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First Look


on the town Musical theatre students delighted crowds this spring with their performance of On the Town in Troutt Theater.

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From the President As you read this, 10 Belmont students and two faculty members are traveling cross country on a chartered sleeper bus on a quest to re-discover America. This trip, a “study-at-home” journey called “The United States in 40 Days,” incorporates sociological discussions and travel writing as the class attempts to answer the question, “What does it mean to be an American?” It’s a remarkable idea, one that we believe to be the first of its kind in higher education.You can follow them online by visiting As these students explore American culture, I find myself considering the Belmont culture, and how Belmont affects the identity of our students, parents, alumni, supporters, faculty and staff. What does it mean to be a Belmont Bruin? Flipping through the pages of this issue of Circle magazine, the answer to that question becomes a bit clearer. You’ll read about the impressive 40-year history of women’s basketball on this campus, a program that was started by our own Betty Wiseman, who’s still diligently and loyally serving Belmont students every day. You’ll see the creativity and compassion of our SIFE students, who are using their experiential learning to impact the next generation by sharing in local classrooms the children’s book they’ve written about an organic farmer. You will discover Belmont’s latest innovative efforts toward greater environmental sustainability, and hear the details of our night with Pulitzer Prize winner David McCullough, who captivated the audience and wrapped up our Debate08 celebration in a truly memorable fashion. At a recent celebration to honor Provost Dan McAlexander, who leaves Belmont this summer to become president of LaGrange College, Dr. McAlexander recalled how he and his wife, faculty member Celeste Myall, shared a cell phone texting code. Whether Celeste was impressed by the latest violin prodigy or Dan was meeting another future scholar, they’d text to one another, “GLB.” Gotta Love Belmont. It’s true. No matter your relationship to this university, it’s easy to see a multitude of reasons why you’ve just “Gotta Love Belmont.” As I witness the array of accomplishments, the diversity of studies, and the phenomenal people that comprise this campus, I’m certain that the Belmont culture, the Belmont spirit, can’t be easily defined or explained. Like the cross country road trip our students are taking, it simply must be experienced. GLB,

Dr. Robert C. Fisher, President

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 Glenda Dahlhauser April Lyons Sara Spencer Josh Wilkerson University Photographer J. Michael Krouskop Contributing Photographers, Terri Cannon, Alex Crawford, Tony Howell, Brian Korosec, Don McPeak, Bonnie Riechter, Becky Sapp, Austin Sauerbrei, Lindsay Sechser, Chris Speed, Jason Stahl, and Andrea Hallgren Images on cover and pgs. 6, 8, 10 and 12 courtesy of iStock Photo

Contributing Writers Suzanne Clement, Sarah Davis, Greg Sage and Jennifer Wetzel 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.


 elmont broke ground on June 17 for a new 103,000 B square foot freshman residence hall in the heart of campus.

Table of Contents 2 From the President

14 Being Belmont: Bruin Den Day

4 David McCullough Enchants with Final Toast to Historic Debate08

16 Campus News

6 Students in Free Enterprise Publish Book

22 Belmont Achievers

8 India Class Reveals a Land of Light and Dark

26 Belmont Athletics

10 Women’s Basketball Celebrates 40 Years

28 Spiritual Development

20 Community Involvement

12 Going Greener: Belmont Deepens Commitment to Sustainability


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David mcCullough

enchants with Final toast to historic Debate08

David McCullough, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and New York Times’ best-selling author, appeared to more than 3,000 people in the Curb Event Center arena March 30, enchanting them all with his charm, historical knowledge, educational philosophy and, surprisingly, even his singing. The crowd was populated by numerous special guests including Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, former Senate Majority Leader Dr. Bill Frist and McCullough’s wife, Rosalie. The event was the final keynote presentation in Belmont’s “Art of Being Free” lecture series celebrating the 2008 Town Hall Presidential Debate. Other Debate08 events for the spring semester included an Inauguration Viewing Party and campus appearances by Seven Futures’ speaker Erik Peterson and author Stephen Mansfield, who wrote The Faith of Barack Obama. Engaging and witty, McCullough focused his remarks on the need for a much stronger emphasis on history in children’s education. He noted that revitalizing history education in the U.S. is

part of his life’s mission because it is through the lens of history that Americans can truly find identity. “The history of our country is the most enthralling subject imaginable, but it’s often made tedious and irrelevant... We’re raising children in every part of the country who are by and large historically illiterate.” Rather than increased salaries alone, McCullough advocated that educators deserve more respect and should be required to major in a subject, becoming experts in a specific area of knowledge beyond education alone. Still, he also strongly encouraged that education must occur outside classrooms; parents and families must actively engage. “We have to show [our children] what we love.” Borrowing from a conversation between Ralph Waldo Emerson and John Adams, the subject of one of McCullough’s Pulitzer Prize-winning works, the author wrapped up his lecture by encouraging the audience to exemplify the “ambition to excel” rather than seeking money or power. “We can be cathedral builders... If this crisis today wakes us up to the need for participation, the joys of participation, then it will be well worth it.” However, it was during the event’s questionand-answer session that McCullough proved the most surprising. Belmont’s Director of General Education Dr. Jeff Coker invited McCullough to embrace his moment on a “Nashville stage,” asking the well-received speaker for a song. McCullough gladly agreed, delighting the crowd with an a cappella rendition of Hank Williams’ classic “Hey Good Lookin’.” n


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Belmont’s Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team serves the community by taking what they learn in the classroom and using that knowledge to develop projects that help solve real-world problems for real people. This year SIFE students addressed the issue of environmental sustainability by publishing a children’s book, Freddie’s Organic Farm, to teach elementary-age students about the practice of organic farming.

illustrations by Clare Cannon

The book was written by Jen Hermansen, illustrated by Clare Cannon and designed by David Darr, all Belmont students. It was written in English and Spanish and read in classrooms to numerous elementary students in the Nashville area. The book is the first in a series, with two more books anticipated on the topics of recycling and conservation.


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Freddie’s Organic Farm is a fictitious, firstperson account of a young girl who discovers the environmental benefits of organic farming while visiting a farm run by “Farmer Freddie.” The book features real-life organic farmer Freddie Haddox of nearby Williamson County, whose family inherited 112 acres near Columbia Pike during Reconstruction in the 1860s. The land on which he grew up was always farmed organically, but Haddox continues that tradition as the first in his family to become certified as an organic farmer. His land is now known as Mamushi Nature Farm and has been open for business for 10 years as a USDA-certified producer of organic vegetables, meat and eggs.

“This book allows people more insight into the community and raises awareness of ecologically friendly farming,” said Clare Cannon, ’09 graduate of the Studio Art program. “It was surreal to be a part of this process and to illustrate the story of Freddie.” “This book represents an incredible service learning opportunity to bring together students from across Belmont to engage and benefit multiple community partners,” said Dr. John Gonas, one of the leaders of Belmont’s SIFE team. “Not only are elementary students across Metro Nashville and Tennessee reading the book and meeting area organic farmers, but its proceeds are also financing resources to create community gardens through the Tennessee Organic Growers Association.” The book was presented at the SIFE National Competition in the organization’s environmental sustainability category and was recognized as a national Top 20 project in this category. The Belmont SIFE chapter has been champion of its region for three consecutive years, finishing among the top 20 teams in the nation in 2007 and 2008 and a top eight team in 2009. Belmont’s chapter is led by Dr. John Gonas, assistant professor of finance, Jason Stahl, assistant professor of communications, and Cate Loes, marketing instructor. Each is a Sam M. Walton Fellow, and due in part to SIFE’s success, Gonas was honored as Tennessee’s 2008 Professor of the Year. To order a copy of Freddie’s Organic Farm, contact n

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“Incredible India is what they call it, and it is indeed. I am amazed by the sheer beauty of the people and the landscape. It’s a sight I could never grow tired of. However, the beauty of this region is matched with a share of darkness.” Those thoughts, expressed by Belmont senior Marti Johnson, aptly reflect the contrasts discovered by the students and faculty traveling on the university’s first Study Abroad trip to India during the Christmas holiday break. The group took a course called “Visual Sociology: Exploring India and the Self,” attempting to use photography to understand themselves and the vibrant country of India. Students learned by reading and discussing articles from the field of visual sociology, taking photos of the cities they explored, journaling, and by using a blog to document their experiences. Not only were students able to experience cultural wonders like the Taj Mahal, they also saw a Bollywood film and traveled to sacred sites. A large part of the trip, however, was encountering the everyday life of Indian people. For many, including Johnson, it was an eye-opening experience to come face-to-face with abject poverty. In her blog from the trip, she wrote, “Our giant white bus labeled ‘Tourist’ across the front windshield causes an uproar as it moves down the street. When we stop, we are greeted by the hungry of India. In desperation women hold their children up, begging for a photograph in exchange for rupees. It is an image that I wish did not exist.”

“Incredible India is what they call it, and it is indeed. I am amazed by the sheer beauty of the people and the landscape. It’s a sight I could never grow tired of. However, the beauty of this region is matched with a share of darkness.”

photos by Chris Speed

Such experiences incited numerous conversations about sociology, politics and theology, as students and faculty attempted to better understand the situations and culture they encountered. Junior Chris Speed wrote online during the trip about “autodriving,” a means of understanding culture by “empowering people outside of the ‘intellectual’ community by having them record life the way they see it, especially those with no formal photographic training. In this case, I let some of the kids [at a local orphanage] run around with the point and shoot camera, taking pictures of themselves, me, their environment, etc. And upon analyzing those photos, you can get an insight into their world.” India study-abroad leader Dr. Andi Stepnick said, “This trip was a wonderful way to help students understand the cross cultural differences and similarities we share with India. But, equally as important, study abroad helps students to learn about themselves.” n

India Class Reveals a

Land of Light and Dark 8

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From Striplin GYM to the Curb Event Center, Belmont College to Belmont University, and NAIA to the NCAA, it’s been quite a 40-year ride in the women’s basketball program. That history and growth were celebrated at a January reunion that found 81 former players from 12 states in attendance.

Women’s Basketball Celebrates

40 years


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as she also noted how one team faced segregation when a restaurant refused to serve the team’s black players. “We all got up and left, didn’t eat, and I didn’t pay.”

Betty Wiseman, assistant athletic director and senior woman administrator, established one of the first women’s basketball programs in the state at Belmont in 1968. At only 23, she entered then-President Herbert Gabhart’s office and pleaded for a women’s basketball program. He not only approved her idea, but he put her in charge. “Thinking now about 40 years, I ask myself, ‘Can it be?’ It is!!”

Cross joked about his own dedication to winning, remembering how one former team feared they might not get dinner after a particularly bad loss. He also talked about the long history and tradition of Belmont’s women’s basketball, praising the alumnae for their role in building such an exceptional program. “Take pride and honor in what you’ve added to this program. Your presence is still being felt.”

Wiseman and current head coach Tony Cross both entertained the crowd with stories and highlights from the program’s 40 years. Wiseman, recalled how the early teams ate sack lunches for pre- and post-game meals and traveled in used station wagons. Not all of her memories were humorous, however,

Former players enjoyed the reunion as well, mingling with old friends and telling stories from their college days. Dianna Burton Lewis (’71), who brought with her to the reunion the Chuck Taylor athletic shoes from her playing

 972 Team (left to right): Connie Milligan, Linda Jenkins, 1 Barbara Williams, Shoma Perkins, Wanda Bledsoe, Kathie Martin, Judy Kraft, Brenda Rainey, Ann Jacobs, Alfreta Peterson and Coach Betty Wiseman

days, said, “What I remember most about Belmont’s first year of women’s basketball is the fun we had! We didn’t realize then what an important journey we were helping to start.” Beth Bates (’88) said, “As I was sitting at the luncheon, I was filled with thankfulness: thankful that I attended Belmont University, thankful for the women who played before and after me and thankful for the opportunity for all of the Rebelettes and Lady Bruins to come together.” Valerie Bradley-King (’93) noted, “While each of us were recruited as individuals, Coach Cross did a great job of building not only a talented team that could compete in basketball, but he also developed a family that will always be connected in a special way.” n

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Going Greener Belmont Deepens Commitment to Sustainability and Environmental Education In an effort to deepen its commitment to the ongoing “Belmont Goes Green” campaign, Belmont unveiled an exciting new initiative at the start of Earth Week in April: the discontinuation of bottled water sales on campus. Bottled water will no longer be available in the university’s fast food outlets or vending areas, and purifying filters are being added to any water fountains on campus that did not already have them. Dr. Judy Skeen, professor of religion and head of Belmont’s Environmental Initiative, said, “As we surveyed ways that Belmont could improve its practices, the impracticality of bottled water came up over and over. Bottled water is shockingly expensive to the consumer and the environment. And given what we know about the quality of water from the tap and in the bottle, it’s completely unnecessary. Recycling the bottles doesn’t solve the larger problem of excessive resources needed to produce and transport something that is solely a convenience.” At the start of the fall 2009 semester, students, faculty and staff will have the opportunity to purchase inexpensive, BPA free, reusable containers for obtaining and carrying water on campus. The discontinuation of bottled water was only one part of Belmont University’s Earth Week celebration as numerous convocations and special events were held April 20-27 to raise

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awareness of environmental issues and to celebrate the desire for a healthy planet. Of course, Belmont’s efforts toward greater environmental sustainability don’t simply surface during Earth Week. It’s an ongoing movement comprised of both practice and education. For example, Peter Kareiva, chief scientist for The Nature Conservancy, gave a talk in the spring on “Conservation in a Human-Dominated World Experiencing Economic Crisis,” sharing a new model of conservation based on protecting ecosystems. Also, Belmont and student organization Service Corps joined millions around the world for the global celebration of Earth Hour March 28, when lights were turned out from 8:30-9:30 p.m. local time to make a statement of concern about the planet and climate change. At the end of the semester, planting was also underway at Belmont’s first community garden, a place where students, faculty and staff can model and share best practices in practical and organic gardening. Finally, efforts continue next year as the 2009-10 First Year Experience “Ways of Knowing” seminars will revolve around the theme “A Paradise Lost? Environment, Ecology, and Sustainability.” All incoming freshman will study Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals as the common book. n

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 ruin Den Day placed Belmont student volunteers with B community organizations like local elementary schools, the Wedgewood Community Garden and the Ronald McDonald House for a day of service.

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New Teacher Project, Metro Nashville Partner with Belmont Nashville Teaching Fellows, an initiative of Metro Nashville Public Schools and The New Teacher Project, recently unveiled a new partnership with Belmont University to train educators who will teach high-need subjects in difficult-to-staff Metro schools. Nashville Teaching Fellows is recruiting approximately 75-100 outstanding career professionals and recent college graduates to teach subjects with traditional teacher shortages—such as math, science, Spanish and special education—in high-need schools. Mayor Karl Dean said, “When we lose 500 to 600 teachers a year to attrition, it is incumbent upon us to look beyond our local borders and reach out to those who are breaking new ground in this area. Belmont University did not hesitate when approached to be a university partner for The New Teacher Project. For me, this immediate willingness is reflective of not only Belmont University’s commitment to the advancement of education, but also its commitment to the larger Nashville community.” n

Frist Advocates for ‘Hope Through Healing Hands’ Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, M.D., made a special appearance on Belmont’s campus this spring to speak on Hope Through Healing Hands, his global health initiative that seeks to use health “as a currency for peace.” Frist’s talk focused on his medical mission work in Africa over the past decade and how that work inspired him to found Hope Through Healing Hands. He spoke of Lui, Sudan, a village he’s visited frequently that’s located 500 miles west of the Nile. “What started as American medical volunteers operating on a single patient in an abandoned school house grew to a hospital that now sees 40,000 patients each year from hundreds of miles around with 60 Sudanese workers... People say in Africa there’s no hope, there’s nothing we can do. But we can make a difference.” n

Inaugural White Coat Ceremony Highlights Banner First Year for Pharmacy The Maddox Grand Atrium was abuzz in January when the Belmont University School of Pharmacy hosted approximately 400 family and friends at its inaugural White Coat Ceremony. The 73 members of the Doctor of Pharmacy Class of 2012 participated in this rite of passage ceremony at which they received their white coat symbolizing their entry into professional practice. The students also took the “Oath of the Pharmacist” as a public commitment to patient-centered care.


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Belmont School of Pharmacy Dean Dr. Phil Johnston recognized Clayton McWhorter and Chris Coates as inaugural recipients of the Friend of the School Award. Dr. Cathy Turner recognized Rodney Deal (Nashville) and Bob Phillips (Lewisburg), pharmacists from middle Tennessee, as the inaugural recipients of the Professional Stewardship Award. In addition, progress continues to be made on the new $30 million Health Sciences building that will house the School of Pharmacy when it opens in Fall 2010. A topping off is expected to occur in October 2009 for the facility, which will feature integrated, “hands on” experiential learning components through medical simulation spaces and a licensed, state-ofthe-art pharmacy. n

School of Business Named to BusinessWeek Top 100 For the second year in a row, Belmont University’s undergraduate School of Business achieved a Top 100 national ranking in BusinessWeek’s annual report on “The Best Undergrad B-Schools” in the U.S. Belmont moved up five places in the rankings to No. 84, placed between the University of Arkansas (No. 83) and North Carolina State-Raleigh (No. 85). Belmont and the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga (No. 82) are the only two Tennessee programs to make the list, and Belmont was one of only six private schools in the South to be included. n

Belmont Launches PR Management Degree for Adult Students University College recently launched a new Public Relations Management (PRM) major as part of its Adult Degree Programs. Classes are being offered in the evening in eight-week semesters, allowing working adults the flexibility to fulfill educational needs without sacrificing career or professional responsibilities. The PRM program’s launch is particularly good news for adults impacted by the current recession or for anyone looking for a career change. The U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 243,000 public relations specialists were employed nationwide in 2006 and predicts an 18 percent increase in employment through 2016. n

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Wynonna Launches Latest CD with Mentoring Event at Belmont Country music superstar Wynonna held a concert and CD release party at Belmont University in February for her seventh studio album, Sing. The first of its kind for the university, the event was organized and produced entirely by Belmont’s music business students. The festivities began with a taping of the “Insider’s View,” Curb College’s signature interview series, and concluded with a performance of Wynonna’s new album material. Curb College Instructor Sarita Stewart worked closely with Wynonna’s manager to provide her Record Company Operations class with an opportunity to oversee, promote and execute the concert and CD release party. “As an educator, I believe it is vital to incorporate real-world experiences into the theoretical world of the classroom. Our class partnership with Wynonna and her management team gives my students an extraordinary opportunity to work directly with a legendary recording artist.” n


Belmont West Celebrates 10 Years The Belmont West program celebrated its 10-year anniversary in Los Angeles with an event at 20th Century Fox. Following the vision of Belmont benefactor and chairman of Curb Records, Mike Curb, Belmont University expanded its music business program from Nashville to Los Angeles with the launch of Belmont West in the spring of 1999. To date, 182 students have participated in the Belmont West program. “We all are very proud of the fact that Nashville has joined Hollywood and New York as one of the three major music centers in the United States,” Curb said. “The exciting part of the Curb College Belmont West and Belmont East programs has been opening doors to other music-related areas of the entertainment industry, such as film music, TV music and many other new music opportunities that exist on the coasts." n


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 cAlexander and M wife Celeste Myall

McAlexander Named as LaGrange President

Belmont Awarded Major Grants in Sciences, general education

Belmont University Provost Dr. Dan McAlexander was recently named as the 25th President of LaGrange College, a liberal arts institution located southwest of Atlanta. McAlexander will assume his new position on July 1, 2009 after eight years of service to Belmont. Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “I join the entire Belmont University community in congratulating Dr. McAlexander on his new position. We are proud of his accomplishments at Belmont and grateful for all that he has contributed to this campus.”

In May, the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced it was awarding Belmont University a $575,000 grant in support of scholarships for students in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) with the intention of attracting women, minorities, first-generation college students and economically disadvantaged students to these disciplines. This project, titled “Pathways to Science, Technology and Mathematics,” will involve Belmont faculty working with high schools and industries across Middle Tennessee and is an important piece of a renewed vision of the sciences at Belmont.

McAlexander came to Belmont University in 2001, and during his tenure, Belmont experienced an overall enrollment increase of 68 percent. The university also saw spikes in average ACT scores, from 24 to 26, and in the six-year graduation rate, from 50 percent to 67 percent. “It has been a great privilege to serve Belmont University,” said McAlexander. “I have enjoyed every moment working with Belmont’s exceptional faculty, staff and students and will continue to follow their accomplishments and to take pride in the university’s future progress.” n

In addition, Belmont’s Department of General Education was awarded a $288,000 grant from the Teagle Foundation to assess the impact of experiential learning in the core curriculum. Over the course of the three-year project, titled “Learning by Doing: Assessing the Relationship Between Liberal Learning and Experiential Education,” Belmont will collaborate with Wagner College in New York to seek ways to better assess how experiential learning improves student engagement and enhances important skills such as critical thinking. The project builds from a one-year, $25,000 planning grant obtained in 2007. n

Annual BURS Event Celebrates Research The 2009 Belmont Undergraduate Research Symposium (BURS) was held in April with students and faculty members from across the university offering insights into their current research, including 118 presentations involving nearly 200 students. n

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Community Involvement

Community Involvement

Family Literacy Day held in rose park The Ninth Annual Family Literacy Day was held in April at Rose Park in the Edgehill community. Aimed at children from pre-K through grade 6 and their families, the Literacy Day event is designed to celebrate the joys of reading with a free afternoon of interactive story times, crafts and games.Belmont’s Family Literacy Day is but one of many components of the Belmont Volunteers for Literacy program, which includes ongoing tutoring programs at CarterLawrence School, Sevier Park Community Center and English tutoring with children and adults through the YMCA Hispanic Achievers program. n

Fiesta Belmont Returns for Fifth Annual Latin Culture Celebration

Belmont celebrates first Community Day Initiating the first official Community Day, Belmont University invited businesses, churches and families in the neighborhoods surrounding campus to attend the Valentine’s Day men’s basketball game for free. In addition to reserving seats at the game, Community Day included special half-time refreshments for the attendees. Belmont officials plan for Community Day to become an annual event. Vice President for Presidential Affairs Susan West said, “It’s appropriate that our first Community Day falls on Valentine’s Day because we see this as an opportunity to show appreciation to our neighbors. We want to be an involved member of this community, and at the same time we hope to have the community involved in the life and culture of Belmont University.” n


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Math Department Hosts Contest The Tennessee Mathematics Teachers Association Fifty-Third Annual StateWide High School Mathematics Contest took place on campus April 21. The Mathematics Department of Belmont University hosted six schools and about 175 students from the local area. The main purposes of the contest are to stimulate interest in mathematics and to honor those students who are outstanding in their respective subjects. n

Fiesta Belmont, Nashville’s Latin Music Street Fair, returned to campus for its fifth annual celebration of Latin culture. Sponsored by the University, the street fair featured a day-long schedule of continuous Latin music performances, Latin food vendors, kids’ activities and folkloric Latin dance groups. Ebony Cosby, student event coordinator, said, “We believe this festival provides a positive showcase for culture and interaction within the community. This event has become a class project, and we are proud to be a part of this.” In addition to offering Columbian, South American, Caribbean and Hispanic food, the event included traditional folkloric dancers, along with a wide variety of Latin music such as mariachi, conjunto/cumbias and salsa from Nashville’s top professional Latin bands. Belmont faculty member David Herrera, who also serves as Fiesta Belmont event director, said, “I am proud that Belmont provides this showcase for local culture, food and interaction within the community.” n

Students Serve Nashville Community on Bruin Den Day On April 4, the Student Government Association hosted its annual Bruin Den Day Community Service event. More than 150 registered students dispersed throughout a three-mile radius of campus and served such organizations as Eakin Elementary, Carter Lawrence Elementary, Ronald McDonald House, Hospitality House and Wedgewood Community Garden. Each year Bruin Den Day provides a unique opportunity to give back to the surrounding Belmont area. Students perform outreach in a variety of ways and thus are involved in engaging and transforming their local Nashville community. n

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n B  raddy

Alumni, Student Make Their Mark on Reality TV Two alumni and a Belmont student captivated audiences this spring with their performances on a broad spectrum of reality TV shows. Ricky Braddy, a 2007 Commercial Music graduate from Belmont, followed in the footsteps of Melinda Doolittle and was named in February to the Top 36 of “American Idol.” Braddy barely missed making the final 12 of “Idol,” though he was chosen to participate in the Wild Card round. Tamara “Taj” JohnsonGeorge, a 2004 alumna of Belmont’s College of Business Administration and a new Alumni Board member, made it to the final four contestants on “Survivor: Tocantins the Brazilian Highlands” before being eliminated. Finally, Belmont public relations major Gabriel Everett participated in this season of Bravo TV’s “Make Me a Supermodel” show, competing for a $100,000 modeling contract. n

Belmont Graduate Lands Job in the White House Ameshia Cross, a May 2009 Belmont graduate in political science and journalism, didn’t spend much time celebrating the end of her college career. She was too busy traveling to Washington, D.C. to start her new job in the White House. Cross, a Chicago native, admits her lofty political aspirations started at an early age, but she never anticipated having them realized so soon. In fact, she planned to continue her education by starting law school in the fall (she was accepted to both Harvard and the University of Chicago Law Schools). All that changed when David Axelrod, a senior advisor to President Barack Obama and chief strategist for his campaign, called in December to offer Cross a job working in the West Wing as an assistant to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

United: For Change Holds Kick-off Event at Belmont Charity organization United: For Change held its kickoff event in January at Belmont University. Founded by rising senior Joshua Maisner, United: For Change is a movement to raise awareness of impoverished children worldwide and to create a sustainable financial model for college-age students to be part of the solution in helping eradicate children’s poverty.

Forbis Receives Encore Award

Deferring her enrollment to law school for now, Cross began her job on May 17, the day after her graduation from Belmont, by meeting with her new colleagues in the West Wing. Her position will include scheduling interviews, writing press releases and contributing to speeches, among other responsibilities.

World-class tenor Clifton Forbis returned to Belmont this spring to accept the inaugural Encore Award. The award was created to honor a School of Music alumnus for achievement in the field of classical music. Dr. Jeffery Kirk, associate dean for performance studies, said, “With performances with opera houses and symphonies around the world, Clifton is one of Belmont’s most distinguished classical alumni.” n

Cross said that she credits her education at Belmont and the professors who pushed her academically with the professional benefits she’s now reaping. “I remember getting materials from Belmont after I was first admitted with the ‘From Here to Anywhere’ statement and just thinking it was kind of outlandish. Now I know, though, that if you work hard and strive to do your best, Belmont really does open amazing doors for you to walk through.” n

The money raised by the campaign will benefit four charities that impact children locally, nationally and internationally: Safe Haven Family Shelter, Feed the Children, African Leadership and World Vision. “I’ve been really haunted by the plight of poor children in our community and around the world for some time, but as a college student, I’ve also felt incredibly powerless to do anything about it,” Maisner, a marketing major, said. “Then I realized that while my efforts alone might not seem significant, the efforts of a united campus could produce much bigger dividends. Asking individuals to contribute the spare change in their pockets on a weekly basis is a commitment that’s a lot easier for college students to do than to write a check each month.” n


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Herms Receives Curtain Call Award Belmont University’s School of Music presented its annual Curtain Call Award to producer, composer, songwriter and Grammy nominee Bernie Herms. The award is presented to a School of Music alumnus in honor of achievement in the field of commercial and popular music. Herms received the award during a concert in his honor that featured recording artists Casting Crowns, Natalie Grant and RED, all of whom Herms has worked with through the course of his career. n

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Best of the Best Showcase Honors Donna Hilley When the Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business presented its annual Best of the Best Showcase in April, the show centered attention on Donna Hilley, honoring her as the first recipient of the Robert E. Mulloy Award of Excellence. The Mulloy Award will be given annually to an individual who has achieved a level of excellence in the music business and entertainment industries with notable service to Belmont University and the Nashville community. As longtime CEO of Sony/ATV Nashville, Hilley established herself as one of the top female executives in Music City, and during her service on Belmont’s Board of Trustees, she introduced Mike Curb to Belmont, sparking the expansion and growth of the music business program into a free standing college. In rightful tribute, the Curb College also established the Donna Hilley Endowed Scholarship in Leadership to make a difference in the lives of students who choose a career in the entertainment and music industries and who exemplify the qualities and attributes of legendary leaders. n

n Southeastern

Journalism Conference

Student Journalists, Debate Team Win Major Competitions The 23rd Southeast Journalism Conference (SEJC) was held on Belmont’s campus Feb. 12-14, with 285 student journalists participating from seven states. In addition to numerous individual and publication awards for 2008 work, Belmont students won the overall onsite competition championship with the highest number of points of all participating schools. Also, Belmont University’s Speech and Debate team competed at the 2009 Tennessee Intercollegiate Forensics Association state tournament and was recognized as the first place overall debate team in the state. The team went on to rank second in Individual Events at the National Christian College Forensics Invitational tournament held in Los Angeles this past March. n

n Wiseman, May ‘09 Mission Trip

Wiseman Honored at Dinner of Champions, CAS Week Former Belmont University women’s basketball head coach and current Senior Woman Administrator Betty Wiseman received the Fred Russell Lifetime Achievement Award at the 11th Annual O’Charley’s Dinner of Champions. An associate professor emerita of sport science, she was also awarded the first Liberal Arts and Sciences Advocacy Award, which will be given annually in recognition of those who have a deep commitment to and value the intrinsic worth of the liberal arts and sciences.


Nursing Professor Selected as fulbright Scholar to Uganda

Uganda. She will also be conducting research on how standards of nursing are adapted to austere conditions.

Dr. Ruby Dunlap, associate professor in the School of Nursing, was recently selected as a 2009-10 U.S. Fulbright Scholar for Sub-Saharan Africa, specifically Uganda. Dunlap will be a guest lecturer in nursing at Uganda Christian University which is located 23 kilometers outside of Kampala,

“It is deeply humbling to be given this kind of trust,” Dunlap said. “I’m looking forward to collaborating in discovery and service with colleagues in Uganda and hope to represent Belmont and the Nashville community well in this assignment.” n

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Dr. Bryce Sullivan, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said, “Betty’s work as a teacher and leader in Belmont’s Sport Science Department and the Physical Education program across 40 years of service is amazing. The way she has integrated her love of athletics, her dedication to studentathletes, her mentoring of students and her transparent desire to serve God through her vocation are among the reasons she was chosen for this award.” n

n Belmont University Speech & Debate Team

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n Lorie Warren


n Andy Wicke


Four Belmont Seniors Named Presidential Scholar Athletes Belmont Athletics experienced another stellar year, with all of the fall sports teams making post-season play for the first time in the NCAA era. Senior athletes in particular proved themselves as leaders on and off their respective playing fields, winning numerous awards for their sports, academics and volunteer work. In fact, due to the quality of the field of candidates, four student-athletes were chosen by Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher as Presidential Scholar Athletes this year instead of the traditional two. Cat Mundy has been the central figure in Belmont Volleyball’s recent ascension. The versatile and talented senior from Dallas, Texas departs as one of the greatest outside hitters in Atlantic Sun Conference history – ranking in the top five in total kills and kills per game. A two-time First Team All-Atlantic Sun selection, Mundy led the Bruins to the NCAA Tournament in 2006 and 2008. A leader on and off the court for men’s basketball, Andy Wicke was showered with postseason honors. Part of the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Team and recognized at the Final Four in

n Kipkosgei Magut



Detroit as one of 10 finalists for the prestigious Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, Wicke was one of just two NCAA Division-I men’s basketball players chosen to receive an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. The senior captain from Hendersonville, Tenn. finished his career second in Atlantic Sun Conference history in made three-point field goals (303). Lorie Warren set a lofty standard by which all other Belmont golfers will be measured. With eight individual tournament titles and five Atlantic Sun Conference Golfer of the Month awards, Warren became just the second Belmont student-athlete in history to be a four-time All-Atlantic Sun performer. The Hendersonville, Tenn. native was named 2008 Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Year and has annually been ranked among the top golfers in the southeast by Kipkosgei “Colin” Magut is the latest In a long line of accomplished distance runners at Belmont. The native of Kitale, Kenya was twice Atlantic Sun Conference Runner of the Year in cross country and twice Most Outstanding Track Performer at the Atlantic Sun Track & Field Championships. With seven conference individual championships (five track, two cross country), Magut was twice voted AllSouth Region by the USTFCCCA. n n Cat Mundy

Student-Athletes Conduct ‘Camp Bruin’ at Local Elementary School In celebration of NCAA National Student-Athlete Day April 6, the Belmont University Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) organized “Camp Bruin” at nearby Carter-Lawrence Elementary School. The event was conducted by Belmont student-athletes, and all 17 teams were represented at the event. During the three-and-a-half-hour session, student-athletes worked with second, third and fourth graders from Carter Lawrence by directing games and activities that involved their sport inside the school gymnasium. Marcela Sanchez, a sophomore on the women’s soccer team, helped direct the Carter Lawrence students in a game of crab soccer. “We had a blast,” said Sanchez. “It was great to see the students’ enthusiasm as they played the games. Through our involvement, we as Belmont student-athletes hope to be great ambassadors for the University and the entire Athletic Department and act as role models for the students of Carter Lawrence.” n

Student-Athletes Recognized Nationally for Academic Achievement Four Belmont University athletic teams were honored by the NCAA in its annual Division I Academic Progress Rate (APR) Public Recognition Awards. Belmont men’s basketball, men’s soccer, baseball and women’s golf each ranked in the top 10 percent within their respective sports nationwide among NCAA Division-I programs. The APR provides a realtime look at a team’s academic success each semester. n


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Hall of Fame Inducts Sparkman, Flecksteiner Alumni Temp Sparkman (‘55) and Sherry Tegarden Flecksteiner (‘99) were recently inducted into Belmont’s Athletic Hall of Fame. Sparkman was one of the founding fathers of Belmont Basketball. A starter and key contributor on Belmont’s first team in 1952-53, Sparkman was named all conference on the 1955 Volunteer State Athletic Conference Championship team that advanced to the program’s first NAIA District Tournament. Author of numerous renowned publications on faith and discipleship, Sparkman is currently penning a book on Belmont’s inaugural basketball team. Tegarden Flecksteiner stands among the greatest softball players in Belmont history. She ranks first in career runs scored (128) and NCAA Division-I era pitching victories (11), and ranks second in career hits (166), triples (15) and stolen bases (49). n

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Belmont Marks Start of Lent with Ash Wednesday Service Teams Reach Out for Spring Break University Ministries put several teams of students in the field, partnering with local organizations around the country to serve in a variety of ways during Spring Break this year. Team Chicago partnered with Cornerstone Community Outreach to work with the homeless community through food and clothing distribution, as well as working in a local shelter. Team Pine Ridge, South Dakota served the community of the Oglala Sioux Nation by building relationships, serving in the ministry center and working in the community garden. Team New York worked with inner city children and youth and homeless. Team Columbus, Ga. partnered with Habitat for Humanity to help with various construction projects. And finally, Team Jamaica worked alongside ACE Ministries, a non-profit organization whose focus is to help America’s youth develop positive leadership skills by providing them with unique opportunities to share their talents and resources with people in developing countries. n

Belmont marked the beginning of the 40-day season of Lent, a time of preparation for Holy Week and Easter, with an Ash Wednesday service in Neely Hall. Co-officiating at the service was the Most Reverend David R. Choby, Bishop of Nashville. Bishop Choby was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as the first native Nashvillian to head the diocese. Belmont’s Spiritual Emphasis Week/Emerge speaker, Dr. Sherry Mortenson, also participated in the service. Mortenson is pastor of Spiritual Formation at Whittier Area Community Church, a 4,000 member Baptist congregation in California. Also leading the service was Rev. Dr. Todd Lake, vice president for spiritual development at Belmont. He noted, “As a Christian university, we are strengthened by marking the seasons of the Christian calendar. In just the past few years we have initiated a campus-wide Advent Devotional, national PBS broadcast of ‘Christmas at Belmont’ and an Ash Wednesday service. It is thanks to our sisters and brothers in the liturgical churches that we add these practices to our rich Baptist heritage at Belmont.” n

Wright Edelman Speaks on Children and Poverty Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, spoke on campus this semester, explaining the impact of poverty on America’s children and asking the crowd to become advocates for change in transforming the lives of a generation. Wright Edelman represents the first in an ongoing series of lectures on Christian Faith and the Liberal Arts and Sciences that will be co-sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences and the Office of Spiritual Development. Speaking from the text of an editorial column she wrote called “America’s Sixth Child,” Wright Edelman said, “Imagine this rich family giving five of its children nourishing meals three times a day, snacks to fuel boundless energy, but sending the sixth child from the table to school hungry, with only one or two meals and never the dessert the other children enjoy... This is our American family today, where one in six of our children live in poverty in the richest nation on earth, more than 40 percent in extreme poverty.” Wright Edelman has received many honorary degrees and awards including a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award for her writings, which include nine books, the latest of which is The Sea is So Wide and My Boat is So Small: Charting a Course for the Next Generation. n


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Congratulations to

belmont studentathletes, who won the atlantic sun all-academic trophy for the seventh time in the past eight years! * Over two-thirds of Belmont studentathletes carried a GPA of 3.0 or higher in 2008-09 during their season of competition. * This year, Belmont had nine ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District honorees, with men’s basketball senior Andy Wicke earning Academic All-America status and an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. * Belmont men’s basketball, men’s soccer, baseball and women’s golf honored on the 2009 NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) Report Public Recognition List.

Circle Magazine Spring 2009