A New York City native who lived much of his childhood in California, Belmont junior Jackson Wells’ life to date has spanned both coasts of the United States, but it’s a faraway locale that has captured his imagination. For this songwriting major and pop performer the Belmont motto “From Here to Anywhere” has taken on dramatic significance as his long-held fascination with Chinese culture has carried him to the heights of fame overseas, with fans literally numbering in the hundreds of thousands.
“After taking eight years of Spanish in school, I just found myself getting tired of it and started developing a real interest in Chinese,” said Wells, who began studying Mandarin in high school and is also minoring now in Chinese at Belmont. Belmont was a perfect choice for Wells due to the University’s prominence in music business fields and its location in Music City, but it also keeps the young singer-songwriter close to home as his family moved to Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee several years ago. And the Tennessee connections helped launch an unexpected journey that’s led to unimaginable success.
Knowing his interest in the Chinese culture, a family friend who worked with the Tennessee Multicultural Center invited Wells to go to China in 2012 to perform in the International Youth Music Festival in Chengdu. That year Jackson played in front of about 5,000 people. Return trips saw his audience gradually grow, and his prominence also began to rise exponentially on YouTube, with three music videos garnering more than 1.8 million views internationally. Two years later, Wells’ popularity in China has exploded. His most recent trip in August found him performing as a headliner at the festival, this time playing to more than 470,000 fans over three nights.
“The fans all sing along to my songs in English, but I’m now recording a five-song EP in Chinese,” Wells noted. “It’s the least we could do to show that nation’s people our gratitude and respect–they have given me a career in China.”
Wells travels again to China next week, this time to play a gig organized by actor/former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger that’s part of an initiative to promote efforts for cleaner air and “green” efficiency in the country. The event, which has already sold out to a crowd of 18,000, will be broadcast on the two largest public and private TV networks in China.
While Wells looks forward to further developing his career throughout the Asian continent, he’s also hard at work securing fans in the States with recent performances at such venues as L.A.’s House of Blues, Universal Studios CityWalk and Nashville’s own Bluebird Cafe and Mercy Lounge. He was the also the featured artist at a Nashville Predators game in March, playing in front of 16,729 hometown attendees.
Wells began writing songs at the age of 14 and released his self-titled EP in December 2010. A follow-up EP, Inescapable, released in January 2013. Wells’ first full-length album, Picture of Life, was a collaboration with Grammy-award winning producer Bill Cuomo and Beeb Birtles, founding member of Little River Band, and was released in January 2014 on his own independent label.
Still, with all his success to date, Wells continues to keep his team small and focus on priorities. His parents serve as his management, and the rest of the team consists of his band, tech support specialist and a merchandise designer. He’s also working with three university students in China who assist in promotion in that country, and he’s partnered with three Belmont students on a class project that aims to think of innovative ideas to further promote his accomplishments overseas.
For more information, visit JacksonWells.net.
Famed author and speaker Sheryl WuDunn spoke to students, faculty and staff about the growing global wealth gap and the solutions for bringing about change around the world during a campus-theme convocation event held in Neely Dining Room on Wednesday.
WuDuun is the first Asian-American Pulitzer Prize winner and is the co-author with her husband Nicholas D. Kristof of two best-selling books, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide and A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity. The latter work investigates the art and science of giving by determining the most successful local and global aid initiatives, evaluating the efficiency and impact of these charities and fundraising approaches. She currently works with entrepreneurs in new media, technology and social enterprise at a small investment banking boutique in New York City.
During this convocation, WuDunn discussed individuals and organizations that are making a difference both locally and globally in income inequality and other human rights issues. She explained that no individual can single-handedly solve all the world’s problems, but there are many solutions that can bring about change and a number of ways the public can get involved and support these notable organizations.
Belmont’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America scored significant acclaim this week with numerous national awards at the parent organization’s national conference, held Oct. 10-14 in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Bonnie Riechert, associate professor and chair of Belmont’s Department of Public Relations, was honored for her work as faculty adviser to the Belmont Chapter of PRSSA. Riechert received the national PRSSA Outstanding Faculty Adviser Award, based on service to the PRSSA Chapter through dedication and creative chapter guidance, effective student motivation, exceptional contributions to public relations education, supportive chapter advocacy and representation within the academic department and with the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) sponsor Chapter and its members. The award includes an engraved trophy and a cash prize. Accredited in Public Relations and a member of the PRSA College of Fellows, Riechert has served as the Belmont PRSSA faculty adviser since coming to the faculty in 2006. She is the current president of the PRSA Nashville Chapter.
New location serves to further advance region’s academic development in science, technology, engineering, math fields
Belmont University and Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) announced today that the Middle Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub will be moving to Belmont’s campus, effective immediately, providing a centralized location to support the region’s educational advancement in the academic disciplines of the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). More than 18 percent (or 125,230) of the region’s jobs require STEM skills, and positions are anticipated to continue to grow at a fast pace in STEM industries throughout Middle Tennessee. Further development of STEM programs—along with partnerships among higher education, K-12, nonprofits and businesses—will be crucial to national and regional economic stability and growth in the coming years.
Belmont Provost Dr. Thomas Burns said, “Belmont University is committed to being a higher education leader in STEM education as shown in the recent opening of our Wedgewood Academic Center, which features more than 20 science lab spaces and over $2 million of state-of-the-art lab equipment, not to mention our recent establishment of a new College of Sciences and Mathematics. We believe locating the STEM Innovation Hub on Belmont’s campus is a perfect next step to help position it to develop even more partnerships with K-12 schools, higher education institutions and businesses while also expanding our own impact in these vital STEM fields.”
Dr. Jay Steele, chief academic officer at MNPS, added, “The move of the STEM Hub to Belmont will lead to partnerships with a greater number of colleges and universities in the Middle Tennessee region for advancing STEM initiatives, the promotion of new partnerships with businesses for advancing STEM initiatives, and the promotion of curriculum and instruction related to STEM content that will promote STEM with teachers and students throughout Middle Tennessee. I look forward to our continued relationship with Belmont and the STEM Innovation Hub.”
Belmont University’s Jack C. Massey Graduate School of Business is an outstanding business school, according to education services company The Princeton Review. The company features the school in the new 2015 edition of its annual guidebook, “The Best 296 Business Schools.”
Jack C. Massey College of Business Dean Dr. Pat Raines said, “The Princeton Review is the most widely respected business school guide in the U.S. Belmont University MBA students say exactly what a top program would want: our programs are challenging, they prepare students for the dynamic global economy, and our faculty are accessible, knowledgeable and teach from experience. It is an honor to be listed for the ninth consecutive year.”
“Our students and alumni will be pleased to see that our Princeton Review rankings streak continues,” said Associate Dean Dr. Joe Alexander. “And I feel certain Mr. Massey himself would be very proud to see that the program he first envisioned in 1986 is now routinely mentioned in the same sentence as our nation’s other top graduate business programs.”
The Princeton Review’s survey asked 21,600 students at the 296 schools their opinions of their school’s academics, student body and campus life as well as about themselves and their career plans. The student surveys analyzed for this edition were conducted during academic years 2013-14, 2012-13 and 2011-12.“The Best 296 Business Schools” has two-page profiles of the schools, and the Princeton Review editors describe the program as a “great classroom-based education that is flexible enough for a working student” and “balanced between verbal, interpersonal and mathematical reasoning abilities.” The profile also highlights Massey’s mandatory study abroad program and many concentrations, including accounting, entrepreneurship, finance, general business, healthcare, marketing and music business.
Chapel marks launch of Belmont’s Shoebox Drive
Belmont students Alina-Sarai and David Gal-Chis spoke to faculty, staff and students about Operation Christmas Child and their experience with the program during a convocation event held on Wednesday in the Chapel. The Gal-Chis siblings received Operation Christmas Child boxes in Romania as young children.
The world’s largest Christmas project of its kind, Operation Christmas Child uses gift-filled shoeboxes to share God’s love in a tangible way with needy children around the world. Since 1993, nondenominational nonprofit Samaritan’s Purse has collected and delivered more than 113 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in over 150 countries through Operation Christmas Child. More than 500,000 volunteers worldwide, with more than 100,000 of those in the United States, are involved in collecting, shipping and distributing shoebox gifts.
“Their mission is not just to bring joy to children. It goes beyond that. It has to do with the love of Jesus Christ and being able to show that through the gift of giving,” said David.
The Belmont University School of Physical Therapy recently hosted two health professionals from Istituto Prosperius Tiberino, a 75-bed rehabilitation hospital in Umbria, Italy. Since 2012, nine Belmont physical therapy students have completed a clinical affiliation at the hospital, and three more students are scheduled for an eight-week clinical affiliation during the spring of 2015.
Istituto Prosperius provides both inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation for patients with neurological and orthopedic disorders and injuries in a team model of care which includes physicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech/language pathologists, nurses, art therapists, psychologists and social workers. The Istituto staff conducts ongoing research projects and pilots technological devices for the rehabilitation of neurological patients. The hospital serves as one of leading centers in Italy using robotic therapy to assist in ambulation for patients with spinal cord injuries. The facility also houses two large therapy pools for patients, one equipped with underwater steppers and treadmills.
Dr. Paolo Milia, Chair of the Department of Neurology and Neuro-rehabilitation Research at Istituto Prosperius, and Mike Arnall, a physical therapist and President of Eduglobal Associates, visited Belmont. Milia completed his medical degree at G. D’Annunzio University in Chieti, Italy, and earned a PhD in neurological research from the University of Perugia in Italy. Arnall founded Eduglobal in 2006 when he began developing clinical education opportunities for American physical therapy students. His company coordinates the selection, placement, orientation and evaluation of the physical therapy students with the numerous Italian clinical instructors on staff. Last year, 41 PT students completed clinical affiliations. Currently, 31 U.S. physical therapy programs have contracts with Eduglobal.
During the visit, Milia and Arnall gave a presentation to physical therapy and occupational therapy faculty and students about Istituto Prosperius, his typical caseload and robotic therapy research projects. The presentation included videos of patients using the Eksoskeleton. They met with Schools of Occupational Therapy, Nursing and Pharmacy to explore the possibility of students from those programs affiliating at the rehabilitation hospital in the future. Meetings were also scheduled with community partners to explore expanded roles and partnerships including Pi Beta Phi Rehabilitation Institute at the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center and Vanderbilt Stallworth Rehabilitation Hospital.
The Jack C. Massey Foundation, which honors the legacy of one of the country’s greatest entrepreneurs and businessmen, announced today a new gift of $6.75 million to Belmont University. With this donation, the Massey Foundation provides the lead gift in a planned $10 million renovation of Belmont’s Massey Business Center as well as secures a new name for Belmont’s College of Business Administration, now to be known as the Jack C. Massey College of Business.
The late Jack C. Massey (1904-1990) and his family have collectively been among Belmont University’s biggest benefactors. The first person in history to take three unrelated companies to the New York Stock Exchange, Massey’s gifts helped Belmont establish its undergraduate and graduate business programs and built both the Massey Business Center and the Massey Performing Arts Center. In addition, Massey’s gifts have endowed Belmont’s Chair in Entrepreneurship, leading the program to be among the best in the nation, as well as the Massey Center for Financial Information, the first financial training lab in Tennessee when it opened in 2005.
Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “Belmont is blessed to have a number of strong supporters within the community and around the region, but without Jack C. Massey, this institution may not have survived its financial struggles in the 1970s. The recipient of Belmont’s first honorary doctorate, Mr. M, as he was called, and our late Chancellor Herbert C. Gabhart forged a friendship that quite literally changed the course of Belmont. We cannot say thank you enough for the generous and continued support of Barbara Massey Rogers, as well as the entire Massey family and the Massey Foundation, for all of their efforts which have made such a tremendous difference in the lives of thousands of students.”
Barbara Massey Rogers, daughter of Jack C. Massey and a long-time supporter of Belmont, added, “The Massey family, along with the Massey Foundation, is pleased to be a part of this celebration. It is exciting to know that the Jack C. Massey name will now be on all diplomas given to both the undergraduate and graduate students of the Jack C. Massey College of Business, which will bring greater recognition and accolades to the widening fame of Belmont and the Massey College. This is a very special event for our family and Belmont University.”
This morning Belmont University topped out its new $80 million Dining and Academic Complex by following in the long-held Scandinavian tradition of placing a tree on the roof of the building to celebrate the completed framing of the structure. The building is expected to open in summer 2015 and will house three University programs: music business, media studies and a new major that launched last fall, motion pictures.
Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “The programs that will occupy this building demand state-of-the-art technology in order to educate students to compete in today’s marketplace, and this new facility will offer exceptional resources. Moreover, the new second-floor space for our primary dining option will serve our entire campus, giving our community greater options and faster service in a location that will also provide beautiful aesthetics.”
The 134,000-square-foot Dining and Academic Complex will sit on top of a 1,000+ -space parking garage, keeping the building’s footprint small while greatly enhancing parking options on campus. The second-floor dining hall will provide 1,000 seats; a capacity that triples the current campus cafeteria, and will offer an outdoor patio facing into campus. As part of its 21-year tenure as Belmont’s dining services provider, Sodexo is contributing to the construction of the Dining and Academic Center.
Belmont Vice President and Chief of Staff Susan West, who oversees the auxiliary services on campus, said, “Our campus community will benefit greatly from improved dining services in this facility. The research that we did in advance—through visits to other university dining facilities and focus groups with students, faculty and staff—provided thoughtful and helpful input which impacted every aspect of the new cafeteria’s design. I think our campus is going to truly love this new space.”
Classrooms and faculty/staff offices will comprise approximately 70 percent of the building. Academic program-centered features of the building include 30 student edit bays, multiple computer labs, a motion capture facility, a Foley/ADR sound studio, color correction studio, post-production audio mix studio, a video/broadcast studio, two video production control rooms, a 2,500 square foot sound stage and a scene shop. In addition, two state-of-the art screening theaters (seating 260 and 80) will also boast audio mixing technology.
Belmont is seeking LEED Gold certification for the new facility, which will utilize a geothermal HVAC system as well as feature a partial green roof. The geothermal system is projected to yield the University an estimated 40 percent in cost savings over a standard heating and cooling system. The Environmental Protection Agency recognizes it as the most environmentally-friendly heating and cooling system because it uses the earth itself as the source to transfer temperatures, reducing energy costs and pollution concerns. Instead of generating heat with standard conventional furnaces, in the geothermal system water is funneled 500-feet underground through pumps that use the earth’s constant temperature of 50 degrees to warm buildings in the winter and cool them in the summer.
Since 2000, Belmont has invested nearly a half billion dollars ($470 million) in construction projects to enhance campus life and serve a growing enrollment, including several residence halls, academic buildings, an athletic and student life center as well as its largest building to date, the Wedgewood Academic Center.
As part of an effort to connect students with industry professionals, The Mike Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business at Belmont University has partnered with Sony/ATV Music Publishing for the “All Access” program which gives students a pathway to share their talent and work with the world’s leading music publisher and gives the Sony/ATV team the opportunity to discover potential talent at Belmont University.
Sony/ATV Music Publishing Nashville President and CEO Troy Tomlinson said, “We make a real point at Sony/ATV of being part of the community in Nashville and this new partnership with Belmont is a great example of that. We know the University is overflowing with talented students and by launching the All Access program we will now have a direct way to identify them so we can help them to reach their full potential. This is all about uncovering the next generation of songwriters and artists.”
Through the program, students will have the opportunity to have two songs reviewed by the Sony/ATV Music Publishing Creative Team. The Creative Team will then select a limited number of students to perform their songs live for the SONY/ATV team during showcases held each semester. After the live performances, the SONY/ATV team will extend an invitation to a limited number of students to experience “a day in the Sony/ATV studio with an engineer.”
James I. Elliott, Chair of Songwriting in the Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business, added, “This is a wonderful opportunity for our students to have their music heard by Troy Tomlinson and his Creative Team. We look forward to the process and have high hopes that Sony ATV Music Publishing will discover some future hit makers at Belmont.”
In 1971 Belmont University created a Music Business program designed to prepare young men and women for operational, administrative, creative and technical careers in the music industry. The Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business was established in 2003 to provide educational programs of study for future entertainment industry professionals. Belmont’s Curb College offers three academic degrees and four areas of study in Music Business (B.B.A.), Audio Engineering Technology (B.A. or B.S.), Entertainment Industry Studies (B.A. or B.S.), and Songwriting (B.A. or B.S.). The college boasts an impressive faculty of academic scholars and authors, entrepreneurs, songwriters, producers, and sound and recording engineers. A world leader in music business and entertainment industry education, and the only freestanding college of its kind accredited for both business (AACSB) and technology (ABET), the Curb College has been featured in Billboard, Time Magazine, Rolling Stone, and Business Week.
ABOUT SONY/ATV MUSIC PUBLISHING:
Sony/ATV Music Publishing, established in 1995 as a joint venture between Sony and Michael Jackson, is the world’s leading music publisher. Together with EMI Music Publishing, Sony/ATV owns or administers around 3 million copyrights including those from such iconic music catalogs like Leiber & Stoller, Mijac Music, Motown and Famous Music. Sony/ATV also controls many of the best known songs ever written like “New York, New York,” “Hallelujah,” “All You Need Is Love,” “You’ve Got a Friend,” “Moon River,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “The Mission Impossible Theme,” “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Over the Rainbow,” “Stand By Me,” “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and “Singin’ in the Rain.” In addition, Sony/ATV represents the copyrights of such legendary artists as The Beatles, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Carole King, Kraftwerk, Joni Mitchell, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, Queen, The Rolling Stones, Richie Sambora, Sting, The Supremes, Wyclef Jean, Hank Williams and Stevie Wonder, among others. Its ever-growing list of chart-topping artists, writers and producers includes Akon, Avicii, Calvin Harris, Jessie J, Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga, John Mayer, P!nk, RedOne, Shakira, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Stargate, Taylor Swift, Kanye West and Pharrell Williams.
Professor Loren Mulraine and the Belmont University College of Law Entertainment Law Society welcomed National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Executive Vice President of Law, Policy and Governance and Chief Legal Officer, Donald Remy, to campus. Remy spoke to the members of the Entertainment Law Society as well as other law school students about his influence and experiences in the legal community. Remy spoke eloquently about his role with the NCAA and how as a sports lawyer, his day-to-day duties include all aspects of the legal field. He noted that in a day, he can see issues dealing with employment law, constitutional law, contract negotiations, torts, anti-trust and intellectual property, to name a few. Based on the some of the current issues, Remy held an informative discussion with the students on publicity vs. privacy rights, most notably from the recent Ed O’Bannon case that he litigated.
Belmont University, Council on Workforce Innovation partner to promote workplace diversity
As part of an effort to promote professional women and workplace diversity, Belmont University and the Council on Workforce Innovation welcomed ABC Senior Vice President Dawn Soler to campus for the 2014 Women in the Workforce Forum and Awards. The sold-out event occurred this morning in Belmont’s Maddox Grand Atrium with the theme “Music, Movies and Mentoring” and featured awards presentations to local professional leaders and a keynote address by Soler as well as professional development sessions.
“We have several Nashville companies and executives investing in women in the workplace, so we hope they can spend a day away from the bustle of the office to invest in themselves,” said Jacky Akbari, the council’s founder and board chairman. “Soler is a proven leader with a successful track record in the music and entertainment business sector. She remains one of the few female decision-makers in Hollywood.”
Pat Raines, dean of Belmont’s College of Business Administration, said, “The Jack C. Massey College of Business is proud to host Women in the Workforce Forum at Belmont for the second year. With only 14.6 percent of the executive officer positons for Fortune 500 companies held by women, hosting conferences like this provides a platform for discussion about strategies and needed change supporting women’s advancement in the business world.”
In Tune’s Best Music Schools special feature was included in the October 2014 edition of the magazine. In this special report, high school students receive advice from music professors and students who majored in Music on picking a college or university music program that is just right for them.
Belmont alum, Rayvon Owen, is highlighted in the article and shares his thoughts on what makes Belmont a top music program. Owen credits Belmont for enhancing his leadership skills and teaching him how to be prepared and perform (musically and non-musically) in high pressure situations.
“We are incredibly honored to be recognized as one of America’s best schools of music and excited that Belmont University continues to receive applause for the many good things that happen on this campus,” said Cynthia Curtis, Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts
In Tune is a classroom magazine for music students, grades 7-12.
Economic futurist Dr. Lowell Catlett spoke to students, faculty and staff about the future of economy, technology, healthcare, energy, education, finance and agriculture during a convocation event entitled “Imaging the World of 2020” on Wednesday in Massey Boardroom.
“Creativity, technology and wealth are driving new industries and business development opportunities unlike any period in history. Healthcare, energy, education, finance and agriculture are changing at the fastest pace ever recorded as the new creative economy dominates both the service and manufacturing sectors,” Catlett said. “Get ready for a world that is increasingly borderless and un-tethered and driven by the fastest rate of change ever recorded in history.”
Catlett is dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at New Mexico State University where he teaches agricultural economics and business and extension economics.
Catlett is the author of numerous books and articles and works nationally and internationally with corporations and organizations doing futuristic planning concerning the impacts of technology on careers, lifestyles and the economy.
Catlett also works with the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Labor, Interior, Defense, Education, Energy and the World Bank. He has been a visiting professor or delivered invited presentations at over 50 universities including Harvard, MIT, Cornell and the University of Illinois.
Belmont University’s Black Student Association members Keayana Robinson, Cameron Bryant and Kristoff Hart have been featured in The Huffington Post for their song and video “I Dig the Skin I’m In,” an empowering testament to their refusal to be anything less than comfortable in their own skin despite the things that have been said to them.
The article entitled “MC Shakes Off Being Told She’s ‘Too Dark’ With Funk and Grace” discusses the message behind the song that addresses modern racism and bullying.
Robinson told The Huffington Post that it took time for her to become confident enough to speak out about her experiences. Part of the journey, she said, was simply “being able to sit down and say those words aloud.”
“I’m not hearing your lies. I look great in my eyes. This may be a surprise, but I’m cool with me,” she sings in part of the song’s chorus.
The song and its message came about pretty organically, according to Robinson.
“We were sitting around and we just stumbled upon a beat and we started listening and Kristoff and I started singing and we decided to write to it,” she told The Huffington Post. “Once we got the message that we wanted, we just took off from there.”
The trio’s collaboration has been met with what Robinson describes as a “nice, welcoming response” from the Belmont community.
“We’re all about embracing differences. … I think that it’s definitely extremely important for members of the African-American community to embrace their differences and their skin and their flaws, because they’re beautiful,” Robinson said.