6-8: Fall Break Oct. 13: American Popular Songs, Commercial Voice Faculty

Sept. 18-28: Arabian Nights

A Lutheran minister with a master’s degree from the London School of Economics, Rev. David Beckmann came to campus this spring offering perspective on business and the poor as well as his life as a “missionary economist.” President of Bread for the World, a grassroots Christian movement against hunger, Beckmann encouraged students to connect their faith and ethics to their future professions, saying, “You can go into business with a purpose, a moral purpose... If we think God is concerned about justice and poverty, then we need to weigh in on those issues.” n

Oct. 1: What I Wish to Say to the Future President, Sheryl Oring

Sept. 9: The Cheating Culture: Ethics and Democracy, David Callahan

Sept. 17: The American Empire and the Kingdom of God, Dr. Stanley Hauerwas

‘Missionary Economist’ Gives Insight on Business and the Poor

Oct. 1: Jesus for President, Shane Claiborne

Sept. 30: Telling the American Stories, Ken Burns Oct. 1: The American Flag Revisited, an exhibit of student art projects

Oct. 23-Nov. 2: Biloxi Blues Oct. 24: Classic American Jazz, Belmont Jazz Band Oct. 28: James Loewen Oct. 29: How Would Jesus Vote?, Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner Nov. 26-28: Thanksgiving Break DEC. 6-7 Christmas at Belmont Dec. 9: Last Day of Classes Dec. 10: Academic Preparation Day Dec. 19: Winter Commencement Mar. 19, 2009: Beginning a Presidency, David McCullough

Spring 2008


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