January 30, 2009


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January’s Visitors
The past week was a “flurry” of activity on campus and not just from the snow that dusted the ground on Tuesday. On Saturday, 81 former women’s basketball players arrived on campus with their friends and families for a 40-year reunion of the entire program. For additional details, see the story below in Belmont News.


Women’s Basketball Celebrates 40 Years
5.JPGFrom Striplin to the Curb Event Center, Belmont College to Belmont University, Rebels/Rebelettes to Bruins and NAIA to the NCAA, it’s been quite a 40-year ride in Belmont’s women’s basketball program.
Women’s basketball’s history and growth were recently celebrated at a Jan. 24 reunion in the Maddox Grand Atrium that found 81 former players from 12 states in attendance along with their families and Belmont’s current team.
Betty Wiseman, assistant athletic director and senior woman administrator, established one of the first women’s basketball programs in the state at Belmont in 1968. At only 23, she entered then-President Herbert Gabhart’s office and pleaded for a women’s basketball program. He not only approved her idea, but he put her in charge. “Thinking now about 40 years, I ask myself, ‘Can it be?’ It is!!”
Belmont_WomensBasketball_reunion09_198.jpgWiseman (pictured in the middle of players from Belmont’s first women’s basketball team) and current head coach Tony Cross both entertained the more than 200 individuals at the reunion with stories and highlights from the program’s 40 years. During her 16 seasons as head coach, Wiseman compiled a record of 248-152 and led the team to four consecutive berths in the NWIT from 1973-1977. Wiseman recalled how the early teams ate sack lunches for pre- and post-game meals and traveled in used station wagons. Not all of her memories were humorous, however, as she also noted how one team faced segregation when a restaurant refused to serve the team’s black players. “We all got up and left, didn’t eat and I didn’t pay.”
Cross, who has been at Belmont since 1984 and has more than 500 wins with the program, joked about his own dedication to winning, remembering how one former team feared they might not get dinner after a particularly bad loss. He also talked about the long history and tradition of Belmont’s women’s basketball, praising the alumnae for their role in building such an exceptional program. “Take pride and honor in what you’ve added to this program. Your presence is still being felt.”
Former players enjoyed the reunion as well, mingling with old friends and telling stories from their college days. Dianna Burton Lewis (’71), who brought with her to the reunion the Chuck Taylor athletic shoes from her playing days, said, “What I remember most about Belmont’s first year of women’s basketball is the fun we had! I remember how we got ‘trampled’ by Midwestern in Iowa but then improved so much together as a team that we beat them by three at our place. We didn’t realize then what an important journey we were helping to start. The reunion was wonderful! As I sat in the gym watching the games with friends from Belmont days, I really felt at home.” Click here to read the rest of this story.
Belmont Senior Prepares for White House Job
s34103718_30028392_1945.jpgSenior political science and journalism major Ameshia Cross received an unexpected but extraordinary gift the week before Christmas: an offer to work in the White House.
Cross, a Chicago native, admits her lofty political aspirations started at an early age, but she never anticipated having them realized so soon. In fact, she planned to continue her education in the fall at the University of Chicago Law School, where she was recently accepted. All that changed when David Axelrod, a senior advisor to President Barack Obama and chief strategist for his campaign, called in December to offer Cross a job working in the West Wing as an assistant to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
“At first I didn’t believe it was him,” Cross said with a laugh. “I hadn’t applied for a position at the White House or with the new administration so the call was completely unexpected.”
An Engaged Scholar who is involved in numerous organizations across campus, Cross caught the attention of Axelrod and others through her experience to date. She first interned for Barack Obama when he ran for Senate in 2004, and she was chosen as one of 35 university fellows to travel the country campaigning for Obama last summer. As president of Belmont’s College Democrats, Cross met briefly with Obama during his campus visit for the 2008 Town Hall Presidential Debate. The new president and his road to the White House are also the subject of Cross’ senior thesis. Click here for more on this story.
Scarlett Leadership Institute Hosts Judy Woodruff on Campus
JudyWoodruff.jpgThe Scarlett Leadership Institute at Belmont University recently hosted esteemed broadcast journalist Judy Woodruff on campus for guest lectures for members of their Executive Learning Networks. Speaking Thursday morning in the Frist Lecture Hall, Woodruff tackled the topic “Inside Politics 2009: The New President’s First 100 Days.”
A long-time Washington, D.C. and White House correspondent, Woodruff congratulated the university on successfully hosting the 2008 Town Hall Presidential Debate but also admitted to knowing about Belmont well before Oct. 7. “Belmont came on my radar screen last March when my alma mater Duke was scared within an inch of its life by your basketball team.”
She opened her talk with an analysis of how the United States is currently experiencing both “the best of times and the worst of times.” Though journalists covering the political arena are notoriously jaded and cynical, Woodruff commented that she and her colleagues have never seen such excitement and hope surrounding a new administration. However, the country is also experiencing an economy in shambles and numerous international concerns.
In addition to surrounding himself with “smart stars,” Woodruff noted that President Obama himself exudes a confident calm in the midst of crisis though he and his counterparts must avoid the temptations of arrogance. “He by all accounts is an exceptionally secure man: no drama Obama,” she said. “Writing his first book, Dreams From My Father, may have been a kind of catharsis, enabling him to overcome any self-doubts from his history.”
Woodruff has covered politics and other news for more than three decades at CNN, NBC and PBS. Most recently, she signed on as a senior correspondent and 2008 political editor for the “NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.” “After four decades in journalism, I can’t recall a time more exciting or more perilous, and I can’t wait to cover it.”


Bennett Publishes New Children’s Book, Appears on ‘Talk of the Town’
SybsBook.jpgDr. Sybril Bennett, director of Belmont’s New Century Journalism program, has recently published a children’s book through lightningsource.com. The Color-Full Alphabet Book is dedicated to the 44th President of the United States of America, Barack Obama. Each letter shares a positive word from: Amazing to Zippy with a Believe, Change, President and a Winner between. Bennett notes that all children need to learn how to read and all deserve to hear positive words to inspire them to realize their dreams. The book is available now at Amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.
In support of her new book, Bennett will be appearing on WTVF’s midday show, “Talk of the Town,” on Mon., Feb. 2. The show airs at 11 a.m. on NewsChannel 5.
Renfroe Named A-Sun Player of the Week, Featured on WSMV
UT-Belmont_mcpeak DSC_5417b.jpgMen’s basketball senior Alex Renfroe (Hermitage, Tenn.) has been named Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Week, the league announced Tuesday. Renfroe continued his stretch of remarkable all-around play, averaging 19 points, 11.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.5 blocks per game as Belmont defeated Kennesaw State and Mercer this past week.
The 6-2 point guard scored a team-high 24 points, had a career-high 18 rebounds and five assists in Belmont’s emotional 86-82 overtime victory over Mercer. Not only was Renfroe’s 18 rebound performance the most rebounds ever by a Belmont player at the Curb Event Center, but it tied the NCAA single-game high for rebounds by a guard this season. Click here to read more on this story.
Renfroe was also profiled this week in a feature story by sportscaster Rudy Kalis on local NBC affiliate WSMV-4 . Click here to watch the interview.
NPT’s Broadcast of ‘Christmas at Belmont’ Wins Emmy
The “Christmas at Belmont 2007” broadcast, Nashville Public Television’s (NPT) capturing of Belmont University’s annual Christmas concert, won a Midsouth Regional Emmy award for editing in the Special Event category. The 23rd Annual Midsouth Regional Emmy Awards ceremony and banquet was held Sat., Jan. 24 at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.


Homecoming Highlight: Special Edition of ASCAP Writer’s Night Feb. 27
hc_2009_bruiser_convert_VB.jpgHomecoming 2009 welcomes a special edition of the ASCAP Writers’ Night to the schedule. On Fri., Feb. 27 at 6 p.m. in the Curb Café, Belmont alumnus and singer/songwriter Andy Davis (’03, www.andydavisonline.com) will serve as host. A rising star, Davis is known for his “distinctive melodies and infectious layered vocals anchored by personal yet universal lyrics. He embraces a range of times, influences and genres… earning comparisons from Ben Folds to Paul Simon to Badly Drawn Boy, as well as the classic story-centered songwriting of Billy Joel.” Student writers joining Davis will be Josh Johnson, Clare Dunn and Kara Reynolds. Seating is limited. Reservations required. Click here to register.
Click here for a complete listing of all Homecoming 2009 events.


Kidz Klimb Kicks Off at the Beaman Center
The Beaman Center has received a number of requests to bring back a popular program from the past. Beginning Sat., Feb. 7, Faculty and Staff will be allowed to bring in their kids to climb the wall in the Beaman Center. Kidz Klimb will occur from 1-5 p.m. each Saturday for the rest of the Spring semester. Space is limited to the children of faculty and staff only between the ages of 5-16. Parents are also required to become belayed certified because you must belay your own child. This process takes around 30 minutes, and parents can come in when the wall is open during the week to save time on Saturdays. If you have any questions, please contact Jamie Zeller at x6262.


Saturday, January 31, 7 p.m.
Rock Showcase
Curb Event Center
Monday, February 2, 6 p.m.
17th Annual Commercial Music Showcase
Students Lauren Wedertz, Brianne Angarole, Annalise Emerick and Brett McLaughlin will be performing.
Massey Concert Hall
Tuesday, February 3, 7:30 p.m.
Graduate Performers’ Recital
Belmont Mansion
Wednesday, February 4, 10 a.m.
Marian Wright Edelman
Co-sponsored by the College of Arts & Sciences and the School of Religion, Marian is founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund. A graduate of Yale Law School, she began her career in the mid-’60s as the first black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar. She served as director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in Jackson, before moving to Washington, D.C. in 1968 as counsel for Dr. Martin Luther King’s “Poor People’s Campaign.”
Wednesday, February 4, 10 a.m.
Meeting the Opportunities and Challenges of Global Health in 2009
Dr. Sten H. Vermund, the Amos Christie Professor of Global Health and director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health, will discuss the Institute’s global health initiatives, specifically the research, training and service projects that aim to advance health and development in resource-limited regions.
MBC 103
Friday, February 6, 10 a.m.
Challenges to Teaching Darwin’s Idea
This is the first in a series of lectures honoring Charles Darwin’s 200th Birthday. Sponsored by Belmont University School of Sciences and the Society for the Study of Evolution, presentations will continue Feb. 6-16. Click here to download a PDF file with the full schedule of activities.
HSB 408
Friday, February 6, 10 a.m.
From the Laboratory to the Legislature: Why Climate Change is Fundamentally a Multidisciplinary Issue
The speaker will be Dr. Jonathan Gilligan from Vanderbilt University’s Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences.
LCVA 117
Tuesday, February 10, 7:30 p.m.
Faculty Brass
Belmont Heights Baptist Church


Belmont is a Christian community of learning and service that strives to support its members through prayer. The following concerns have come to our attention recently. Thank you for including them in your prayers:
Our sympathy goes out to Dave Hunt on the passing of his mother, Eleanor Hunt, Tuesday night. Dave was the University Minister for several years and his wife Julie is an assistant professor in the Department of Social Work. The viewing will be Friday evening at Davis Funeral Home in Owensboro, Kent. (3009 Frederica Street, Owensboro, KY 42301, 270-683-5377), and the funeral will be Saturday at 10 a.m. at First Baptist Church, Owensboro.


If you notice an incorrect or missing birthday, please e-mail the update to communication@mail.belmont.edu.
February 1
Greg Pillon, Office of Communications
February 2
Donna Brown-Winn, Athletics
Lyndsey Spain, Music
February 3
Jill Robinson, Scarlett Leadership Institute
February 5
Andrew Johnston, Student Affairs
Prentice Poole, Belmont Central
February 6
Robert Lambert, Business
February 7
Greg Bagwell, ACIT
Harold Smith, Religion
February 8
Yvette Hachtel, Occupational Therapy