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Dr. Herbert C. Gabhart 1914-2009

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Alumna and three-time Grammy winner Trisha Yearwood rehearses for her hosting duties at the annual “Christmas at Belmont� concert at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. The program will be broadcast nationally on PBS Dec. 23. Check local listings for times.

Fall 2009 1

From the President As I write these words, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around Belmont University. Festive greenery hangs from buildings old and new, and sparkling lights decorate the historic gazebos lining the quad. More importantly, everywhere I turn there are signs that the Belmont community understands the true meaning of the season as Angel Trees and Toy Drives and countless other charity efforts are visible all over campus.

Circle Credits University Administration President Bob Fisher Provost Marcia McDonald Vice President for Presidential Affairs Susan West Vice President of Finance and Operations Steve Lasley

In preparation for Christmas, each year Belmont’s School of Religion publishes an Advent Devotional Guide for our community. I was struck recently when reading the submission from Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder, an assistant professor of religion: “The presentation of Jesus into the world helps to put into perspective and order what will be our presence in the world. While this time of year calls us to reflect on why Jesus came to dwell among us, this season also compels us to reconsider how we are to live with and among each other.”

Vice President for Administration and University Counsel Jason Rogers

My prayer is that Belmont University will always encourage and inspire students to ponder how “to live with and among each other.” This is our mission, to empower our graduates to engage and transform the world. We recently announced the opening of a College of Law that I believe will continue the fulfillment of that mission as Belmont law students will be challenged to pursue justice, civic engagement and community leadership. Moreover, our Health Sciences programs—and the new building that will provide expansion space for those programs—offer innumerable opportunities for our students to serve our neighbors both now and in the future. In addition, the launch of the Center for Social Entrepreneurship and Service-Learning provides another avenue for educating students on how to alleviate social problems through sound business efforts.

Managing Editor April Hefner

While these and other articles in this Circle magazine show the heart of this university, it’s unquestionably our cover story that most obviously points to the kind of “presence in the world” we seek. With this issue we honor our late Chancellor, Dr. Herbert C. Gabhart, who passed away in September. His legacy of service, his Godly example and his passion for students will forever inspire and define Belmont University. May we follow boldly in his footsteps.

Vice President of University Advancement Bethel (Bo) Thomas, Jr. Vice President of Spiritual Development Todd Lake


Designers Glenda Dahlhauser Josh DeLoach April Maglothin Sara Spencer Josh Wilkerson University Photographer J. Michael Krouskop Contributing Photographers Wes Aldridge Chris Speed Contributing Writers Suzanne Clement Jennifer McMakin Greg Sage Jennifer Wetzel Production and Distribution Coordinators April Maglothin Veronica Smith

Merry Christmas and Happy 2010,

Dr. Robert C. Fisher, President

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) 460-6641 or Belmont University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer under all applicable civil rights laws.


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 ew students jump into campus life at Welcome Week N 2009’s Fresh Fest.

Table of Contents 2 From the President

14 Being Belmont: Bruin Den Day

4 Dr. Gabhart: ‘Heart and Soul’ of Belmont Leaves 50-year Legacy of Leadership

16 Campus News

8 Belmont Opens College of Law

22 Belmont Achievers

10 40 States in 40 Days: Rediscovering America

26 Belmont Athletics

12 Health Sciences Tops Out New Building

28 Spiritual Development

20 Community Involvement

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Dr. Herbert C. Gabhart 1914-2009


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“Every day I live I will say a good word and do a good deed for Belmont.”

‘Heart and soul’ of Belmont leaves 50-year legacy of leadership Dr. Herbert C. Gabhart, 95, chancellor and retired president of Belmont University, passed away Sept. 10 in Nashville. Dr. Gabhart served Belmont University for 50 years, leading as president of Belmont College from 1959-1983 and inspiring the campus as chancellor for the past 26 years. Belmont President Bob Fisher said, “Dr. Gabhart represented the heart and soul of Belmont for the past 50 years, and we will miss him deeply. However, his legacy of love for this institution and the people here will live on. We all recognize that Belmont’s successes today come from standing atop his shoulders and building on all that he first achieved. His words, his life and his vision will continue to inspire and guide Belmont into the future.” Dr. Gabhart served as president of Belmont College from 1959 until he retired in 1982 and began his term as chancellor of Belmont, a position he held for 27 years. During his tenure as president, Belmont experienced phenomenal growth in enrollment and physical space. When he arrived at Belmont College in 1959, the school’s enrollment was 360 students. When he retired as president in 1982, Belmont’s student population had grown by 500 percent to more than 2,000. He oversaw a budget increase from $480,000 to $8 million, and the campus also saw physical expansion with the addition of nine new buildings and several new majors and degrees, including music, nursing, business and more.

Dedicating 50 years of his life and career to Belmont University, Dr. Gabhart’s fingerprints are evident across the campus, including in the Gabhart Student Center named in his honor. Under his leadership, Belmont forged numerous relationships with community leaders—including Jack C. Massey and the Maddox family—that brought the institution to new heights. Dr. Gabhart also guided the college through significant challenges in its early history as a four-year institution, including a fire that destroyed an academic building and periods of financial strain. Upon his retirement as president of Belmont in 1983, Dr. Gabhart said, “Every day I live I will say a good word and do a good deed for Belmont,” a promise he more than fulfilled. Dr. Herbert Conway Gabhart was born on August 19, 1914 in Morganfield, Ky., and is survived by his wife Dr. Norma Baker Gabhart, daughters Betty Fay Gabhart Smith and Jo Ellen Gabhart Aleshire, sons-in-law James Randolph Smith and Daniel O. Aleshire, four grandchildren, his sister Helen Louise Gabhart Hayden and five nieces and nephews. Dr. Gabhart was preceded in death by his wife of 56 years, Helen Ashburn Gabhart (1999), his eldest daughter, Diana Ruth Gabhart (1994), and two siblings, Elizabeth Lorene Gabhart and William Royal Gabhart. The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, sympathy be expressed by donations to the Herbert C. Gabhart Scholarship Fund at Belmont University using the envelope inserted in this magazine. n

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In honor of Dr. Gabhart’s 95th birthday in August, the Office of Alumni Relations created a book of memories and well wishes. Below are quotes and excerpts from that book: I remember you came up to me in the cafeteria before basketball season my Senior year, and you let me know it was time to lead the Bruins to a championship... And you said you hoped my shoulders are strong because I was going to have to carry a heavy load. Well your words kick started that season for me, and the 2006 Bruins went on to play in our first NCAA tourney. Thanks again Dr. Gabhart! Brian “Penny” Collins ’06, Men’s Basketball I can remember that your door was always open, symbolizing your desire to communicate and interact with the students… I still have every “congratulations” and “encouragement” letter you sent me during my four years at Belmont! Thank you for being the kind of college President who cared and was involved with the students. I will always have fond memories of you and my time at Belmont College. Mae Ann Baird Watson ’71 I will never forget one year you were the honored guest for a National Alumni Advancement Board luncheon. Your plane was late getting home from California, your luggage was lost, you hadn’t slept in two days. Instead of going home with the perfect excuse for missing yet another Belmont banquet, you raced from the airport to our luncheon, gave a rousing speech about Belmont being a “growth stock” (boy were you right!), and closed with a prayer—all from memory. Bless you, Dr. Gabhart… You are better than a great man. You are a good man. Andy Martin ’82


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A month before I was born, a letter was sent to my parents’ home addressed to me from “Belmont College, Office of the President.” My parents were great friends with Dr. Gabhart, but this was addressed to me, the child still baking in my mother’s womb. What in the world would he have to say to an unborn child? Well, he told me that I was being born into a wonderful family with parents who would love me and two brothers, who he suggested I not let bully me around. He told me about growing up and how glad he would be to meet me. And of course, the way a good College President does, he did some recruiting, too. In the letter was $5 with instructions for my dad to put it in an interest bearing account so that 18 years later I would have enough money for the application fee to Belmont. Twenty eight years later, I’m a Belmont alumna and a current Belmont staffer. Thanks Dr. Gabhart for all you are, and all you have done for Belmont… and for me. Laurianne Cates ’03, Development It was mid-morning in the early ’60s, yet this meeting has been perpetuated in my mind for the last 46 years. As a Cuban political refugee, Castro had denied me my high school diploma, and I was unable to speak a word of English. I had nothing to show for myself… who would let me into college? It was against all hope. Dr. Gabhart, I remember our mid-morning meeting like it was yesterday. Your decision impacted my life, my family, my entire being, from that moment on. You planted a seed of hope and opportunity the day we first met, and when I look back on my 65 years of life, I see that I have received so many blessings that I didn’t deserve as a result of how you touched my life that day. Jorge Moran ’67

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Given the public role of many legal professionals, we believe a vital element of the Belmont Law education will be preparing our students for roles as community leaders and change agents.


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- President Fisher

Belmont Opens

College of Law

The one-year anniversary of Belmont’s hosting of the 2008 Town Hall Presidential Debate brought an unexpected celebration all its own. On Oct. 7, 2009, Belmont announced the opening of a College of Law, the first new law school in Middle Tennessee in nearly 100 years. Belmont’s College of Law represents the university’s seventh college and fourth doctoral program. The College will begin classes in fall 2011, and when at full capacity, it will enroll approximately 350 students. “Belmont is focused on offering students a transformative education that enables their own civic engagement,” said Dr. Bob Fisher, president. “Given the public role of many legal professionals, we believe a vital element of the Belmont Law education will be preparing our students for roles as community leaders and change agents.” Belmont’s College of Law provides a natural extension of the university’s mission and vision, which emphasize challenging academics, a service-minded approach, realworld experience and community leadership. Belmont law graduates will be practice-ready attorneys, empowered by their education and co-curricular experiences to provide legal counsel in a variety of settings, with commitment to high standards of expertise and ethics. The College of Law will be housed on campus in a new building that will include a state-of-the-art Law Library. A month after the initial announcement, Belmont introduced Professor Jeff Kinsler as the new College of Law’s founding dean. Currently a professor of law and senior scholar with Elon University School of Law in North Carolina, Kinsler previously served as dean of Appalachian School of Law, which he led to full American Bar Association (ABA) approval during his tenure.

n Kinsler

Kinsler said, “I joined Belmont because it is determined to create a new kind of law school, one that produces professional, practice-ready attorneys for today’s global legal market. I’m convinced that Belmont University College of Law will be able to attract first-rate faculty and students.” W. Scott Sims, the 2008 president of the Nashville Bar Association and a member of the law firm Walker, Tipps & Malone PLC, said, “The Belmont University College of Law will be a wonderful addition to Nashville and to the entire region. As the legal landscape continues to evolve and our society faces new opportunities, it’s important to have bright, young minds who can engage new dilemmas of justice and the law. It’s easy to see from the fine graduates Belmont has produced as well as the incredible job the university did last year in hosting the presidential debate, that Belmont can tackle any challenge and succeed.” n

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belmont university

Students travel 40 days, 9,300+ miles

to define what it means to bE

AN American Planning to see “The United States in 40 Days,” 10 Belmont University students and two faculty members boarded a chartered sleeper bus this summer to begin a 9,300+ mile crosscountry journey in an attempt to answer the question, “What Does It Mean to Be an American?” The class traveled through 40 states on this first-of-its-kind, study-at-home journey, chronicling their experiences on a daily blog as they visited sites of national and historical significance and encountered “local culture” everywhere from the Deep South to the West Coast to the Northeast and all points in between. Sociology Department Chair Dr. Ken Spring, who first conceived of the class more than two years ago, recounts the trip’s impact. “In a short 40 days, I gathered enough ‘stories’ to last a lifetime,” Spring said. “Every day was a surprise, but the one thing that we all took from the various experiences and encounters was hope. Americans are a friendly bunch. The outreach and support that we received on our travels inspired us, gave us hope, and in many ways pushed us to continue. Constructed to include cultural and economic epicenters, iconic landmarks and places of special interest, “The United States in 40 Days” included a full day of exploration and discovery at each stop as well as an evening discussion of the uniqueness of each place along with the larger themes at play: politics, religion, education, identity, media, the economy, family, race, gender, etc.

photos by Chris Speed

Junior Elisabeth Cairnes, a sociology major and philosophy minor, said, “To really define this amazing experience in one moment is tough; there were so many ‘wow’ moments! I think in a metaphorical way I can relate this trip to time that the class spent in the Grand Canyon. A group of us started the trek down, and along the way we would ask the next person to come up how hard it was and how much longer to the first checkpoint. Those people were strangers, but they all shared something with us.” Junior nursing major Jenni Kilen added, “When I think about the trip in retrospect, I realize how blessed I was to have the opportunity to travel and learn in such a unique way. I also realize how much it forced me to grow as an individual in the ways that I look at the world and interact with other people.” n

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This building will be a model, 21st century academic facility,



providing a venue where our students and faculty resources can intersect in service to help meet the medical needs of our community and our world.” – President Fisher



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Health Sciences Tops Out New Building

Belmont celebrated the “topping out” in October of the new $30 million health sciences building, just another sign of growth in a college that’s becoming a major player in Nashville’s health care conversations. The new health sciences building will serve as the future home for the School of Pharmacy, a Belmont program which welcomed its second class this fall. With an anticipated completion date of June 2010, the structure will also house the School of Physical Therapy and will include expansion space for the Schools of Nursing and Occupational Therapy as well as the Social Work and Psychology programs. Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “This building will be a model, 21st century academic facility, providing a venue where our students and faculty resources can intersect in service to help meet the medical needs of our community and our world.” The 90,000-square-foot building will continue the innovation for which Belmont University has become known, containing top-notch laboratories. The facility will emphasize integrated, “hands on” experiential learning components including a licensed, state-of-the-

Programs Lead Healthcare Conversation

art campus pharmacy which will provide services to students, faculty and staff while also serving as a training site for student pharmacists. Of special note are the interdisciplinary simulation labs, where students and community clinicians can practice skills either on actors who simulate patients or on high tech manikins. In addition, the Gordon E. Inman College of Health Sciences & Nursing hosted two significant events this fall as part of the “Diagnosing Our Future” speaker series, with Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen and U.S. Representative Jim Cooper providing the keynote addresses at the first event and the second featuring a presentation by Tommy Thompson, former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2001-05). The theme of the speaker series, “Diagnosing Our Future,” reflects the call to collaboratively advance new ideas to improve healthcare and healthy living for future generations. The purpose of the series is to connect these ideas with the greater community of Nashville and Middle Tennessee and with students in Belmont’s health science programs. n

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 he Class of 2013 listens to the words of an inspirational speech T from Belmont’s late Chancellor, Dr. Herbert Gabhart, during the annual Towering Tradition event on campus each August.

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Belmont Rises to No. 7 in U.S. News & World Report Ranking, Highest in Tennessee For the first time in its history, Belmont University broke the Top 10 ranking in the Best Universities Master’s level South category from U.S. News & World Report’s annual analysis of America’s Best Colleges. Soaring to No. 7 in the 2010 edition, Belmont was also honored for the second year in a row as one of the top two schools nationwide for “leading the pack in improvements and innovative changes.” Belmont ascended four spots from its ranking in the 2009 issue of 11. In addition, Belmont landed a ranking of third in its category for its strong


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commitment to undergraduate teaching, one of only 80 colleges and universities nationwide to be honored by its peers for this aspect of academic life. Furthermore, three components of Belmont’s nationally recognized and innovative general education program were identified as “outstanding examples of academic programs that are commonly linked to student success”; Belmont’s First-Year Experience, Learning Communities, and Senior Capstone were all featured as “stellar examples” and demonstrate Belmont’s ongoing commitment to engage students in key issues affecting their lives. Belmont is the highest-ranked Tennessee school in the Master’s category, which reports on 117 schools across the South, including 15 in Tennessee. n




Sen. Corker, Jars of Clay Launch ‘Water for the World’ at Belmont U.S. Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn., was joined by Nashville-based artists Jars of Clay and Dave Barnes to speak at Belmont University Nov. 20 about efforts to give millions around the world access to clean water. Corker and Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill, are lead sponsors of the Water for the World Act, S. 624, which sets a goal of reaching 100 million people with first-time, sustainable access to safe drinking water and sanitation by 2015. Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “Hosting this event is an honor for Belmont University as this bill reflects the very values represented in our mission. It’s appalling to think how many people around the world don’t have access to clean drinking water, and we are pleased to be involved in this effort that will help those with such great need.” Corker said, “Experts tell us every $1 invested in safe drinking water and sanitation produces an $8 return in costs… I want to see each of our foreign aid dollars go as far as possible, so for many reasons, I believe water is one of the wisest places we can invest.” n



Insider’s View Hosts Special Guests Each semester Belmont’s Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business hosts several special guests in an “Insider’s View” seminar series intended to allow students to hear from experts and professionals in the entertainment and music industries. This semester proved no different in drawing a wide array of talent, from gospel singer CeCe Winans to producer Bob Ezrin to legendary Olympic skater Scott Hamilton. Winans—a former Belmont trustee who has won numerous Grammy, Dove and Soul Train awards, among others—discussed her successful career as a gospel artist and offered words of wisdom to a room packed with students. “If it comes from the heart, it is going to touch the heart,” said Winans. In October, Hamilton visited campus, sharing his journey to become one of the top figure skaters in the world, telling stories of his skating career, his family and his struggles. In 1997, Hamilton was diagnosed with cancer. As difficult as the news was, Hamilton remained positive and told himself, “I’m going to beat this. I’m going to evolve from this.” A husband and father of two, Hamilton showed students a positive attitude with his down to earth, gracious approach and hope-filled message. n

Belmont Opens Center for Social Entrepreneurship and Service-Learning Belmont University opened the Center for Social Entrepreneurship and Service-Learning as the home base for its new undergraduate major in social entrepreneurship, the first of its kind nationwide. Led by Dr. Bernard Turner, an educator with extensive experience with nonprofit organizations, Belmont’s new major centers on the emerging business field that tackles social problems and unmet community needs via entrepreneurial principles. “We will prepare students to be change makers and to go out and transform the world by addressing or helping to alleviate social problems through sound business efforts,” Turner said. n



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Students Join Hanson’s ‘Take the Walk’ Tour On Oct. 27, students from Belmont and Vanderbilt universities joined the band Hanson for its ‘Take the Walk’ tour, a barefoot optional, onemile walk to raise awareness of poverty and AIDS in Africa. About 300 participants gathered in Belmont’s Beaman Student Life Center where


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Hanson addressed the crowd and started the walk. The walk raised funds to support one of five causes, with one dollar donated by the ‘Take the Walk’ campaign for each walker. The band educated students on the issues surrounding the walk and also promoted existing efforts on the Belmont and Vanderbilt campuses and in the Nashville community such as United: For Change. n


Belmont Focuses on International Education Grab your passports… Fall 2009 proved to be the semester to focus on international education. The Cooperative Center for Study Abroad (CCSA), a higher education consortium of 24 colleges and universities, announced its move to Belmont as the new host site with Dr. Maggie Monteverde, Belmont’s newly named assistant provost for international education and study away, serving as CCSA executive director. In addition, the College of Business Administration was awarded more than $188,000 in federal grant monies to enhance international business education at Belmont and to sponsor international business and trade activities in Nashville. The Title VI Grant was made through the Business and International Education (BIE) Program of the U.S. Department of Education. Belmont will use it to partner with local organizations to present seminars and workshops on various international topics to the greater Nashville business community and to support international business research and analysis. n



Eighth Annual Humanities Symposium Tackles ‘Nature and the Human Spirit’

Belmont Breaks Enrollment Record... Again Belmont University welcomed another record-breaking number of students to its first day of classes this semester with a fall 2009 enrollment of 5,393. The growth marks an increase of 7.9 percent from last year and a rise of 81 percent since 2000 when the school enrolled 2,976 students. This year’s freshman class represents 45 states and eight foreign countries. The average ACT score for the 2009-10 freshman class is 26. Thirty-five percent of new freshmen at Belmont were in the top 10 percent of their graduating class, and 67 percent were in the top quarter. This year’s freshman class of 995 students includes 42 high school valedictorians and 14 salutatorians. n

This year Belmont hosted its Eighth Annual Humanities Symposium, which featured talks by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver. Centered on the concept “Nature and the Human Spirit,” the 2009 Humanities Symposium paralleled the overall year-long academic concentration on “A Paradise Lost? Environment, Ecology and Sustainability.” Dr. Annette Sisson, professor in Belmont’s English department and an organizer of this year’s event, said, “This year’s topic is very timely and highly relevant as it… raises the question of how humanity and nature relate to one another.” The Humanities Symposium included more than 25 academic lectures and special events including Oliver’s appearances, student readings, nature walks, art exhibits and the viewing and discussion of Sean Penn-directed film Into the Wild. In addition, Belmont alumna and Nashville-based Americana singer/songwriter Adrienne Young offered a folk music concert and a demonstration of NIA Dance, a cardiovascular blend of dance arts, martial arts and the healing arts. n

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Community Involvement

Belmont Hosts Tennessee Arts Academy This summer Belmont University hosted the Tennessee Arts Academy, a program of the Tennessee Department of Education that opened in 1987 and has evolved into the nation’s premiere program for professional development in arts education. The Academy trains more than 250 teachers every summer, who in turn impact almost 100,000 Tennessee students each year. The advanced curriculum, cutting edge methodology and unique philosophical perspective offered at the Academy attract a diverse and enthusiastic group of K-12 educators from across the state. Each day also features an artistic performance or art exhibition. n

Joyce Searcy Appointed Director of Community Relations Belmont University recently appointed Joyce Espy Searcy to the new position of director of community relations. In this role, she will identify and cultivate alliances with neighborhoods, community groups, nonprofit organizations and governmental authorities throughout Nashville to increase the effectiveness of Belmont’s local outreach and service initiatives. For the past 22 years, Searcy has served as president and CEO of the Bethlehem Centers of Nashville, Inc., a faith-based nonprofit organization providing an array of social services to those in need. “Moving to Belmont University is an exciting opportunity for me to achieve my purpose to improve our community on an even broader scale,” Searcy said. “In my new role as director of community relations, I will be working in partnership with neighborhood leadership, community non-profits, schools and government representatives to determine how Belmont can collaborate and involve its students, faculty and staff to improve the quality of life for our neighborhood and Nashville.” n


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Community Involvement

School of Nursing Hosts 83-Year-Old First-Time Student Belmont’s School of Nursing recently made the dreams of an 83-year-old woman come true. Ruth Ramsey, a resident at Morningside of Belmont Assisted Living, always dreamed of attending nursing school, but her parents refused to let her go once the U.S. became involved in World War II. More than 50 years later, Ruth joined Belmont nursing students in an “Introduction to Nursing” lab and participated in their practice procedures for the day taught by Dr. Lynne Shores and Martha Ezell. This opportunity was made possible to Ramsey through Second Wind Dreams, a national non-profit organization that focuses on senior citizens in assisted living or nursing homes and helps them achieve what they never had the opportunity to do in their lives. Ramsey, who spent her career as a school teacher, often talked with Morningside Program Services Director Jana Pistole about how her lifelong desire to become a nurse never diminished. Ramsey was given a lab coat monogrammed with her name, white surgical scrubs and an official badge to wear for her “nurse for a day” experience. She and the other students were taught how to dress wounds and were able to practice the techniques she learned on mannequins in the lab.“Ruth smiled the whole way through her class,” said Pistole. “She will tell the story [of coming to class at Belmont] over and over.” n

Students Develop Water Conservation Curriculum Students in Dr. Kim Daus’ Honors Analytics class and Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) chapter developed a program for Franklin elementary students that promotes water conservation. The classroom program is presented with a children’s book developed by Belmont’s SIFE students that explains to children the benefits of water conservation. Don’t Be a Water Hog is SIFE’s second in a series on environmentally sustainable practices and was written and illustrated by Belmont students. “This is an unprecedented partnership between the City of Franklin, Belmont University and the Williamson County School District,” said Franklin City Administrator Eric Stuckey. “Our goal is to get the water conservation message out to as many young people as we can.” n

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Biology Faculty, Students Study Wetlands Belmont biology professors Steve Murphree, Darlene Panvini and John Niedzwiecki enjoy being outdoors and slogging around in mud so the trio jumped at the chance to study a wetland on the Nissan North America campus in Franklin, Tennessee. David Withers, staff zoologist with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s Division of Natural Heritage, had suggested the Belmont field biologists to Chris Fleming, a senior project scientist with BDY Environmental who had overseen work to develop the wetland. After visiting the wetland in July of 2009, the professors submitted a grant proposal to Nissan for equipment to work with Belmont biology students to monitor the flora and fauna for the next few years and create lists of the species observed. Rob Traynham, Nissan’s director of corporate services, has funded the grant and assisted in arranging access to the wetland for Belmont faculty and students. An ecology class led by Panvini visited the wetland in October to learn plant sampling protocols and explore concepts related to biodiversity assessment. Future visits will involve Belmont students and faculty inventorying vertebrate and macroinvertebrate animals, photographing flora and fauna for educational use and raising awareness of the ecological importance of wetlands. In addition to class visits, biology and environmental science majors will find the wetland to be a valuable resource for undergraduate research projects. Belmont students often explore local wooded areas, cedar glades, and streams during labs; the biology professors expect that exposing students to another habitat type in the Nashville area will also increase students’ appreciation and awe of the natural world. Nissan’s employees will also benefit from this partnership through a planned educational kiosk and boardwalk in the area. n


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Hobbs Develops Equipment Innovations for Amputees Dr. Chad Hobbs, an August 2009 School of Physical Therapy graduate, received a Special Recognition award for his work in developing equipment innovations for amputees. As part of his clinical education experience, Hobbs worked at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center Amputee Center in Washington, D.C., where he created a glove for an amputee who had lost a portion of his hand and elliptical foot plates for lower extremity amputees. In his recognition at the School of Physical Therapy Hooding Ceremony, Professor and Associate Dean of Physical Therapy Dr. John Halle introduced Hobbs, noting, “As an inventor and entrepreneur, he exhibits a collaborative and humble spirit that facilitates working with other health care providers and patients.” n

Buffington Presents Talk at ACM Conference

Alumna Selected as Fulbright Teaching Assistant to Vienna Roxanna Hajjafar, a May 2009 Belmont University graduate with a double major in German and political science, received the honor of a Fulbright scholarship to Vienna, Austria where she will serve as an English Teaching Assistant from Oct. 1, 2009 through May 31, 2010. A native Nashvillian, Hajjafar was raised in a Persian-American household, which kindled her interest in foreign cultures. n

On Nov. 13, Belmont senior Ross Buffington presented a talk on “Game Implementation for Increasing Mental Engagement of Security Professionals” at the 2009 Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Mid-Southeast Conference in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Buffington, a computer science major, spent this past summer conducting research at the University of Houston, Texas that was funded by the National Science Foundation. This experience allowed Ross to further his understanding and competence in developing applications for the iPhone. Prior to the Houston research experience, Ross had spent the entire school year independently learning how to write software for the device. Through his research he created “The Sky is Falling,” a computer based, two-dimensional game which overlays on top of the live video feed of a security camera. The purpose of the game is to increase the cognitive engagement of a security guard when charged with the task of monitoring video feeds for hours on end. n

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Alumnus Gorley Takes Home Top Honor at ASCAP Awards Ashley Gorley, a 1999 Belmont graduate from the Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business, received the Songwriter of the Year award at this year’s ASCAP Country Music Awards held at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, an invitation-only gala that salutes the songwriters and publishers of ASCAP’s most performed country songs of the past year.

Hininger Named CEO of Corrections Corporation of America

Gorley wrote or co-wrote Trace Adkins’ “You’re Gonna Miss This,” Brad Paisley and Keith Urban’s “Start a Band” and Darius Rucker’s “It Won’t Be Like This for Long.” “You’re Gonna Miss This” was also named one of ASCAP’s five most-played songs in the past year and Country Song of the Year. n

Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the nation’s largest provider of corrections management services to government agencies, announced this fall that Massey School alumnus Damon Hininger was being promoted from company president and chief operating officer to Chief Executive Officer. Hininger will also serve as a director. CCA is a NYSE traded $1.6 billion corporation headquartered in Nashville. A 2001 Massey graduate, Hininger noted, “The real world experience of the faculty in the Massey program, along with the small class sizes and the diverse work experience of my peers, made a very robust and rich learning environment for me.” n

Carter Recognized in Nashville Technology Awards Senior Hank Carter (Russellville, Ala.) was recognized as the 2009 “IT Student of the Year” at the inaugural Nashville Technology Awards at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. He was introduced and honored before an audience of more than 400 leaders of the technology community in Middle Tennessee. The awards recognized individuals and companies whose success has helped grow Nashville and the surrounding areas into a hub for technology. Carter is an honors student in Computer Science, working on a thesis in information security. On campus he has been active in the Mathematics and Computer Science student group and recently participated in the programming competition at Tennessee Tech. n


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Nursing Grads Attain 100 percent Pass Rate on National Licensure Exam One hundred percent of the May 2009 graduates from the School of Nursing passed the national licensure examination for Registered Nurses, once again demonstrating the high quality of nursing education provided at Belmont. Thirty seven Belmont students were among the 66,531 U.S. educated candidates to take the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). The 100 percent pass rate for Belmont graduates compares to this year’s national pass rate of 89.5 percent for this group. Dr. Martha Buckner, director of Undergraduate Nursing Studies at Belmont, said, “Our clinical faculty members get excellent reviews in student interviews conducted by a national benchmarking service, and our students believe the quality and effectiveness of their Belmont nursing experiences to be superior.” n

Dr. Marcia McDonald Appointed Provost Dr. Marcia McDonald was recently named the new provost of Belmont University. McDonald, a Belmont faculty member for 29 years, has also held positions as associate provost for seven years and as interim provost this summer. McDonald said, “It is a distinct honor to be named Provost at this university that I have loved and had the privilege to serve for almost three decades.” In the role of provost McDonald acts as the university’s chief academic officer, providing visionary direction and serving the academic mission of the University. In addition, Dr. Jimmy Davis was named associate provost. Remaining dean of University College, Davis will be working with the Honors Program, Service-Learning and the campus theme among other areas. Finally, Dr. Jeff Coker was named assistant provost for general education and assessment, and Dr. Maggie Monteverde was appointed assistant provost for international education and study away. n

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women’s soccer, thune, tarr highlight fall sports seasons The Bruins Women’s Soccer team claimed the program’s first-ever share of the Atlantic Sun regular season title this year, finishing the 2009 campaign with a 10-6-4 record. For the sixth time in program history, the program also earned the NSCAA/adidas College Women’s Team Academic Award. Cross country senior Brittany Thune won her second-straight individual conference title at the Atlantic Sun Championships with a 5K personalrecord of 17:17. With the win Thune was also recognized as the 2009 Atlantic Sun Women’s Cross Country Runner of the Year for the second year in a row. The Sioux Falls, S.D., native caps off a highly-successful career at the A-Sun Champions including two individual titles, three team titles, two Runner of the Year honors, and a Freshman of the Year honor in 2006. Finally, men’s soccer freshman Brandon Tarr (Knoxville, Tenn.) was named the 2009 Atlantic Sun’s Freshman of the Year. Tarr is the first Bruin to have been awarded Freshman of the Year. His goals per game and points per game were tops in the A-Sun while his 1.38 points per game ranks 28th nationally in that category. n


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men’s, women’s basketball light up the curb event center 2008 National Champion Kansas and defending Pac-10 Champion Washington highlight the 2009-10 Belmont University men’s basketball schedule. The Bruins - fresh off their fifth 20-plus win campaign and fifth postseason appearance in the last six years - have earned a reputation for playing among the nation’s toughest non-conference schedules. This year is no exception. “Once again, our schedule is a demanding one,” Head Coach Rick Byrd said. “From the beginning, our very young team will get indoctrinated into high level Division I basketball… As always, I believe the tough early-season schedule will help our team improve quickly. That improvement is particularly important this season as our team is dominated by underclassmen.”

BE A FAN CAMPAIGN PRoMOTES SEASON TICKETs With the start of basketball season, Belmont launched the most extensive marketing campaign in Athletics history to promote men’s and women’s basketball and sell season tickets. Numerous efforts are underway in the “Be a Fan” campaign to raise awareness of Belmont basketball. For the first time, all season ticket buyers will receive the “Bruin Edge,” a coupon book with an estimated $250 value, double the price of the ticket itself. The “Be a Fan” campaign kicked off with a partnership with the Nashville Scene to do the first major “freeze” event in Nashville. Nearly 100 Belmont students joined mascot Bruiser to “freeze” in place for five minutes in Hillsboro Village in an effort to build buzz for basketball season. n

Meanwhile, the Belmont women’s basketball team enters its 2009-10 campaign with the mission of returning to the Big Dance for only the second time in program history. Head Coach Tony Cross has lined up a rigorous slate with non-conference opponents from seven different leagues which will prepare the Bruins in their quest to return to the NCAA Tournament. In an early game, Belmont women’s basketball turned back the Tide, beating Alabama 69-67 in overtime Nov. 21. “The Atlantic Sun looks to be better this year than it has in years past,” Cross said. “Every team is bringing in better players and everyone seems to be on an upswing. This looks to be a wide open year for our conference.” n

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Spiritual Development Hosts Wide Array of Special Guests Belmont’s Office of Spiritual Development hosted a wide array of special guests this fall, from frequent guest author/pastor Tony Campolo to Nashville native Joshua DuBois, who now serves as special assistant to the President and executive director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Two first-time Belmont guests, however, brought unique insights into cultures and systems not often discussed on college campuses. Exonerated death-row inmate Ray Krone spoke in December, discussing death penalty issues on the morning after Tennessee executed a man by lethal injection. In 2002, Krone was the 100th death row inmate to be exonerated as a result of DNA evidence. A former Boy Scout and Air Force veteran with no prior history of criminal activity, Krone was released after serving more than a decade in prison. On the day he left prison, a reporter asked Krone how, as a man of faith, he justified God leaving him in prison for a decade. Krone responded, “Maybe it’s not about the 10 years I spent in prison. Maybe it’s about what I have to do the next 10 years. I want to be a survivor and not a victim.” In addition, Lakota author Richard Twiss visited Belmont this fall, bringing with him a personal mantra that he asked the full Neely Dining Hall audience to repeat: “I am ethnocentric, narrow-minded and have limited vision.”




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Twiss is the co-founder of Wiconi International, a nonprofit Christian organization that seeks to provide assistance to Native Americans, as well as the author of One Church, Many Tribes, a book that examines how studying First Nations Christ followers can teach new ways of living with nature and one another. n

February 21-27, 2010


Basketball Season Tickets On Sale Now!

Circle Magazine Fall 2009  

Belmont University's Fall 2009 edition of Circle Magazine