HO PE BELMONT UNIVERSITY
PRESIDENT’S REPORT 2021
BELMONT UNIVERSITY 2021 PRESIDENT’S REPORT
LET HOPE ABOUND THE INAUGURAL YEAR OF DR. L. GREGORY JONES
An Introduction WHEN MY WIFE SUSAN and I arrived on Belmont’s campus in 2021, we discovered a remarkably healthy institution. Financially strong, this University is home to exceptionally talented faculty and staff who are resourceful, focused on students’ success and committed to making a difference in the world. And these students! Creative, compassionate, entrepreneurially-minded… it has been an incredible joy to get to know so many members of this vibrant campus. Of course, I was also assuming this leadership role in the midst of an ongoing worldwide pandemic, one that only heightened the impact of the disparities, polarization, injustices and mental health challenges our communities were already facing. When it came to setting the tone for my inaugural year, one word resonated above all others: Hope. As a person of faith, I am called to hope. What’s more, I believe Belmont, as a Christ-centered institution, is particularly wellpositioned to be a catalyst for instilling hope through our work, ideas and innovative contributions. This first year we’ve been focusing our attention on ways we can Let Hope Abound both within our campus and throughout our region. Our efforts revolve around ideas of being—and developing— individuals who are:
hope inspiring character forming future shaping community engaging and bridge building. We’re grateful to witness these ideas spring to life and are excited to share with you the stories that resulted in 2021.
Dr. L. Gregory Jones, President
I N S P I R I N G
OPE New leadership prompts an intentional focus on Belmont becoming a catalyst for hope and inspiration on campus and beyond.
A Time to Let Hope Abound JUNE 1, 2021 marked a significant milestone for Belmont
The theme strongly resonated, bringing about a semester
University. For more than two decades, Belmont was led by Dr.
filled with hope-inspiring moments and events. One of the first
Bob Fisher, a visionary whose focus on growth saw the University’s
came with the September dedication of the new Fisher Center for
enrollment, footprint, facilities, budget and endowment expand
the Performing Arts. Fashioned after traditional European opera
in extraordinary fashion. On June 1, though, a new president was
houses, the new hall adds another diamond to Music City’s ring
taking the reins, building on the strengths that existed and casting
of world-class venues. In addition to showcasing the exceptional
God-sized dreams for the future.
talents and stories of Belmont students, faculty and alumni, the
Dr. L. Gregory Jones and his wife and partner, Rev. Susan Pendleton Jones, made clear from the very beginning the theme they hoped to set for their inaugural year: Let Hope Abound! “The sense of letting hope abound is not to say it’s a zero-sum game,” Jones remarked on his first day. “Rather, ‘letting hope abound’ says there is plenty for all of us to flourish. And our hope is that we will let hope abound to see what might be possible, what God has in store for Belmont.”
Fisher Center will be home to one-of-a-kind appearances from the world’s premiere experts, artists and performers and the site of unique collaborations. During the fall the Fisher Center hosted private performances from the Mark O’Connor Duo with Maggie O’Connor and Brad Paisley as well as an array of campus concerts, including the awe-inspiring and nationally televised “Christmas at Belmont.” Each event showcased how the Fisher Center will be a place for creativity and imagination to come to life through curating, producing and
For the next week that theme was reiterated and expanded upon in a flurry of meetings on campus and around the city. The Joneses spent intentional time greeting and getting to know Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, Nashville Mayor John Cooper, Metro Nashville Public Schools Director Dr. Adrienne Battle, CMA CEO Sarah Trahern, Meharry Medical College President Dr. James Hildreth, Vanderbilt University Chancellor Dr. Daniel Diermeier, HCA Healthcare executives, staff at nonprofit partner The Store and a number of local faith and neighborhood leaders. There were also numerous Belmont gatherings complete with “Agent of Hope”
presenting stories and art that inspire. The three-day Inauguration Celebration also epitomized the ‘Let Hope Abound’ theme, bringing together diverse leaders in education, healthcare, entrepreneurship and social innovation for informative conversations on making the world a better place. Students, faculty and staff contributed as well, through interactive digital art displays, engaging TED-style talks, wellness workshops and a community-building carnival complete with an on campus Ferris wheel.
T-shirts and murals to emphasize the theme.
Top 30 I N T H E N AT I O N F O R “Strong Commitment to Undergraduate Teaching” (U.S. News & World Report)
NAMED A 2021
National League for Nursing Center of Excellence
Fall 2021 Enrollment Fast Facts
A P P L I C AT I O N S
AV E R A G E
H I G H S C H O O L G PA
OV E R FA L L 2 0 2 0
TOTA L E N R O L L M E N T
M E A N A C T S CO R E
49 states 9 foreign countries &
Arielle Markowicz Brings Christmas to Campus Neighbors THE THEME OF abounding hope spread beyond big events and
The student emailed Dr. Jones an idea for Belmont to host a shared
exciting achievements—it infused daily life across the University,
meal with the community, and individuals and departments across
inspiring acts of kindness and compassion. Arielle Markowicz, a
campus jumped in to help Markowicz’s dream come to fruition.
junior music business student, offered a perfect example as she
Ultimately, more than 70 students, faculty and staff showed up to
helped spearhead a special holiday brunch in Harrington Place
volunteer, serve food and spend time with the dozens of guests
Dining Hall for local senior citizens.
who accepted the holiday brunch invitation.
The idea was born during a work shift when, while helping an
“As we planned for this event, we really emphasized the fact that
elderly customer with her order, Markowicz realized the woman
we are inviting people into our home here at Belmont,” Markowicz
was going to be alone for Christmas. “As I returned back to behind
noted. “To be able to give that love and warmth to our neighbors
the counter, I began to think about all the people who don’t have
is truly a gift.”
any family or friends to spend the holidays with and what I could do to change that.”
Undergraduate Outcomes Belmont Retention
Belmont 6-Year Graduation Rate Peers 6-Year Graduation Rate
Belmont First Destination/Career Outcomes Peers First Destination/Career Outcomes 0%
The Basin and Cloth: A New Tradition A NEW UNIVERSITY symbol was crafted for the November
diversity of Belmont students, faculty and staff. The hammered
Inauguration event, a large, layered wooden bowl to replace the
precious metal interior is intended to show how humans remain
traditional mace frequently used in academic ceremonies. While
malleable and can be shaped and adorned.
the mace—a weapon of bodyguards in medieval times—was used to represent authority in official ceremonies, the newly made bowl and an accompanying cloth will now be utilized by Belmont to symbolize humility and service, reflecting the gesture of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet.
In the artist statement about the piece, Regen wrote, “The imperfections in the wood that are clearly evident symbolize the imperfections in all of us. Keeping the raw edge/bark on the top cherry band, reminds us of how rough and unrefined we can be as we grow and learn. It exemplifies the brokenness of all of us and
Watkins College of Art Professor Doug Regen made the bowl from
how we are refined in spirit as we grow in faith. From a Belmont
layers of various wood species—Birch, Poplar, Maple, Mahogany,
University perspective, this exemplifies how we train students as
Elm, Black Walnut, Oak and raw edge Cherry—to represent the
they hone their skills in their area of study.”
O F G R A D U AT E S CO M P L E T E D AT L E A S T 1 I N T E R N S H I P
O F G R A D U AT E S E M P LOY E D I N MIDDLE TENNESSEE
2,161 D E G R E E S AWA R D E D I N 2 0 2 1
FO R MI N G
CHARA Developing Purpose, a course co-taught by Greg and Susan Jones, featured a guest appearance by author/scholar/public theologian Dr. Esau McCaulley, whose most recent work, Reading While Black, was named book of the year by Christianity Today.
A renewed emphasis on holistic development puts conversations on character formation front and center for everyone on campus.
Deepening Our Investment in Character Development CHARACTER FORMATION IS discussed far and wide—but what
launched in Spring 2022, taught by the Joneses. This course
does it mean? Belmont takes its lead from the biblical passage in
invites students to explore the importance of developing purpose
which the Apostle Paul encourages his readers to have the same
by keeping questions of God and faith at the heart of discerning
mindset as Jesus—to think, feel and live like Christ, as the ultimate
vocational paths and career choices.
example of well-formed character. Seeing character development through this lens further clarified the holistic approach already found in a Belmont education while igniting an array of new initiatives. In fact, in June the University announced the creation of a new campus-wide curriculum, funded by a $2.15 million grant from the Kern Family Foundation. The “Kern Initiative on Character, Entrepreneurial Mindset and Purpose” provides the foundation for creating a transformational framework, beginning first in Belmont’s healthcare programs, to infuse these character traits into all Belmont’s colleges and schools. “Thanks to the vision and generosity of the Kern Family Foundation, we can dream big as we begin to envision and implement a distinctive and holistic approach to education,” Dr. Jones said. “This will help ensure Belmont places excellent professionals from all disciplines into our communities who have a commitment to character, competence and caring, as well as the intellectual abilities and skills to be creative entrepreneurs with a clear sense of purpose.” Soon after, Belmont received news of support from another key partner—the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation—to further embed the concept of purpose across campus. This $200,000 grant supports intentional programming including a new alumni/ student mentorship initiative that further explores the intersection of purpose and vocation and a “Developing Purpose” course
With new programs popping up across the University, opportunities to infuse campus culture with conversations about character, purpose and God’s calling are abundant. After the announcement of Belmont’s Thomas F. Frist, Jr. College of Medicine in late 2020, the University began developing Nashville’s newest medical school—one focused on an integrative approach to medicine that considers the nuances of whole person care. Named in honor of Dr. Thomas F. Frist, and intent on honoring his lifelong commitment to excellent healthcare outcomes, the College of Medicine’s holistic approach to medical education is infused with an understanding of health equity, a respect of both patient and provider’s faith traditions and a commitment to interprofessional education. Throughout 2021, the College of Medicine named its core leadership team—under the direction of Founding Dean Dr. William Bates—and began construction on its future facility. To support the College and its efforts to shape the future of health care, Belmont Board of Trustees Chair, alumnus and retired HCA Healthcare Chairman and CEO Milton Johnson and his wife Denice gave a $10 million gift to the College to support its work in training the next generation of healthcare providers as excellent practitioners and people of exemplary character.
College of Medicine core leadership team
“We want Belmont students to be known as much for their character as their academic acumen. With this intentional focus on purpose, we hope to help our community members to shift their mindset from ‘what am I achieving?’ to ‘who am I becoming?’”
DR. AMY CROOK Vice President for Transformative Innovation, Character and Purpose
23,098 D O N O R S CO N T R I B U T E D TO
Record Breaking W E B E L I E V E C A M PA I G N
Leadership Development Programs W E R E O F F E R E D AC R O S S C A M P U S
$154,000 I N S C H O L A R S H I P S AWA R D E D TO S T U D E N T S A N N U A L LY T H A N K S TO T H E
Tennessee Health Care Hall of Fame and McWhorter Society
Pictured (l-r): Cheryl Byrd, Coach Rick Byrd, Rev. Susan Pendleton Jones and Belmont President Dr. Greg Jones
New Character Initiative Created in Honor of Hall of Fame Basketball Coach Rick Byrd THOUGH LONG-TIME basketball coach Rick Byrd may have
has previously noted how much he was influenced by his own
retired from his role on the court in 2019, his impact on students
father, a sports columnist, as well as the personal character and
remains and will continue to be honored through Belmont’s
Christian commitment of another legendary coach, John Wooden.
recent establishment of the Rick Byrd Character Formation and
It’s exciting to me to imagine the future men and women who
Leadership Program. This new initiative will create curriculum
will note Rick Byrd as their influence in leading a life of integrity,
around Byrd’s leadership, coaching and character formation
kindness and excellence. Through these new initiatives, Belmont
philosophies that will be embedded in academic courses and co-
ensures Rick’s legacy and impact will endure as individuals across
curricular programming across the University and beyond.
the university and in the community are inspired by his example.”
To further celebrate Coach Byrd’s exemplary character and
Under Coach Byrd’s leadership, Belmont catapulted to national
example, the Rick Byrd Character Award will annually recognize
prominence in both NCAA Division I and NAIA. Moreover—
an individual in the community who exemplifies the same traits.
and just as importantly—through his focus on student success,
Both initiatives come on the heels of Byrd’s November 2021
Belmont established an unparalleled standard of academic
induction into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame and
achievement. Since 2001, Belmont men’s basketball leads the
his receipt of the John R. Wooden Legends of Coaching Award.
nation in Academic All-America selections with 18. Furthermore,
Belmont Board Chair Milton Johnson, an alumnus who is also the retired Chairman/CEO of HCA Healthcare, said, “Rick
in the NCAA Division I era, every Belmont player who completed eligibility under Byrd’s watch earned his degree, with only two scholarship student-athletes transferring out over his final 15 years.
Belmont’s Impact on Character Formation GRADUATING STUDENT SURVEY
Gained an awareness of moral and ethical societal issues
Developed greater leadership skills
Better prepared to take on leadership opportunities
Became more aware of different philosophies, cultures and ways of life 69% Relate well to people of different background and identities
Making a meaningful contribution to their field is one of their goals 0%
Health Care Pioneers Demonstrate Character for Students SINCE ITS FOUNDING in 2015, the Tennessee Health Care Hall of
“Over the course of the past 18 months, the pandemic has refocused
Fame—an initiative established by partners Belmont University, the
the spotlight on health care and the important role health care
McWhorter Society and the Nashville Health Care Council—has
professionals play in our lives,” said Dr. Jones. “Now more than
honored 43 inductees. These honorees serve as excellent models
ever, we want to honor the leaders in this vital field, individuals who
for Belmont students to emulate as they work to develop and
demonstrate the character, compassion and strength of purpose
shape their own vocation and character.
that quite literally transforms lives on a daily basis.”
This year’s celebration honored two classes of inductees and provided an incredible list of 10 health care heroes from across the state, representing many facets of the growing health care industry.
This Years Inductees THE 2020 CLASS
THE 2021 CLASS
Monroe Dunaway “M.D.” Anderson
Namesake for M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
Co-founder, former Chairman, Director, President and CEO of Healthways (now Tivity Health)
Governor Phil Bredesen Former Governor of Tennessee and Mayor of Nashville
Kathryn M. Edwards, M.D.
Autry O.V. “Pete” DeBusk Founder and Chairman of DeRoyal Industries, Inc.
Sarah H. Sell and Cornelius Vanderbilt Endowed Chair in Pediatrics and renowned Researcher and Vaccine Developer
William E. Evans, Pharm. D.
Donald S. MacNaughton
James E.K. Hildreth, Ph.D., M.D.
Former CEO and Chairman of HCA Healthcare
President and CEO of Meharry Medical College and renowned immunologist
G. Scott Morris, M.D. Founder and CEO of Church Health of Memphis
Former CEO of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Robert Sanders, M.D. Former Chairman of the Accident Prevention Committee of the Tennessee Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
Meharry Medical College President Dr. James Hildreth and The Joint Commission’s Dr. Jonathan Perlin
S H A P I N G T H E
URE Belmont works to solve society’s most complex problems, uniting academia and industry to help communities flourish.
Walker Mathews, president of contractor R.C. Mathews, tours Dr. Jones through the construction site of a new 600+ bed campus residence hall.
Students participate in Belmont’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships in the Sciences (SURFS) program
Working Toward a Brighter Tomorrow BELMONT’S WORK TO shape the future of our communities
across campus. These new programs are informed by current
starts with a mindset oriented toward what’s ahead. The world
and future needs of society, clearly evidenced by Belmont’s new
is moving at light speed and Belmont has positioned itself with
supply chain management major as well as a new doctorate in
design thinking: starting with the end in mind, then working
mental health counseling.
backwards to construct our path to get there. Data, healthcare and entrepreneurship will lead the way as we work to create brighter futures for our city, our state, our region and our world.
New programs and initiatives are made possible only by Belmont’s generous donor base. The university completed its most ambitious fundraising effort, the five-year We Believe campaign,
As data is playing an ever-increasing role across all vocations,
and far surpassed its goal by raising $326,674,688. These funds
Belmont is launching the Belmont Data Collaborative (BDC) and
confirm Belmont’s Christ-centered mission will thrive for years
committing to invest more than $60 million in the initiative over
to come. Additionally, the Massey family gave a $15 million gift,
the next five years. The new initiative, led by Dr. Charlie Apigian,
matching the largest single gift in University history, honoring the
will serve internal and external audiences by promoting data
legacy of legendary entrepreneur Jack C. Massey. The gift secures
fluency and data-driven solutions to all types of problems, while
the naming rights of the under-construction Jack C. Massey Center,
creating pipelines for jobs that require data skills.
designed to foster data, discovery and design while encouraging
“The greatest need isn’t just for the next cohort of data scientists; it’s for data-driven problem solvers in every field,” said Apigian.
students to approach issues with a transformational mindset. Providing students with opportunities to shape their futures
In November, more than 70 students representing 22 majors
is further emphasized through hands-on experience and
participated in Belmont’s first “Data Hackathon,” illustrating an
mentorship outside of the classroom. The new Buntin Award
untapped hunger for data skills. Through the BDC, the University
for Creative Ventures empowers students who are starting an
will integrate data fluency in all disciplines with moral, ethical and
enterprise at the intersection of arts and business and provides
coaching through Belmont’s Cone Entrepreneurship Center. And
Beyond the BDC, Belmont’s educational programming continues to focus on in-demand careers with the addition of new majors
in athletics, student-athletes found a new (and larger!) stage this year when the University announced its transition from the Ohio Valley Conference to the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC).
“The greatest need isn’t just for the next cohort of data scientists; it’s for data-driven problem solvers in every field.”
DR. CHARLIE APIGIAN Executive Director of the Belmont D ata Collaborative
Investment in New Construction Provides Additional Space for Discovery, Fellowship and Exploration SHAPING THE FUTURE means investing in space that fosters
on the south end of campus. Residents will have access to a fitness
community, allows students to discover their purpose and equips
center, flexible space for studying and gathering, two exterior
them to make the world a better place.
courtyards and more.
In 2021, Belmont opened the Crockett Center for Athletic
Finally, Belmont broke ground on two additional academic
Excellence which serves as the primary training home for
buildings: the Thomas F. Frist, Jr. College of Medicine and the
Belmont’s nationally-regarded men’s and women’s basketball and
Jack C. Massey Center, a building dedicated to data, discovery
volleyball programs. In addition to housing two full courts, the
and design. Once completed, the Massey Center will be home
two-story, 45,000 square foot facility features athletic training, a
to the University’s Admissions Welcome Center, the Belmont
video room, locker rooms, conference and equipment rooms and
Data Collaborative and the Cone Center for Entrepreneurship,
team lounge areas.
among other entities. Meanwhile the Frist College of Medicine is
Inspiring whole person formation means creating space for students to learn and develop outside the classroom, including through programming and experiences in a new 600-bed new residence hall set to open in Fall 2022. The 268,000 square foot building will join Belmont’s residential village for upperclassmen
designed to create a fully interdisciplinary educational experience, allowing students in Belmont’s existing health science programs to interact with aspiring MDs and work together, just as they would within the healthcare delivery system.
UNIVERSITY NAMED AMONG
“Most Innovative” F O R 1 4 T H CO N S E C U T I V E Y E A R (U.S. News & World Report)
ACROSS 5 YEARS FROM
$102 Million TO
$340 Million Returns in Top 3rd of All Universities
23,000+ D O N O R S CO N T R I B U T E D TO R E CO R D B R E A K I N G W E B E L I E V E C A M PA I G N
J A C K C . M AS S E Y CO L L E G E O F B U S I N E S S R E CO G N I Z E D AS
Career Ready Business School
ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAM RANKED
No. 30 In the Nation
(Princeton Review/Entrepreneur M agazine)
Empowering Student Entrepreneurs with ‘Jeffrey R. Cornwall Legacy Launch Fund’ FOR MORE THAN 20 YEARS, Professor of Entrepreneurship Dr. Jeff Cornwall has built a legacy of helping students develop their dreams as they start and grow their entrepreneurial ventures. To honor his longstanding commitment to students, the Cone Center for Entrepreneurship surprised him with the establishment of the Jeffrey R. Cornwall Legacy Launch Fund this year, celebrating Cornwall’s success and contributions toward building entrepreneurship at Belmont into a nationally recognized program. The Fund will support students whose entrepreneurial vision and spirit holds the potential to leave a legacy through the launch and growth of a venture. The preliminary $25,000 goal to jumpstart the endowment was far surpassed as generous donors contributed nearly $45,000! Dr. Cornwall was surprised with the Fund’s establishment at the 2021 Top 100 Alumni Entrepreneur Awards, an annual celebration honoring Belmont’s best alumni founders for their excellence in entrepreneurship. “Enduring legacies are built on strong foundations,” said Elizabeth Gortmaker, director of the Cone Center for Entrepreneurship. “This endowment provides an opportunity to support our next generation of entrepreneurs and the ventures that have the power to leave lasting legacies of their own.”
We Believe Campaign Endowed Scholarships Ensures more qualified students can receive a Belmont education regardless of financial means
Faculty Support Endowed chairs/professorships attract and retain expert educators
Missions Support Enhance students’ ability to serve in the U.S. and abroad
Athletics Endowed scholarships support high-caliber student athletes who embody Belmont values
Annual Giving Supports the student experience and creates a culture of philanthropy
$ 14 1,9 13 ,6 84
$ 16 ,9 4 8 ,793
$ 6 ,0 4 8 ,4 89
$ 14 ,4 16 ,735
$ 5 1,92 2 ,5 88
E N GAGI N G
UNITI E S Forging pathways to opportunities often calls for collaboration—or better yet a radical champion— for our collective communities to truly flourish.
Campus volunteers deliver free poinsettias to a local senior living community.
Creating Pathways for All to Flourish AT BELMONT UNIVERSITY, the students, faculty and staff are
and community organizations such as The Branch of Nashville and
dedicated to lifting up and engaging with communities in Middle
Antioch United Methodist Church to reimagine food distribution,
Tennessee. This work manifests itself in many ways. We collaborate
build improved models for service and design a community center.
across disciplines and through varying perspectives to take on
This work is already underway in South Nashville as just one of the
complex, systemic problems. We work with a host of community
grant recipients in the BASIC initiative.
partners to open doors for education and services to those who need it. We strive to meet the needs of an evolving workforce by engaging and supporting both students and prospective employers in innovative ways. We provide paths to a life abundant by serving and working alongside our communities to make an impact—together.
Additionally, the newly formed Transformational Innovation Hub will focus on growing a generation of Christ-animated innovators who collaboratively design and implement creative solutions to complex societal problems. Meanwhile in the School of Occupational Therapy, faculty and students supported research and testing around Permobil’s Explorer Mini invention, which
Since stepping into the leadership role at Belmont, Dr. Jones has
helps mobility for children with diseases like muscular dystrophy
led a call toward community engagement in Nashville as well as
and cerebral palsy. It earned a spot on TIME magazine’s best
more broadly in Middle Tennessee. His appeal seeks to prompt
inventions of 2021.
students, faculty and staff to action to embrace and serve our neighbors as a trusted community partner while being radical champions for flourishing for all.
The Belmont community also engages through service and shared resources. A new student chapter of Habitat for Humanity builds shelter for those who live among us. A partnership with
“We’re going to have to work at the intersections,” Dr. Jones said
Metro Nashville Parks helps bring active life to green spaces,
at a recent campus presentation outlining the University’s future
championing wellness for our neighbors. Nearby, the inaugural
direction. “We want to help people be inspired and enabled to
“University You at Belmont” program provides pathways for high
come together to work across disciplines, to work across colleges
school students with the potential, but maybe not a clear path, to
and across faculty and staff with community partners in ways that
become first-generation college students.
can help solve the real and big challenges.”
The nationally renowned arts education at Belmont extends
For example, how can we as a community address barriers to
community partnerships as well. Local arts organizations will be
flourishing such as intergenerational poverty, health care inequities
an integral aspect of the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, the
and drug abuse? One avenue is through the new BASIC Initiative
$180 million multifunctional facility that opened in September
(Belmont Accelerator for Social Innovation Collaboration), which
2021. A Nashville Opera collaboration on Richard Wagner’s
aims to create solutions to problems so pervasive and complex
epic “Das Rheingold” will debut in the space in May followed by
they require intensive collaboration and experimentation across
a Nashville Ballet residency. The Belmont community is learning
a variety of sectors. Imagine a group of faculty from business,
from and with local partners while sharing resources with
occupational therapy and honors joining forces with nonprofits
70% S T U D E N T VOT E R PA R T I C I PAT I O N
2 Recipients O F S TAT E W I D E H A R O L D LOV E
Outstanding Community Service Award
Student-Run Store Promotes Wellness for All WALK THROUGH THE doors at Where the Well Things Are, a
“In the past two years, a lot of people have realized that they
student-run shop along Belmont Boulevard, and you might catch
were mostly just going through the motions and didn’t have a
the aroma of grapefruit-scented pomade or lavender loose-leaf
personalized vision of what wellness meant to them,” said Erin
teas. Yoga mats and cans of kombucha bottled by Belmont alums
Eversole, store manager and senior marketing major. “I think the
also stock the shelves. And if these goods produce a feeling or an
pandemic, quarantine and being less social made people realize that
aspiration of well-being–well, mission accomplished.
they needed to start being more intentional about their wellness.”
In the midst of the pandemic, a group of 12 Belmont students,
Where the Well Things Are is part of a Belmont initiative, through
who pooled their varied skills to run the shop, wanted to help their
oversight from the Thomas F. Cone Sr. Center for Entrepreneurship,
peers feel less isolated while also returning to a life of wellness.
to foster skills, learning and growth for students while engaging with the Belmont community and beyond.
25,493 H O U R S O F CO M M U N I T Y S E RV I C E AT M O R E T H A N
65 Community Partners
55 Freshmen VO L U N T E E R W I T H
10 Ministries I N N A S H V I L L E ‘ P LU N G E ’ M I S S I O N OV E R FA L L B R E A K
21st Nationally FOR STUDENTS’ 1ST YEAR EXPERIENCE
“We’re going to have to work at the intersections. We want to help people be inspired and enabled to come together to work across disciplines, to work across colleges and across faculty and staff with community partners in ways that can help solve the real and big challenges.”
DR. GREG JONES President of Belmont University
Encouraging Campus Connections FOOD, BOOKS, MUSIC—it’s where folks come together. Several recent campus initiatives at Belmont, including a Food Truck Friday and campus-wide book club, give space for community engagement and provide a table, so to speak, for gathering and exchanging ideas. The Joneses launched these initiatives, among others, soon after they arrived at Belmont
As the name suggests, Food Truck Friday brings a weekly fleet of local restaurants on wheels to campus for a gathering of diverse cuisines. On hump days, “It must be Wednesday” draws students to the Freedom Plaza and the Lawn, a central greenspace on campus, for a cup of free coffee from local shop Frothy Monkey and tabling from featured clubs and organizations.
making the couple’s intentions clear on how they hope to foster a
Both avid readers, Greg and Susan Jones also launched a campus-
renewed sense of connection on campus.
wide book club to share their favorite titles and further develop a
After a year of increased Zoom calls and social distancing, moving back to campus with new community traditions helped feel like a return to home.
sense of community and hope. These events not only invite new tradition, but further strengthen a campus culture and recognize the importance of belonging and unity.
Focused on its Christ-centered vision, it is incumbent upon the Belmont community to educate and train leaders who are committed to diversity, equity and inclusion.
American historian, writer, lawyer, activist, professor and Nashville native Dr. Mary Frances Berry spent multiple days on campus sharing her journey of fighting injustice.
Cultivating Connections, Seeking Understanding INTENT ON TRANSFORMING lives through education, in 2021
understanding and engagement of the Latino population with
Belmont announced a significant increase to the innovative
Belmont. It’s about being very intentional about connecting,
Bridges to Belmont program, growing from 34 students to 50. The
interacting, understanding, engaging, supporting and welcoming
Bridges initiative was designed eight years ago to provide high-
the different, diverse groups that are part of our society.”
need, high-achieving Metro Nashville students full-ride access into a Belmont University education, and this increase will multiply the impact the program has on Middle Tennessee. Students may now graduate from one of 10 local public high schools, and the hope is to continue growing the program each year. “We believe we can help our hometown and surrounding suburban and rural areas thrive, in part by educating and forming more local students to become problem solvers and leaders of character,” said Dr. Jones. “Every young person in Middle Tennessee deserves to flourish, and by expanding our Bridges initiative, we can contribute to giving more students access to an education that can transform their lives and their families’ lives for generations to come.”
Belmont’s Black Student Association also started a new “Lunch on the Lawn” tradition in the fall to connect with black faculty and staff on campus over a casual lunch, providing a space for Belmont’s black students, faculty and staff to meet and build connections. BSA President Ashley Sawyers explained, “We want everyone to feel as if they have somewhere and someone to help them thrive during their time at Belmont.” Fostering campus connection and ongoing, open dialogue in the area of diversity, equity and inclusion is a priority at Belmont. Through the University’s Welcome Home Diversity Council and other groups like the Black Student Association, there are evergrowing outlets for these discussions. Both student and employee groups may attend regular “real talks” where they are encouraged
And when these students begin their journeys at Belmont, they
to engage in a safe group space. The University Ministries team
do thrive—whether it is from available academic and co-curricular
also hosted several reading groups in 2021, collectively talking
support or opportunities to get involved in student organizations.
through books on the topic of racial justice.
Belmont Bridges Scholar Daron Baltazar, for instance, said he found a sense of community on campus through the Hispanic Student Association, a growing organization as Belmont’s Latino population continues to increase. Belmont’s recently launched Hispanic Task Force will use this momentum to continue cultivating more connections in this community to futher enrich the Belmont experience for all.
Another opportunity to experience different perspectives came with “Bridging the Gap,” a nationally recognized program that focuses on bridging divides by bringing together students from different backgrounds to learn, listen to one another, and work together to pursue policy and practice change on significant issues. Belmont students joined a cohort from Vanderbilt and Fisk Universities to commit to learning about the Criminal Justice
“It’s not only about bringing Latino students to campus,” said Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship and Management Dr. Jose
System and working together on a final project aimed at making long term changes.
Gonzalez, chair of the Task Force. “It’s also about elevating the
21.3% O F FA L L 2 0 2 1 F R E S H M E N F R O M H I S TO R I C A L LY UNDERREPRESENTED GROUPS—REPRESENTS BELMONT’S
Most diverse entering cohort in history
Bridges scholar Antionedra Maupin poses with Metro Nashville Public Schools Director Dr. Adrienne Battle after Belmont announced a significant expansion to the Bridges to Belmont program.
Recognizing Our History— Belmont Dedicates Freedom Plaza IN 2021, BELMONT UNIVERSITY acknowledged the history of the land on which the campus sits, dedicating the area surrounding the campus’s iconic fountain as Freedom Plaza to celebrate
Rev. Susan Pendleton Jones Honored with Creation of Fund to Support First Generation College Students
and memorialize the lives of the enslaved individuals who are
AS INAUGURATION WEEK BEGAN, Dr. Jones cast the spotlight
known to have labored on this property more than 170 years
on his partner and wife Susan with the announcement of the
ago, prior to the establishment of Belmont College. The 26
new $1 million+ Susan Pendleton Jones Endowment for First
known names of these people—as well as a 27th commemoration
Generation Students at Belmont University. Made possible by gifts
for “those whose names are known only to God”—are now
from Dr. Jones, the Jones’ family and a University match, the fund
inscribed on the fountain. A plaque has been installed
supports individuals who are the first in their families to pursue
commemorating the naming of the plaza as a reflection of the
lyrics to the “Oh Freedom” spiritual.
Drawing on her own experience as a first-generation college
“When the last of the enslaved received word of their freedom
student, Rev. Pendleton Jones is a passionate supporter of
in 1865, there was a bittersweet reality—this so-called freedom
education and first-generation students. The endowment will take
would still be laden with oppression and inequality,” said
a special focus on students coming to Belmont from community
Professor of Music Dr. Jeffery Ames, who sang at the dedication.
college experiences, honoring her mother’s journey late in life of
“Unfortunately, for descendants of the American slavery system, our freedom remains historically emancipated, but has yet to be fully delivered. The premise of the spiritual combines a longing for freedom, both then and now, and a hope for redemption.”
attending and graduating from community college herself.
“It’s not only about bringing Latino students to campus... It’s about being very intentional about connecting, interacting, understanding, engaging, supporting and welcoming the different, diverse groups that are part of our society.”
D R . J O S E GO N Z A L E Z Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship and M anagement
“We want everyone to feel as if they have somewhere and someone to help them thrive during their time at Belmont.”
AS H L E Y S AW Y E R S Black Student Association President
Belmont Celebrates Juneteenth NOW A NEWLY RECOGNIZED federal holiday, Belmont held its
“This is the type of Bridge Building work we must be doing—work
first “Juneteenth: Celebrating Freedom” event on campus in June.
that acknowledges painful history, promotes understanding and
The reception and exhibit featured a visual display, designed to
empathy, and creates opportunity to build community,” Jones
educate, engage and inspire, explaining the importance of the
said. “It is an excellent example of making progress toward our
holiday and providing the opportunity for Belmont community
goal for Belmont to be a leader in reweaving the social fabric.”
members to support local Black-Owned and operated businesses. A special display at the campus event presented the life stories of relatives of Black faculty and staff members after receiving their freedom.
Staff member Andrea McClain points to a campus recognition of her ancestor during the University’s inaugural Juneteenth celebration
Moving forward, Juneteenth will be recognized as an official campus holiday at Belmont.
“Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine…” — Ephesians 3:20
What’s Next? Our Pathways to 2030 FOR BELMONT UNIVERSITY, 2021 was a pivotal year, as new leadership reframed our approach to focus intentionally and intently on the concept of Hope: leaning into it, cultivating it and leveraging it to impact communities. This emphasis provided a perfect foundation for renewed conversations about Belmont’s mission and vision. Hope became the lens through which we asked questions about present realities and future ambitions: •
Who are we entering 2022?
What do we want to be about?
What God-sized dreams should drive our efforts?
Through conversations with faculty, staff, students, Board members and alumni, key themes began to emerge, leading to new mission and vision statements that best represent the Belmont University of today.
Mission We are a Christ-centered, student-focused community, developing diverse leaders of purpose, character, wisdom and transformational mindset, eager and equipped to make the world a better place. With this mission as our centering ideal, a new vision statement was also crafted to guide all our efforts moving forward and to set a high bar for the Belmont University we want to see in 2030. And this vision includes five strategic pathways we believe will be critical to this institution achieving its aspirational aims.
Vision To be the leading Christ-centered university in the world, radically championing the pursuit of life abundant for all people. New leadership. New vision. New framework for how we approach our work. As 2021 came to a close, Belmont was poised and eager to build on the abundant hope discovered this past year to inspire even greater stories for 2022.
“OUR ASPIRATIONS FOR THE NEXT DECADE ARE LIMITED ONLY BY OUR IMAGINATION. WE WANT TO BE A UNIVERSITY THAT ASPIRES TO BIG DREAMS— GOD-SIZED DREAMS. DREAMS THAT CAN TRANSFORM LIVES.” DR. L. GREGORY JONES Belmont University President
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