Massachusetts Institute of Technology-trained physicist Dr. Deborah Haarsma spoke to students, faculty and staff about the intersection of science and faith during a convocation lecture in the Belmont University Chapel on Wednesday.
“Science displays God’s glory, extravagance and power,” Haarsma said. “I believe that looking out in the universe can show you a lot about God’s beauty and grace.”
Haarsma is president of the Biologos Foundation, which invites the church and the world to see the harmony between science and biblical faith. She is also co-author of “Origins: Christian Perspectives on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design” and is part of the Cambridge University Faraday Institute’s Test of Faith multimedia curriculum.
“When I look at the development of the universe through the eyes of faith, I remember He is our creator and incarnate savior,” Haarsma said. “God’s world always has more layers of mystery for his image-bearers to discover. He designs natural processes and sustains them faithfully over billions of years to produce structure and complexity.”
The Christian-faith development convocation was co-sponsored by the College of Sciences and Mathematics and the American Scientific Affiliation.
Visiting professor will teach criminal justice courses on full-time basis
After serving as Metro Nashville and Davidson County District Attorney General for 27 years, Torry Johnson will retire Aug. 31 and prepare for joining Belmont University’s College of Law as an esteemed Visiting Professor in January 2015. Appointed to Davidson County District Attorney General in 1987 and then elected for three consecutive eight-year terms, Johnson has served the communities of Middle Tennessee for the majority of his career, garnering numerous legal, leadership and community service awards along the way.
Belmont President Bob Fisher said, “Bringing Torry Johnson on board as a faculty member is truly a significant coup for our College of Law. His devotion to his work and to public service is exceptional, and the expertise he can transmit to our students will raise the bar again on the educational opportunities Belmont Law provides.”
Johnson added, “Those of us who have lived in Nashville a long time have seen what Belmont University is doing, and this institution as a whole is an exciting place to be. Joining Belmont Law allows me to be on the ground floor of a young law school, and with Judge Gonzales and his leadership, it’s an attractive place for anyone in the legal field. I’ll also add that as District Attorney, one of my great joys has been working with young lawyers and watching them grow and become professionals in the field. I look forward to marrying conversations about real world experience with the theoretical knowledge students will encounter in the classroom.
As a Visiting Professor in Belmont’s College of Law, Johnson will teach criminal justice courses on a full-time basis and is particularly passionate about the opportunity to teach prosecutorial ethics to rising attorneys. Belmont Law graduated its first cohort in May and is provisionally accredited by the American Bar Association.
College of Law Dean Judge Alberto Gonzales said, “I am pleased to have the opportunity to work with General Johnson as a member of the law faculty. His experiences in the law will be of great benefit to our students.” (more…)
First day of classes welcomes more than 1,400 new freshmen to campus
Don’t call it a “small, liberal arts college” anymore. Today Belmont University announced a Fall 2014 enrollment of 7,301 students, putting the thriving University at more than double its enrollment from 2000 (2,976 students) and up 5.5 percent from last fall’s total of 6,915. Applications for undergraduate and graduate admissions for Fall 2014 also saw an increase of 12.5 percent and resulted in the University’s largest freshman class to date with 1,420 students.
Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “It’s both humbling and gratifying to see the number of students who want to come to Belmont to learn and discover their life purpose. These are individuals from all walks of life and many corners of the globe who aren’t thinking only of future careers but are embracing this University’s mission to engage and transform the world with their passions, skills and talents. I’m proud to welcome them to their new home and thankful they’ve chosen to be Belmont Bruins.”
In addition to incoming freshmen, Belmont also welcomed 508 new transfer students to campus this week, marking a total number of nearly 2,000 new undergraduates. The student body currently consists of 5,898 undergraduate students and 1,403 pursuing graduate/professional paths.
Associate Provost and Dean of Enrollment David Mee added, “We are very pleased with the fall 2014 admissions cycle. The entire University is involved in helping Belmont maintain the kind of momentum that has resulted in growing national recognition, enhanced experiences for our students and phenomenal growth during a period of stagnant enrollment across much of higher education nationally. Belmont is a unique story – one highlighted by a daily commitment to living out our mission and values. And by doing so, students continue to be attracted to Belmont and Nashville from all 50 states and many countries, and in record numbers. Nearly 2,000 new undergraduates alone just arrived at Belmont, and that is wonderful news for both the University and Nashville.”
Following a thankful message from Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and a charge to find their purposes through service from Belmont President Bob Fisher, students in Belmont’s Class of 2018 along with transfers students volunteered throughout Nashville through the University’s annual SERVE Project on Monday afternoon.
“This event has been going on at Belmont for at least 15 years. It’s so Belmont when our students go out into the community and serve. What I hope for you and for our community is that it will trigger an ongoing quest in you to find what you are uniquely made to do to serve others,” Fisher told 1,750 students before they departed campus for 13 sites across the city, including three Metro Nashville Public Schools and nonprofit organizations like Preston Taylor Ministries.
An annual “Welcome Week” tradition for more than a decade, SERVE provides a perfect tie-in to Belmont’s ongoing commitment to engage students in their community and encourage the values of service on both a local and global level.
“I am very pleased to be here and welcome you. You are all geared to serve our city,” said Dean. “Tennessee is the volunteer state, and Belmont and the city of Nashville have a strong tradition in giving back. When you go out and volunteer, please know that we appreciate that. There is nothing more valuable you can do in college than to get involved and understand how the city works.”
In West Nashville, 20 students sorted and bundled school supplies for LP PENCIL Box, a nonprofit organization that allows Metro school teachers to pick out $600 worth of pencils, rulers, backpacks, highlighters and other supplies every year. Program Manager Kerry Conley said 72.4 percent of Metro students live at or below the poverty line and are unable to purchase their own supplies, so often times Metro teachers spend $500 of their personal funds to help their students. (more…)
Center to house multiple colleges, labs, chapel, conference space
After 27 months of construction, Belmont University administrators, trustees and student representatives officially cut the ribbon today to signify the grand opening of the Wedgewood Academic Center, a 186,000 square foot structure plus 159,500 square feet for parking located on the corner of Wedgewood and 15th Avenues. From the five-level underground garage fit to hold 430 vehicles to the Fifth Floor Conference Room offering a perfect bird’s eye view of Nashville’s skyline, the building stands as a new cornerstone for the University that seeks to serve both its growing student body and its dynamic hometown.
President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “This building is designed for daily interdisciplinary collaborations, and it provides classrooms and laboratories that not only represent the latest thinking in academic spaces but will also greatly enhance hands-on experiential learning.”
The largest campus building to date, the Wedgewood Academic Center will house three colleges—the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS), the College of Sciences and Mathematics (CSM) and the College of Theology and Christian Ministry (CTCM)—and every undergraduate student will take courses in the building as part of the University’s general education curriculum. The new facility more than doubles the physical space these colleges—which consist of more than 50 undergraduate programs—occupied previously. In addition, the structure also houses Belmont’s new 300-seat chapel, which will host services every Monday, Wednesday and Friday as well as special events throughout the year.
“The Wedgewood Academic Center provides a perfect visual testimony of just what a unique and challenging education Belmont offers,” said Dr. Fisher. “Where else can science, liberal arts and religion students and faculty interact so easily? I believe the building itself will quickly become a Nashville icon—it is spectacular.”
Thirty classrooms that vary in capacity from 24-72 seats allow flexibility of use, while numerous smaller seminar and group study rooms enable more in-depth and focused discussions among students and faculty, a fact for which Belmont is well-known (U.S. News & World Report has lauded the University numerous times for its commitment to undergraduate teaching). In addition, the building houses 20 science labs outfitted with more than $2 million dollars in equipment, including state of the art spectrometers, a microwave reaction chamber, a cold room and incubators for biological studies, a state-of-the-art laser laboratory and an acoustics laboratory. A student-centered service area on the first floor allows for personal assistance via a Writing Center, Math Lab, Computer Science Lab, Language Learning Lab and a centrally located Service Learning and International Education office. Also on the first floor, the campus community can enjoy a dining option featuring Sandella’s Flatbread sandwiches and a We Proudly Brew Starbucks outlet.
300-seat ecumenical Christian sanctuary allows for bold mix of faith, academics
Today Belmont University unveiled its new campus Chapel, the first space on the ecumenical Christian university’s campus intentionally designed for worship services. Located on the ground floor of the new Wedgewood Academic Center at the corner of 15th and Wedgewood Avenues, the Chapel sits as a focal point within a larger structure that will house three of the University’s Colleges: Liberal Arts & Social Sciences, Sciences & Mathematics and Theology & Christian Ministry. The Chapel will host services three times a week during the fall and spring semesters, as well as special services of worship throughout the year. Click here to view the Chapel dedication in its entirety.
Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “A guiding principle in Belmont’s strategic Vision 2020 is to embed strong Christian character in everything we do. By housing Belmont’s Chapel in the University’s largest building—in an academic structure where every undergraduate student will have classes—we are both living out our mission and providing a much-needed gathering space for corporate worship opportunities.”
Belmont students, faculty and staff have the opportunity to attend services in the new Chapel on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 10 a.m. where, in addition to participating in student-led worship music, they can listen to nationally acclaimed scholars address a myriad of topics through the lens of faith. Guests this fall include MIT-trained physicist Dr. Deborah Haarsma, Harvard Law School graduate Bryan Stevenson, trauma surgeon Dr. David Vanderpool and Grand Ole Opry member and Belmont alumnus Josh Turner, among others.
An express version of Chick-fil-A had a soft opening in the Curb Café on Thursday. The popular fast food restaurant known for its chicken sandwiches will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday and serve its traditional fried chicken and grilled sandwiches as well as salads, waffle fries, chicken nuggets, special sauces, fruit cups, sweet tea and lemonade. Director of Dining Services Kyle Grover said he hopes to add breakfast to Belmont’s Chick-fil-A in the spring semester.
Both Sandella’s Flatbread Café and a We Proudly Brew Starbucks outlet open on Aug. 16, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. respectively, when the University celebrates the grand opening of the Wedgewood Academic Center, where many freshmen students will take their general education sciences, mathematics and liberal arts classes.
Sandella’s Flatbread Café brings pizzas, sandwiches and quesadillas to the north end of campus and will be open from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
We Proudly Brew Starbucks serves assorted coffee and tea beverages as well as pastries. The franchise accepts Bruin Bucks but is unable to take Starbucks gift cards or redeem loyalty stars. It will be open from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. (more…)
Belmont University was again named among the nation’s Colleges of Distinction for providing innovative, teacher-centered undergraduate education and preparing graduates for real-world success. Based on the opinions of guidance counselors, educators and admissions professionals, the website and college guide profiles more than 220 of America’s best bets in higher education honors colleges that excel in four areas of undergraduate education: student engagement in the educational process, great teaching, vibrant learning communities and successful outcomes.
Aside from the academic experience offered at the institutions selected, Colleges of Distinction are also chosen based on their first year program and experimental components of the curriculum. The organization believes institutions should be judged on what they are doing now and the development of their strategic plan, instead of their prestige historically.
Belmont will be profiled on the Colleges of Distinction website and in the official Colleges of Distinction eGuidebook, which will be available via online retailers and distributed free-of-charge to over 40,000 high school and community college counselors.
Two Oaks provides 418 living spaces for upperclassmen
Belmont University celebrated today the opening of its biggest residence hall, Two Oaks, with a ribbon cutting ceremony. This weekend, 418 upperclassmen students will move into the 139,000-square-foot building’s mix of apartment-style and suite-style rooms. Two Oaks has a larger square footage and holds a dozen more beds than the University’s 12 other residence halls. In addition to residential space, the project includes the expansion and extension of the Thrailkill Garage to accommodate an additional 352 vehicles. The need for additional residential and parking space comes as a result of Belmont’s significant enrollment expansion from 2,976 students in 2000 to nearly 7,000 last fall.
Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “This new campus residential space is a perfect launching pad for our students as they begin to engage and transform the world. Having these additional students located at the core of campus will enliven and enrich our entire Belmont community.”
The building is named for two large oak trees on the site that provide natural beauty and shade to the building and courtyard. The new hall’s footprint was designed to save the trees as Belmont continues to emphasize environmental sustainability with this construction. The facility also uses a high-efficiency drip irrigation system, water-saving faucet aerators and low ‘e’ insulated glass as well as energy efficient lighting, appliances and mechanical systems. (more…)
Belmont University will hold its summer 2014 commencement ceremony for graduate and undergraduate students at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 8 in the Curb Event Center. Belmont will celebrate the graduation of a total of 218 students. During the graduation ceremony, 101 undergraduate, 83 master’s and 34 doctoral degrees will be conferred.
Dr. Robert C. Fisher, president of the University, will preside over the event. Dr. Kimberlee Daus, College of Sciences and Mathematics associate dean and chemistry professor, will present the commencement address. Daus is the 2014-2015 Chaney Distinguished Professor, a title awarded for her representation of the University’s vision to be a “premier teaching institution.”
Watch the graduation ceremony live by visiting www.belmont.edu during the ceremony and clicking the watch live link.
Onsite Cintas truck provides safe, secure disposal of confidential information
Belmont University will host a Shred Event from 8 a.m. to noon Aug. 12 on campus in the parking lot behind the University’s Facility Management Services building at 1508 Delmar Ave. This event, being held for the second consecutive year, is free and open to the public.
A number of community organizations and local companies have already signed on to show their support for and participation in the event, including the Edgehill Village Neighborhood Association, Edgehill Family Resource Center, Belmont-Hillsboro Neighbors Inc., District 17 Councilwoman Sandra Moore, District 18 Councilwoman Sandra Burkley Allen, District 19 Councilwoman Erica Gilmore, Belmont Heights Baptist Church, FASTSIGNS 110, R.C. Mathews, Alexander Metals Inc., Barnett Ironworks Inc., Civil Constructors, Concrete Form Erectors, Cumberland Architectural Millwork, Enterprise Electric LLC, J & J Interiors, Kelly Construction Inc., Lee Co., McCarthy Jones & Woodard, RCC Concrete Services LLC and Rio Grande Fence Company.
Through a partnership with Cintas Document Management, documents will be securely destroyed onsite with a mobile shredding vehicle, ensuring secure, confidential disposal of sensitive information. Staples, rubber bands, folders and paper clips do not need to be removed before shredding occurs.
Belmont University has appointed Mary Clark as director of Bridges to Belmont. In her new position, Clark oversees the program designed to enroll students from Metro Nashville Public Schools who previously may have not considered Belmont as an option.
“We are delighted to welcome Mary Clark to the Belmont community and look forward to her leadership as the program continues to evolve, building on our strengths in delivering a high quality and robust education to all students enrolled at Belmont. Her personality, past experience in similar programs and commitment to student success will propel us to the next levels of excellence as we move forward,” said Associate Provost for Academic Affairs Beverly Schneller.
Bridges to Belmont reflects a deliberate stride on the part of Belmont’s administration to enhance the cultural and ethnic diversity within the campus community while also continuing efforts to provide higher education to students in Davidson County. Bridges to Belmont students, many of whom are first-generation college students, each are given a four-year scholarship to cover tuition, room, board, required fees and books from state and federal grants as well as Belmont scholarship funds. Throughout their higher education experience, they also are given academic support and mentors. There are 52 students in the program from Maplewood, Stratford, Whites Creek and Pearl Cohn high schools. (more…)
Although much grass has been removed from The Lawn this summer, work on the area will yield a greener campus this fall.
Crews with R.C. Mathews Contractor spent nearly two months drilling 106 bores on the south end of the grassy area to install a geothermal heating and cooling system for the forthcoming Academic and Dining Services Complex. Now they are installing an underground drainage system to improve the grass. The Lawn is scheduled to be restored and open to students by mid-October with a water fountain on the north side on the edge of McWhorter Plaza that will be functional by Nov. 1.
“This project is another addition to the University’s many green initiatives and shows Belmont’s continued commitment to environmental sustainability and energy efficiency as our campus grows. While The Lawn is temporarily unavailable this summer, its renovation supports ongoing sustainable efforts and preserves green space. When it reopens late this fall, The Lawn will return as a beautiful park in the center of campus for students, faculty and staff to enjoy,” said Vice President of Finance and Operations Steve Lasley.
Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, M.D., founder of Hope Through Healing Hands, and Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, led a community conversation Monday in Belmont’s Maddox Grand Atrium on “The Mother & Child Project: Simple Steps to Saving Lives in the Developing World.” This was the first public event held by the Faith-Based Coalition for Healthy Mothers and Children Worldwide, a joint partnership of Hope Through Healing Hands (HTHH), a Nashville-based global health organization, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
More than 250 individuals representing the faith community, global health NGO and higher-education sectors throughout greater Nashville attended the discussion, hosted by Belmont University. In addition to opening the event, Belmont Provost Dr. Thomas Burns and Hope Through Healing Hands (HTHH) Executive Director Dr. Jenny Eaton Dyer also announced that this fall they would award the first Frist Global Health Fellowship to enable a Belmont graduate student to be immersed for a semester in a global health experience.
U.S. Olympic figure skating champion Scott Hamilton, who with his wife Tracie is an active global health advocate, moderated the event, posing questions to Frist and Gates about their experiences.
“As I began to talk with women around the world, it became very clear to me the spacing and timing of pregnancies we take for granted in the U.S. is a matter of life and death for them,” said Gates. “So I got very involved in contraceptives, because it truly starts the cycle of life, where they can feed their children, get their children in school, and honestly, not die themselves.”
Sen. Frist agreed, saying, “Contraception is a pro-life cause.” He went on to explain that, “…if you delay first pregnancy to 18 years old, you can increase survival in countries where one in 39 women die in childbirth, and cut the chance of children dying by 30 percent, enabling them to stay in school and become productive members of families.”
“Second, if you can push out the interval between pregnancies to three year period, the child is twice as likely to survive the newborn stage.”
Following a four-month nationwide search, Belmont University announced today that Dr. Perry Moulds, senior director of development for the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, has been named vice president for development and external relations. He will begin his new role at Belmont on Aug. 5.
In his new position, Moulds will oversee all philanthropic initiatives for the University, including major gifts, corporate and foundation giving, grants and alumni giving. He also will provide leadership for marketing and public relations to ensure that all Belmont development and marketing operations are fully integrated with the University’s priorities and are aligned with its strategic objectives.
Belmont University President Bob Fisher said, “Dr. Moulds is a master at cultivating relationships, creating brand presence and leading higher education fundraising efforts. We are extremely excited to welcome such a successful leader to the Belmont community.”
Moulds will replace Dr. Bethel (Bo) Thomas, vice president of university advancement, who will retire from Belmont in October. Thomas’ contributions to Belmont over the past 10 years are reflected in the University’s fundraising achievements and alumni engagement, and his success is evident in the relationships he has cultivated with donors, alumni, faculty, staff and students. (more…)