Belmont to host
2008 Town Hall Presidential Debate
n Belmont celebrated the Grand Opening of its new theater complex this fall with a gala celebration and a production of Shakespeareâ€™s Much Ado About Nothing (see page 18).
From the President Fall 2007 represents the dawning of an exciting new era in the history of Belmont University. Incredible, far-reaching visions cast years ago are actually coming true in ways beyond our expectations. From unprecedented campus growth to the opening of the new theater complex to phenomenal performances by our student-athletes, this university is on the move. Perhaps most exciting, just last month I was honored to be joined by Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and several other dignitaries to announce that Belmont will host the Town Hall Presidential Debate next fall. It is an extraordinary honor, a tremendous responsibility and an incredible opportunity for all of us. An equally significant update came as Belmont reached a settlement in the lawsuit filed against us by the Tennessee Baptist Convention (TBC). Though this concludes a 56-year relationship between Belmont and the TBC, it by no means ends this university’s commitment to faith-based education. Rather, the resolution further clears the path for Belmont to welcome greater diversity into its Board of Trustees, allowing our leadership to more accurately reflect and serve our increasingly diverse student body. But that’s far from all the news we have to share. Our cross country teams outdid themselves at this year’s Atlantic Sun Championship, winning team and individual titles, while the Bruin men’s basketball team kicked off its season in fine fashion, beating powerhouses Cincinnati and Alabama. In addition, Psychology Department Chair Dr. Pete Giordano was recently named Tennessee’s Professor of the Year, and alumnus and “American Idol” finalist Melinda Doolittle came home to host our annual Christmas at Belmont show, which will be broadcast nationally on PBS. And there’s so, so much more…. Wherever you look, lights are shining brightly on Belmont University. We are truly entering a new day, a new dimension even. But we cross this threshold more focused than ever on providing a student-centered Christian community and an academically challenging education to empower men and women to transform the world. Belmont’s brightest days are ahead, and I look forward to seeing all that future holds. There is truly no better time to Be a Bruin! 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 Brian Korosec Chris Dorsey Christopher Speed Don McPeak Greg Pillon Jack Mayernick Images on p. 22-23,25 & 29 courtesy of iStock Photo Image on p. 16 courtesy of ASUNPHOTOS.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org Belmont University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer under all applicable civil rights laws.
Belmont to host
2008 Town Hall PresidenTial debaTe
On the cover: Photo and illustrations courtesy of iStock Photo.
n Students enjoy the balmy fall weather with a game of flag football.
Table of Contents 2 From the President
18 Theater Complex Celebrates Grand Opening
4 Belmont Lands 2008 Town Hall Presidential Debate
20 Growing Up: BU’s New Developments
6 Welcome Week 2007
21 Community Involvement
10 From Here to Anywhere: Belmont Heads to South Africa and Japan
22 Campus News
13 Dolly Parton Helps ‘Celebrate the Songwriter’
27 Student & Alumni Accomplishments
14 Being Belmont
29 School of Pharmacy Makes Plans for First Class
26 Spiritual Development
2008 Town Hall Presidential Debate
The Vince Gill Room erupted in cheers as Belmont President Bob Fisher announced Nov. 19 that the Commission on Presidential Debates has chosen the Curb Event Center to play host to next year’s pivotal Town Hall Presidential Debate, which will be held on Tues., Oct. 7, 2008. Belmont was one of 16 sites nationwide under consideration to host one of three presidential, or one vice presidential, debates. “It’s always about a song for me,” Fisher noted, “’I’m walkin’ on sunshine and don’t it feel good.’ What a great day for Belmont, for Nashville and for the state of Tennessee.” Tennessee has been home to three former United States Presidents—Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnson and James K. Polk—but this will be the first time a presidential debate has been held in Tennessee. After being introduced by Dr. Fisher, Gov. Phil Bredesen offered his own congratulations. “I was particularly pleased to learn that the debate here will be the town hall debate. Tennessee is a perfect microcosm of America, and this state is right in the middle of mainstream American values and has been for a very long time.” Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, Congressman Jim Cooper and Curb Center namesake Mike Curb were also present to offer remarks. Cooper made reference to the historical context of the announcement, noting that the seventh American president, Andrew Jackson, initiated quite a legacy by spending most of his career in Tennessee, while more recently former Vice President and Tennessee native son Al Gore won the state acclaim by securing a 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his work with the environment. “And now this, the Presidential Town Hall Debate,” said Cooper. “It doesn’t get better than this. I’m so proud for Tennessee and for Belmont.”
Chairman of the Board Marty Dickens, Belmont President Bob Fisher and Governor Phil Bredesen celebrate the debate announcement.
“Hosting the debate at Belmont will engage our students in the political process through invaluable first-hand participation,” Dan McAlexander, Provost at Belmont, said. “Belmont takes seriously its mission to prepare its students for success in the real world, and serving as host site for the presidential debate will give our students invaluable tools in critical thinking and practical experience as they take an active role in what will surely be an historical election.” n winter 2007
‘Welcome Week’ Shows Belmont’s Heart Students Unite to Serve One Another and Community Members of the Class of 2011 weren’t just told about the Belmont vision of “learning and service” – they were able to see it in action as soon as they stepped on campus. From the moment of their arrival with loaded-down SUVs to the three-hour plus UNITE concert marking the end of the traditional new student Welcome Week, incoming freshmen and their parents were treated to examples of service, a pattern they were then invited to model to their new hometown. “Our identity as an institution is most clearly defined when we serve others,” said Matt Burchett, Belmont’s director of new student and parent programs. On Aug. 18, as temperatures soared over 100 degrees, Belmont students, faculty and staff lined up in the sweltering heat to welcome new students to campus and to assist in the residence hall move-in. The quick and efficient move-in system combined with helpful and smiling volunteers made it a pleasurable experience for many parents dealing with the typically stress-filled transition. “When we arrived, my husband and I were absolutely in awe of the students and volunteers that ran to our car and had all of our son’s clothes, guitars, refrigerator and everything out of the cars and to his room before we could even park,” exclaimed one mom. “I have told everyone I know, if this is an indication of the school’s reputation, I am Sold on Belmont!” Another parent, who had lost her voice just days before the move in, commented on the emotional preparation students and families cont’d on page 8
cont’d from page 6
received at Sunday’s Matriculation Ceremony. “As I whispered goodbye and gave my son a last hug, I realized that everything I would have wanted to say to him had already been said for me. I felt like I was leaving him with family, caring men and women who had already become my hands, my heart and then my voice.” On Monday, Belmont’s incoming freshmen were invited to volunteer their time to more than 35 local charity and ministry organizations as part of the school’s annual SERVE project (see more on this story on page 21). Then, the Freshman Festival gave students an opportunity for silliness and carnival-type fun with an afternoon of obstacle courses, snow cones and dunk tanks, while Tuesday night’s annual Towering Tradition event honed in on the spirit of Belmont prior to the first day of classes. Gathering with candles at the Bell Tower, freshmen were reminded that they now hold the responsibility, as spoken by Chancellor Gabhart in 1963, “to insure Belmont College of days more glorious and opportunities more abundant.” To mark the end of Welcome Week and the start of classes, the Curb Event Center played host Wed., Aug. 22 to the second annual UNITE concert, this time featuring Belmont alums Mikeschair along with Monk & Neagle, Bebo Norman and Shane & Shane. The tour stop, designated to benefit Compassion International, was attended by more than 2,000 people and raised $3,500 in donations, which will be used to purchase 350 mosquito nets as part of Compassion’s Malaria Intervention Fund. In addition, 54 children received child sponsorships from attendees. n
World of May 2007 marked the advent of a new era in Belmont history as the university saw its study abroad program expand to exciting new territories with its first visits to Africa and Japan. Twenty Belmont students joined Dr. Bonnie Smith (English), Dr. Jeff Overby (Business) and Dr. Darrell Gwaltney (Religion) on the university’s inaugural journey to Africa, intent on balancing study with missions work while in Cape Town, South Africa and Gaborone, Botswana. The students spent eight days in Cape Town volunteering with various hospices, day cares and organizations as well as making presentations to elementary school children about ways to resist peer pressure. The group also met with apartheid activist Edgar Carrolisen, a pastor and Cape Metropolitan Council member, who emphasized the strong link between poverty and HIV/AIDS and detailed how he has instituted a number of innovative social entrepreneurship initiatives at his church to help his fellow citizens climb out of the poverty trap. After a visit to Cape Town’s famous Table Mountain, a sandstone landmark that measures 1,086 meters above sea level, student Rachel Harlow blogged about her impressions: “Suddenly, I understand a bit more why the Lord hid Moses behind a rock when He passed him by. On one side, the densely-clustered colors of the city and the glassy bay... on another, steep cliffs cascading into the ocean... Eternity in
every direction. We spanned half the globe in a day and landed in a corner of the world to stand at an unimaginable height and swim where two oceans meet… The world I know has grown; I, too, am forced to grow if I will embrace it still.”
Wonder For the first time in program history, Belmont’s Study Abroad heads to Africa and Japan.
The group also participated in a safari in Pilanesberg National Park and was stunned to have their truck charged by Mavoso, the dominant bull elephant for the breeding herd. Of course, Mavoso was just one of a number of surprises the Belmont group discovered in Africa. Dr. Smith noted that, despite her intensive preparations, she came to see how her own education is ongoing. “When I left for Africa, I didn’t know what we were going to see or do… I’ve come to believe that it’s good I didn’t know, and it’s good that the students saw me model ‘not knowing’ and occasionally ‘coming to know.’ In the Bell Core, we talk a lot about ‘lifelong learning.’ Silly me! I always assumed lifelong learning was just about the students. It’s about us, too.” Meanwhile, nearly 10,000 miles to the Northeast, another group of Belmont undergraduates and faculty were exploring what they “didn’t know” while trekking around the Japanese cities of Hikone, Kyoto, Tokyo, Osaka and Hiroshima. Intended to focus on how ancient Samurai codes of honor appear in modern Japanese culture and literature, this travelstudy program combined regular class time with visits to a variety of Japanese sites, including the historic Asakusa market district of Tokyo, high-tech enclaves, famous Shinto cont’d on page 12
cont’d from page 10
shrines, the Bridgestone Museum of Art in Tokyo and the Nissan Oppama assembly plant. Many students also took in a baseball game in Osaka or a Sumo wrestling tournament in Tokyo, and the group spent time in reflection at the International Peace Park and Museum in Hiroshima. Led by Dr. Jonathan Thorndike (Honors) and Dr. John Paine (English and Foreign Languages), Belmont’s group found Japan to be fairly easy to navigate. Student Jack Mayernick commented on how much he enjoyed the freedom to be adventurous, especially as it introduced him to a few of the cultural differences between Japanese and Americans. “In the U.S., culture is so individual. Japan, however, is all about community, trying to always do the right thing by the other person. It was a really good example to see.”
Curb College Partners with Local Foundations to
‘CELEBRATE THE SONGWRITER’
The Study Abroad trips to Africa and Japan will both be repeated in May 2008. n
Three major Nashville organizations—Belmont University, the Mike Curb Family Foundation and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame—announced this fall an exciting new partnership focused on the foundation of the music industry: songwriting. Intended to create visibility and understanding of the songwriting craft, the partnership includes the establishment of a new songwriting major in Belmont’s Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business and a permanent location for the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, both of which will be housed in historic 34 Music Square East on Music Row. With a mantra to “Celebrate the Songwriter,” the Sept. 20 launch event opened with Hall of Fame member Dolly Parton offering her thoughts. “When I first came to Nashville, all of us would just get in a huddle to try to write together, folks like me and Willie
Nelson and Kris Kristofferson,” Parton said. “Most of us barely got through high school, much less college. Belmont has done a wonderful thing as a university and with the music program, and I think it’s great how they are embracing songwriting.” The building at 34 Music Square East joins Ocean Way and RCA Studio B as yet another valuable Music Row extension of the Curb College. Mike Curb said, “Belmont students can now further enrich their education of this industry’s history in Nashville in... the first recording studio on Music Row where great artists such as Marty Robbins, Sonny James, Patsy Cline and Brenda Lee recorded numerous hit records.” With this new addition, Belmont becomes one of the first accredited universities in the nation to offer a major in songwriting with 50 student songwriters filling the first two introductory courses to capacity. n Pictured above (l-r): Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher, Parton, Curb and Hall of Fame Foundation Chairman Roger Murrah
n Alumna (’99) and “American Idol” finalist Melinda Doolittle proved to be a fabulous host for the “Christmas at Belmont” holiday concert, taped this year in Nashville’s beautiful new Schermerhorn Symphony Center. The program is scheduled to air nationally on PBS Christmas Eve.
Men’s Basketball Team Starts Season with Major Wins and Early Honors
Belmont Cross country teams continue to dominate a-sun
Belmont Basketball notched its second victory over major conference opposition this season in the week before Thanksgiving, defeating Alabama 85-83 behind a last second jumper from senior Justin Hare. The victory came a mere 10 days after the Bruins stunned the nation with an 86-75 win over Big East Conference powerhouse Cincinnati.
For the first time since its arrival in NCAA Division-I play, Belmont Athletics reached postseason play in all of its fall sports of competition—cross country, volleyball, men’s soccer and women’s soccer—with the men’s and women’s cross country teams setting the standard. Coming into the Atlantic Sun Championships, there was a hint of uncertainty as to if Belmont’s cross country teams would be able to continue their dominance. But after capturing both the men’s and women’s team crowns, both Coach of the Year awards, both individual titles, both Runner of the Year awards and a Freshman of the Year award to top it off, there is no doubt as to who is the class of the A-Sun.
“These games make us better win or lose, and that’s why we schedule them… we have reached the level where we expect to have a chance to win if the game goes down to the wire.” — Coach Rick Byrd
Belmont’s men, led by coach Jeff Langdon, now have won an Atlantic Sun record six consecutive conference championships, and the women have won six in seven years. Senior Lauren Weaver won the women’s individual crown and Runner of the Year award by posting a blazing time of 17:51 – 17 seconds faster than the second place finisher in the 5K run on the track at Vaughn’s Creek Cross Country Course in Nashville. Junior Kipkosgei Magut won the men’s individual crown and Runner of the Year award with a time of 25:10 in the 8K run. By repeating as champion, Magut becomes the first runner to win consecutive A-Sun championships since former Bruin William Kemey in 2001 and 2002.
In an interview with The Tennessean, Coach Rick Byrd said, “These games make us better win or lose, and that’s why we schedule them… I think we have reached the level where we expect to have a chance to win if the game goes down to the wire.”
Though the volleyball and soccer teams didn’t make it past the semi-final tournament rounds, their performances didn’t go unnoticed with numerous players taking home A-Sun Player of the Week awards throughout the season. n n
After winning three of the four scheduled games on a late-summer European tour, the Bruins returned home to find they were picked second in a pre-season ASun poll, behind East Tennessee State University, and 19th in CollegeInsider.com’s 2007-08 Preseason Mid Major Top 25 Poll. Meanwhile, Hare, a Cleveland, Tenn. native, was named to the CollegeInsider.com 2007-08 Preseason Mid-Major All-America Team. The leading returning scorer in the Atlantic Sun Conference last season with 1,275 career points, Hare earned Atlantic Sun Tournament MVP honors in 2006 and 2007 in leading the Bruins to back-toback NCAA Tournament appearances. n
Hall of Fame Inducts Three New Members On Thurs., Oct. 4, Belmont Athletics inducted its 2007 Hall of Fame class in an event held in the Maddox Grand Atrium of the Curb Event Center. New Hall of Fame members Al Allen (‘96), Jaymie Moore Rankhorn (’98) and Daree Pilkinton Merritt (’91) along with Chaney Award honoree Patrick Russo were all on hand for the ceremony. Assistant Athletic Director Betty Wiseman said, “This was one of the most memorable Hall of Fame Banquets that I can remember because of the special people we honored and their genuine and heartfelt gratitude expressed for the honor bestowed upon them. We were all reminded of our rich history and heritage in Belmont Athletics.”
Despite playing just three seasons, Allen is one of only eight players in Belmont men’s basketball history to score over 2,000 career points (2,030). He will be speaking at Belmont in January as part of MLK week celebrations. An explosive yet versatile volleyball player, Moore Rankhorn ranks first all-time in kills (1,622), hitting percentage (.325), aces (229) and digs (1,222). A multi-faceted women’s basketball player, Pilkinton Merritt name floods the Belmont record book where she ranks first in career steals (404), second in career assists (574) and third in career three-point field goals (222). Moreover, she is one of just five Bruins ever to score over 1,500 career points, ranking fifth all-time (1,645). n n Pictured (l-r) Allen, Russo, Pilkinton Merritt and Moore Rankhorn.
New Theater Opens with Gala Celebration
Inaugural Performance Features Shakespeare’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’
There was ‘Much Ado’ about theatre this September as Belmont celebrated the grand opening of its stately new theater complex with an invitation-only, black-tie gala, complete with red carpet arrivals and live music. The inaugural production in the 350-seat Troutt Theater featured William Shakespeare’s comedy Much Ado About Nothing, a collaboration between the Belmont Theatre Department and the Nashville-based Actors Bridge Ensemble. Actors Bridge was founded at Belmont in 1995 as a training program in the university’s Little Theatre. “We are proud to open this extraordinary new theater complex with this collaborative production,” said Belmont Provost Dr. Dan McAlexander. “It serves as a perfect example of both Belmont’s distinctive brand of education—which connects rigorous learning on campus with real world experience in the professional communities of Nashville—and our commitment to serve this city.” In addition to Actors Bridge, Belmont will be collaborating with a number of local ensembles throughout the year, including Nashville Shakespeare Festival, Nashville Children’s Theatre and the Nashville Ballet. Belmont’s Theater Complex plans to make an impact beyond the university’s borders by providing a venue for showcasing the work of local performance groups, summer high school student institutes and specialty workshops designed to assist teachers of theater and dance.
“[The theater] serves as a perfect example of both Belmont’s distinctive brand of education... and our commitment to serve this city.” - Dr. Dan McAlexander Produced by Theatre Department Chair Paul Gatrell and Actors Bridge Ensemble’s Producing Artistic Director Vali Forrister, Much Ado About Nothing represents the premiere performance in the complex’s main room, the Bill and Carole Troutt Theater, which is named for Belmont’s former president and his wife. The 350-seat proscenium theater provides state-of-theart lighting and sound, as well as a stage equipped with 35 fly lines with a full package of stage drapes and moveable lighting electrics. Directly behind the stage house is the new Bill and Sharon Sheriff Scene Shop, a production and teaching facility for all of the stage sets, stage properties and stage lighting for all Department of Theatre and Dance productions. Connected to the scene shop is the Black Box Theater, an experimental theater used for smaller, intimate productions involving flexible staging, unique audience seating and student-centered design opportunities. In honor of the theater’s grand opening, two individuals close to Belmont contributed their talents to the first production. Christopher Brown, an Actors Bridge and Belmont graduate who now works as an actor in Chicago’s Blue Man Group, returned to Nashville to play the lead role of Benedick. In addition, Franne Lee—a two-time, Tony award-winning costume designer who now serves Belmont as an adjunct professor of theatrical design—offered her talents in the creation of the production’s costumes. n 18
Belmont Theatre Department’s Spring 2008 Season Hamlet Nashville Shakespeare Festival Jan. 17-19, 24-26, 31-Feb. 2 Troutt Theater Pride and Prejudice An adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic 1813 novel by Jim Jory Feb. 14-17 and 20-24 Troutt Theater Mixed Bill Belmont Dance Company in collaboration with Nashville Ballet March 14-16 Troutt Theater Thoroughly Modern Millie Belmont Musical Theatre Company April 3-6 and 10-13 Troutt Theater Imaginary Friends A compelling story by Nora Ephron, Imaginary Friends chronicles two women shaped by their different but equally unsettled childhoods. April 10-13 and 17-20 Black Box Theater Tickets: Curb Event Center Box Office (615-460-8500) Belmont faculty, staff and nonBelmont students may purchase tickets for a discounted rate; there is no ticket charge for current Belmont students.
community involvement BU’s New Developments
When Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher delivered his annual State of the University address in September, he asked a rhetorical question with his typical humor and conviction: “So, how are we doing?” he said. “I’ll give you my assessment: ‘Baby I’m amazed’... Belmont University is one of, if not ‘the,’ most amazing stories in higher education today.” He couldn’t be more accurate. The fall semester saw record-breaking enrollment as Belmont’s student population rose to nearly 4,800 while ratings from the recent U.S. News and World Report ranking provided objective indicators of the university’s ongoing success. Belmont was the highest-ranked Tennessee school in the Master’s category, which reports on 119 schools across the South, including 15 in Tennessee. “Belmont is growing in remarkable ways, both in the number of students enrolling in our programs and the academic qualifications they’re bringing to this campus,” said Dr. Fisher. Since 2000, Belmont’s full-time undergraduate enrollment has increased by more than 1,500 students, and this year’s incoming
class represents 43 states and seven foreign countries. One-third of new freshmen were in the top 10 percent of their graduating class, including 30 valedictorians and 12 salutatorians. The university has seen unprecedented physical expansion as well with the recent opening of the new theater complex as well as the groundbreaking for a new residence hall, scheduled to welcome its first students in Fall 2008. The facility, which will house 190 freshmen, represents the cornerstone of a larger vision that will entail at least three buildings in the center of the university’s 62-acre campus, all intended to house first-time students and provide an ideal learning community for incoming freshmen. In addition, Belmont recently signed a lease agreement with Metro Parks that will provide three new sports fields—soccer, softball and baseball—as well as a new track that can all be used by university athletics and the local community. Belmont’s involvement at Rose Park, located about a mile from campus on 12th Avenue and Edgehill, holds the potential Dr. Fisher believes to be one of the university’s greatest legacies as it opens new avenues for service to campus neighbors. n
Hands on Nashville A number of Belmont students participated recently in Hands On Nashville Day, a volunteer event organized annually by Hands On Nashville that pairs community volunteers with Metro Schools for improvement projects. More than 1,000 volunteers spend a morning painting, landscaping and improving 60+ public schools. This year’s Belmont team, organized by student Jeffrey Ibarra, worked at Bellevue Middle School on a number of different projects, including painting a fence. n
Nursing Students, Health Services Provide Free Flu Shots for Edgehill Belmont University and Kayne Avenue Missionary Baptist Church partnered this fall to provide a free family flu shot clinic at the Easley Community Center in Rose Park, giving 94 vaccines at the Easley Community Center and to residents of I.W. Gernert Homes. “Belmont has a great history of volunteerism in the community,” said Belmont Health Services Director Katy Wilson. “It was a logical and important step to add a health care dimension to that. My hope is that this effort will be the first in a long line of partnerships with the Edgehill community.” n
Freshmen SERVE As part of Belmont’s annual “Welcome Week,” the class of 2011 was invited to SERVE more than 35 local charity and ministry organizations. In groups ranging from 25 to 100 students, most of Belmont’s new freshmen participated in efforts to give back to their new hometown. Started as part of the university’s ongoing commitment to engage students in their community and encourage the values of service on both a local and global level, SERVE brought student volunteers to a number of local organizations including Monroe Harding Children’s Home, Salvation Army, American Red Cross, Project CURE, Feed the Children, Friends of Warner Parks, Nashville Rescue Mission, Safe Haven Family Shelter, Earth Matters, Nurses for Newborns, Better Tomorrows and ThriftSmart. n
campus news Dr. Pete Giordano Named 2007 tennessee Professor of the Year
Belmont Launches Instant Alert system Belmont University recently launched an Instant Alert System that allows students, faculty and staff to receive immediate notification in the event of an on-campus emergency or unscheduled university closing due to, for instance, severe weather. The university has been exploring options for instant alert notification for more than a year, and since its launch in mid-August the system has received a strong response. More than one-third of the 5,000 students and employees on campus have already signed up for Instant Alert. n
Steven Curtis Chapman at Writers’ Night The Mike Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business played host to Sparrow Records recording artist Steven Curtis Chapman recently when he appeared as the guest writer for the ASCAP Writers’ Night, a year-long series that gives singer/songwriters at Belmont an opportunity to perform original material in front of a live audience and professionals from the industry. Steven Curtis Chapman attended Belmont and was part of the Belmont Reasons during his collegiate experience. From the stage, Chapman shared how fellow alumnus Phil Naish heard him perform during his tenure at Belmont, recognized his talent and subsequently produced his first four projects. Chapman has since sold more than nine million records worldwide and has won more Gospel Music Association Dove awards than any artist in history, as well as five Grammy awards. n
First Class Graduates from Scarlett Leadership Institute After investing more than 150 hours over 14 months, the first class of the Scarlett Leadership Institute at Belmont University received their graduation certificates in late September. Joe Scarlett, the chairman and former CEO of Tractor Supply Co., funded and facilitated the start of the Scarlett Leadership Institute on Belmont’s campus last year. Andy Gilbert, president of Genesco Licensed Brands and a Scarlett student, said, “The Scarlett Leadership Institute program has created residual value for the company, the shareholders and, most of all, the individual.” n
Center for Entrepreneurship Brings Ephren Taylor to Campus Ephren W. Taylor II, founder of Amoro Corporation, spoke on campus this fall as part of the Center for Entrepreneurship’s 2007 Moench Entrepreneurship Lecture Series. At 24, Taylor is already recognized as one of America’s top young entrepreneurs and is the youngest African-American CEO of any publicly traded company. According to press materials, Taylor started his first business venture at age 12, when he began making videogames. By age 17, he built a multi-million dollar technology company: GoFerretGo.com. Now at City Capital Corporation, Taylor oversees over $150 million in assets, serving a diverse client list ranging from Wall Street investors, top executives, professional athletes and even entertainment icons. He has an extensive background in startup firms and has helped start and fund seven companies, raising millions in investment capital. n
Belmont Announces Settlement with Tennessee Baptist Convention On Tues., Nov. 13, Belmont announced that a mutually agreeable settlement was reached with the Tennessee Baptist Convention (TBC) in regards to the lawsuit the TBC filed in 2006. The settlement concludes a 56-year relationship between Belmont and the TBC and provides gifts by Belmont to Tennessee Baptists of $1,000,000 next year followed by annual payments of $250,000 for the next 40 years. The funds, an expression of gratitude to Tennessee Baptists for the financial and spiritual support that they have provided to the University over the past five decades, will be used to support Tennessee Baptist missions and ministries. Marty Dickens, Belmont’s Chairman of the Board of Trustees, wrote in an official statement, “We believe that this resolution honors the many significant contributions that Tennessee Baptists have made to the
University and upholds the teachings of Jesus Christ, whom we all seek to serve by ending litigation… Belmont is grateful to the many Tennessee Baptists who have encouraged the University as it seeks to broaden its Christian mission by including on its Board of Trustees Christians who are members of churches affiliated with other denominations.” Belmont President Robert Fisher added, “The road that we have traveled to this point has been long and arduous for everyone involved. However, the journey has been worth it. The resolution of this dispute will only bring a positive impact to our campus. We emerge stronger and more focused than ever on providing a student-centered Christian community and an academically challenging education to empower men and women to transform the world.” n
Giordano (r) with Senator Lamar Alexander Dr. Peter Giordano, professor and chair of the Psychology Department, was named Nov. 15 as the 2007 Tennessee Professor of the Year, an award selection determined by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). Dr. Giordano, who came to Belmont in 1989 after receiving his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. (Clinical Psychology) degrees from UNCChapel Hill, said, “After 18 years of full-time teaching, there is one thing I know for sure: good teachers are not lone wolves. I have been extremely fortunate to have been surrounded by many gifted teachers here at Belmont with whom I have talked continuously about the craft of teaching. This award is theirs as much as mine.” Belmont University professors have received the Tennessee Professor of the Year Award two other times in recent history, in 2000, for Dr. Mike Awalt (Philosophy) and in 2001, for Dr. David Julseth (Spanish). n winter 2007
Internationally Acclaimed Psychologist Speaks on Montessori Method Dr. Angeline Stoll Lillard – an award-winning researcher in cognitive development, best-selling author and professor of psychology at the University of Virginia – lectured in the Maddox Grand Atrium in late October. With her 2005 book, Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius, Lillard made a major contribution to the scientific exploration of how the Montessori education model best prepares children to succeed in school and later life. Prior to Dr. Lillard’s lecture, State Representative Janis Sontany presented “House Joint Resolution No 292: a Resolution to Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Montessori Method of Education.” Belmont opened Nashville’s first Montessori teacher preparation program in 2005. The program, which is accredited by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE) and American Montessori Society-affiliated (AMS), offers both graduate and undergraduate tracks. n
Tickets Now on Sale for ‘Nashville Celebrates Elvis’ Performers were announced and tickets were put on sale recently for the upcoming “Belmont University Presents: Nashville Celebrates Elvis!,” a benefit show to be held at the historic Ryman Auditorium on Tues., Feb. 12, 2008, at 7:30 p.m. In celebration of Elvis’ association with the early days of the Nashville music industry, the show will feature Elvis songs performed by celebrity artists who have recorded, performed or been influenced by his music. Proceeds from this one-night-only opportunity will benefit the Cecil Scaife Music Business Scholarship Fund to help Curb College students. Confirmed artists participating include George Klein (host), Pat Boone, David Briggs, Mac Davis, Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Wanda Jackson, The Jordanaires, Millie Kirkham, Ronnie McDowell, TG Sheppard and BJ Thomas. Tickets for $35 and $100 seats are available at all Ticketmaster locations, through Ticketmaster.com and the Ryman box office. Patronlevel $500 tickets are available only through the Curb Event Center Box Office at 615-460-8500. n
Beaman Launches Campus-Wide Fitness Campaign The Beaman Student Life Center played host in September to former Tennessee Titan Eddie George and his wife Tamara (‘04) along with Tennessee Commissioner of Health Susan Cooper and the rest of the GetFitTN team for a special presentation and the unveiling of a new, campus-wide fitness campaign, BFIT•BU. Cooper noted a recent report in which Tennessee ranked fifth in the nation in obesity
School of Humanities Presents Fall Humanities Symposium — presented his thoughts on travel writing and photography, showing students pictures from recent treks in Tibet and Greenland. Other highlights included a keynote from renowned Notre Dame scholar and novelist Dr. Margaret Doody, a Humorous Travel Essay Competition and a Writing Workshop focused on freelance/travel-related writing. n
Physicist/Priest Speaks on Faith and Science Rev. Dr. John Polkinghorne, a noted knight, physicist and Anglican priest, came to Belmont this fall to offer his thoughts regarding the collaborative relationship that should exist between religion and science. Speaking on the “gifts” that science and religion offer one another, Polkinghorne noted that many scientists have lost their sense of wonder about the fields they explore and the research they undertake. “I actually believe that science is possible because the world is a creation, and we are creatures made in the image of a Creator.”
Author of 15 books on the connections between physics and faith, Dr. Polkinghorne resigned a prestigious position as Professor of Mathematical Physics at the University of Cambridge in 1979 to pursue theological studies, becoming a priest in 1982. His approach to the fundamentals of Christian orthodoxy creation, using the habits of a rigorous scientific mind, has brought him international recognition as a unique voice for understanding the Bible as well as evolving doctrine. n
and explained the concept of the GetFitTN program (www. GetFitTN.com). Then Eddie George presented Belmont with a special certificate to recognize the university’s commitment to the state-wide initiative. “[We need] to get out there and be active, get off the couch and away from the cookies and the TV and the Playstations. It’s not just a workout plan, but embracing an active lifestyle.” n
Built around the topic “Transforming Travel: Rewriting the World as We Know It,” Belmont’s School of Humanities hosted its sixth annual fall Humanities Symposium in mid-November. The numerous guest lectures and special events in the weeklong symposium focused on the ways in which travel literature and narratives transform our world. Vanderbilt geologist Dr. Molly Miller spoke on her research in Antarctica, while Tony D’Souza, freelance journalist and award winning author of Whiteman, offered insight on his experiences in Central America and his involvement in the much-publicized Eric Volz trial. Brice Minnigh — a Belmont alumnus, freelance travel journalist and co-author of The Rough Guide to Taiwan
Student & Alumni Accomplishments
Billionaire Speaks on ‘Joy at Work’ Billionaire AES co-founder Dennis Bakke spoke at Belmont in September, detailing the ideas behind his New York Times best-selling book, Joy at Work: A Revolutionary Approach to Fun on the Job. Bakke founded AES in 1981, helping to build the international energy corporation into a multi-billion dollar company with 40,000 employees in 31 countries.
Josh Turner Inducted into Grand Ole Opry
“Making money is absolutely essential to running a business,” Bakke said. “But it’s not the purpose for the business. It’s not the reason the business exists. Our purpose should be to do something useful for society, to serve.”
Multi-platinum MCA recording artist and Belmont alumnus Josh Turner was inducted in October into the world-famous Grand Ole Opry by Opry superstar Vince Gill. Just prior to the telecast, Great American Country (GAC) aired a new, one-hour documentary, “Josh Turner: My Road to the Opry,” that included segments filmed on Belmont’s campus with Josh and his wife Jennifer, also an alumna. The special recounted how the couple met as well as how Josh was first inspired to write hit song “Long Black Train” after a session in Bunch library listening to a Hank Williams box set. n n
Bakke concluded his talk by discussing the qualities necessary to be a great leader: humility and love. “Be the best in the world as a manager but don’t confuse it with leadership. Management is about control while leadership is about freedom, freeing people to make decisions.” n
Peacemakers Peggy and Art Gish Discuss Alternatives to War While many people hope they would have the courage to die for what they believe, few individuals ever have that theory tested. But Peggy and Art Gish, leaders of Christian Peacemaker Teams who spoke on campus Oct. 17, know exactly how it feels to put their lives on the line for the cause of peace. Arising from a call in 1984 for nonviolent peacemaking, Christian Peacemaker Teams today work alongside the oppressed in hotspots all over the world. Peggy survived being kidnapped in Iraq earlier this year and planned to return to Northern Iraq this
fall. Art, who works in Israel/Palestine, has written several books, including Hebron Journal: Stories of Nonviolent Peacemaking, which tells of turmoil and suffering while expressing a vision for reconciliation between Jews, Muslims and Christians. The Gishes noted that part of CPT’s most powerful impact comes from what they term as the “Grandmother effect,” the idea that their teams’ presence alone tends to prevent fighting and injustice. Art said, “In a situation where they know they’re being watched and that what we see will be reported, it reduces violence.” n
‘Real Sex’ Author Lauren Winner Draws Huge Crowd Lauren Winner, author and assistant professor of Christian Spirituality at Duke Divinity School, opened the semester with a standing-room only lecture on the theme from her latest book, Real Sex: The Naked Truth About Chastity. Highlighting the myths the church teaches about sex, Winner acknowledged that chastity is a difficult spiritual discipline but noted that Christians should expect such hardship. “Our bodies are bound up in lives of suffering in a world in which redemption is not complete.” Winner is also the author of Girl Meets God: On the Path to a Spiritual Life and Mudhouse Sabbath and has appeared on PBS’s Religion & Ethics Newsweekly as well as written for The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post Book World and Christianity Today. n
PRSSA Chapter Wins National Awards
Journalism Students Land Major Awards
At the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) conference held this semester in Philadelphia, Belmont’s chapter won three national awards, taking home top honors in two categories and third place in another. Of the 285 chapters at colleges and universities nationwide, Belmont was selected for the Chapter Development Award and the Outstanding PRSA/PRSSA Chapter Relationship Award, winning a total of $1,100 in addition to an engraved bell and the presentation of two plaques.
The Country Music Association recently selected junior Courtney Drake, a journalism major and editor of the Belmont Vision, as the first recipient of the CMA Close Up Award of Merit. The award, created this year to honor the student who demonstrated the most creativity, dedication and promise in covering the 2007 CMA Music Festival, was presented during the backstage press conference of the 2007 CMA Awards.
Also, graduating senior Lisa Bates received two awards, a Gold Key award for student leadership in PRSSA and a Presidential Citation for outstanding service in the PRSSA and the Public Relations program. n
Meanwhile, Chansin Bird, a junior biblical studies major and journalism minor, was awarded the 2007 President’s Award for Collegiate Journalism Oct.13 at the Baptist Press Collegiate Journalism Conference in Nashville. To enter the competition, Bird submitted a portfolio of 10 articles, including work she had published in The Washington Post, USA Today and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. n
Denver and the Mile High Orchestra Compete on ‘Next Great American Band’ At press time, Denver and the Mile High Orchestra, a Nashville-based big band consisting of a number of Belmont alumni, made it into the Top 4 on new FOX television show “Next Great American Band.” For more information, visit the DMHO Web site at www.denvermho.com. n
Trustees’ Chair Marty Dickens Honored as Nashvillian of the Year Marty Dickens, the chairman of Belmont’s Board of Trustees, was recently honored as Outstanding Nashvillian of the Year by the local Kiwanis Club. The award is presented to a citizen who is known for significant service and contribution to the betterment of the city and who enhances the objects of the Kiwanis mission. Past recipients of the award include Martha Ingram, Jack Massey, Gov. Phil Bredesen, Vince Gill, Jeff Fisher and Mike Curb. n
Signing of BUSOP affiliation agreement with Vanderbilt University Medical Center
School of Pharmacy: A Perfect Prescription Inaugural class scheduled to enroll for 2008-09 Since the Spring 2007 announcement that Belmont would open a new School of Pharmacy (BUSOP) in Middle Tennessee, there’s been nothing but positive feedback and exceptional forward progress.
Curb College Professor Serves as Visiting Scholar in Hong Kong David Moser, associate professor in the Mike Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business, spent the Fall 2007 semester as a Visiting Scholar at Lingnan University in Hong Kong. At Lingnan, Moser taught a Business Law course and did research on copyright issues and the Asian entertainment industry. Moser, who previously spent three months as a Fulbright scholar conducting research on copyright enforcement in the Philippines, has noticed that Hong Kong has a particular international flair. “This kind of diversity is a great benefit to students, especially in the increasingly globalized world we live in.” n
Riechert Inducted into PRSA College of Fellows At the 2007 Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) International conference held in Philadelphia, Dr. Bonnie Riechert, assistant professor in the Communications Studies Department, was inducted into the prestigious College of Fellows, a lifetime achievement award given to only two percent of the nearly 22,000 PRSA members. Election to the College, based on lifetime achievement, is a professional honor awarded to senior practitioners and educators. n Riechert, center, with PRSSA Chapter President Emily Telford and PRSA Foundation President Gary McCormick
This summer Belmont named Dr. Philip E. Johnston as dean of the new School of Pharmacy following his 23 years with the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Department of Pharmaceutical Services. “It is my privilege to serve Belmont University and the many students who will come here to earn their Doctor of Pharmacy degree,” Johnston said. “There is no better place than Nashville, an established world health care hub, to establish such a school.” In addition to Johnston, BUSOP has hired 10 full-time faculty and staff and has established an 11-member Pharmacy Advisory Group that includes top executives from a number of esteemed pharmacy divisions, including Vanderbilt, Clayton Associates, Wal-Mart, HCA Tristar, WalGreens and CVS. In October, Belmont submitted a full application to the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, which will meet with BUSOP leadership in January to begin the official review of qualifications. The university has also signed affiliation contracts with 128 sites, which assures the new program’s students a myriad of training opportunities that will enable them to learn a broad spectrum of skills and competencies. By opening a School of Pharmacy, Belmont will help alleviate a growing problem, a shortage of pharmacy positions projected to call for 1,060 new positions needed in Tennessee and over 157,000 nationwide. The School of Pharmacy’s Web site—which outlines the program’s pillars in Management, Informatics, Managed Care and Missions—is now online at www.belmont.edu/pharmacy. n
P H A R M AC Y P L U S www.belmont.edu/pharmacy
This is Belmont University's Circle magazine for Fall 2007.