Belmont recognized Nashville Chief of Police and Belmont alumnus Steve Anderson during Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. spring commencement ceremony with an honorary Doctorate of Humanities degree. Honorary degrees have been presented by American colleges and universities since 1962 in recognition of meritorious humanitarian service, as well as scholarly and creative attainments. Belmont has bestowed this award selectively as the highest honor conferred by the University.
Chief Anderson graduated from Belmont in 1979 with a degree in criminal justice, went on to graduate from Nashville School of Law with a Doctor of Jurisprudence Degree, served in the United States Air Force and ultimately went on to serve the Nashville community as a public servant. A 40-year veteran of the Metro Nashville Police Department, Chief Anderson served in a number of roles prior to his 2010 appointment as Chief of Police. He was an administrative assistant to three former chiefs, led the Administrative Service Bureau, Investigative Service Bureau and Field Operations Bureau, served as a law instructor at the MNPD Training Academy and provided on-site legal advice to the SWAT Team.
Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said the University is proud of the impact Chief Anderson has made on the greater Nashville community and is honored to provide him with a second Belmont degree.
“The strong relationships Chief Anderson has built with neighborhood and communities, his commitment to protecting those who are threatened by domestic violence and his voice of reconciliation to people who feel disenfranchised are clear demonstrations of his remarkable concern for others,” Dr. Fisher said. “The high standard of professional excellence and emphasis on education in the Metro Police culture, along with the dramatic reduction of crime in Nashville, speak to the strong leadership Chief Anderson has provided within the department and the Nashville community.”
“I am sincerely humbled that the great school I attended as Belmont College in the 1970s, and from where I graduated 36 years ago while a police officer, has chosen to honor me at the 2015 spring commencement,” Chief Anderson said. “Just as Nashville and the police department have significantly grown and evolved over the past four decades, so, too, has Belmont. The education I received here helped prepare me for the constant challenges of a law enforcement career. I am proud to be a Belmont graduate, and I am proud of what this university means to Nashville.”
Chief Anderson’s contributions to Nashville are plentiful as he has overseen unprecedented growth in Metro’s police department, forged strong and lasting partnerships with key members of the community and significantly reduced the city’s crime statistics since beginning his position as Chief in 2010. Additionally, Chief Anderson has been honored with a number of awards including the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police (TCAP) President’s Award, TCAP’s Middle Tennessee Chief of the Year and the Statewide Voice for Victims Award during National Crime Victim’s Week.
During Wednesday’s Scholarship and Awards Day convocation in the Massey Performing Arts Center, Belmont’s top students and faculty were honored for their commitment to the University’s mission and dedication to scholarship, service and leadership. Chemistry Professor Dr. Kim Daus, the 2013-14 Chaney Distinguished Professor, gave the ceremony’s Honors Address and discussed heroes and how they improve our lives. Citing a recent study that showed the prevalence of heroes closely related to members of Generation Next, Daus charged attendees to make a difference in the lives of others and left the audience with lyrics from a Harry Chapin song, one of Daus’s self-proclaimed heroes. “Now if a man tried to take his time on Earth and prove before he died what one man’s life could be worth, I wonder what would happen to this world.”
The presentation of the annual John Williams Heart of Belmont Award is greatly anticipated each year as one student is recognized for their commitment to Belmont’s values including innovation, persistence, advocacy for change, community development and service. The 2015 recipient, Tina Sharma, is a double major studying applied discrete mathematics and economics and when she isn’t working on assignments, completing duties associated with her leadership roles or internships, Tina said her time at Belmont has been “unconditionally poured into working as a community activist.”
Released for iOS and Android platforms, product represents three apps in one
Anyone searching for “Belmont” or “Belmont University” last week in the iTunes or Google Play stores stumbled across a nice surprise as the University released its first official mobile app, a free combination product that offers access to public Belmont information (Belmont app) as well as a secondary secure MyBelmont app for students, faculty and staff to reach their personal information on mobile platforms. A third app, for Belmont Bruins athletics, is also included.
These new additions to campus life are a direct result of Media Studies Professor Dr. Sybril Bennett’s submission last year to the Belmont Challenge, an ongoing project that encourages faculty and staff to recommend ideas–in this case, ones based on technology–that can improve student learning and contribute to the effectiveness of the University as a whole.
Bennett said, “The purpose of the submission was to serve our students. For years students in my Mass Media and Society classes submitted Belmont app prototypes as part of the mobile app class project. They wanted to access information on the go. With the growth of mobile devices, this wasn’t an option, it was and is an opportunity. This will allow students to use their device of choice to better manage their educational journey on a mobile platform.”
In a recent U.S. News analysis that compared universities’ spending with the educational quality they offer, Belmont ranked No. 5 among its peers in the South region and was the highest ranked private University in that category, indicating the high efficiency of Belmont in providing excellent educational quality while keeping expenses low.
Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “This ranking is a huge deal to us because it reflects the overall Belmont strategy to provide a first-class education to our students while keeping our costs low. All credit for this accomplishment goes to the diligence of our faculty, staff and administration, who work extremely hard at their jobs and do their best to find effective—and economical—solutions to our campus’ needs.”
According to the website, U.S. News compared public and private colleges’ academic quality, as measured by their position in the 2015 Best Colleges rankings, to the funds spent to achieve that quality, and ranked the most efficient universities under that matrix. The publication noted, “Schools that are featured on these lists are doing a good job in managing their financial resources relative to other schools that may have far greater financial resources because of more state funding, higher tuition or larger endowments.”
Belmont University President Dr. Bob Fisher unveiled the University’s Vision 2020 to a room full of students, faculty, staff and alumni Monday morning. The Vision, comprised of seven strategic priorities that will guide Belmont through the next five years, integrates the University’s values of integrity, inquiry, collaboration, service and humility to build what Vision 2020 calls, “Nashville’s University.”
With Vision 2015 coming to a conclusion, the University is looking toward the future with a strong emphasis on student-centeredness, Christian character and a people-first culture, among other things.
“Vision is a picture of a future that is so much more desirable that the present, that it creates a sense of urgency. It compels people to act – to ambitious action,” Fisher said. Video interviews from Belmont community members were included to highlight each Vision 2020 strategy, illustrating the ambitious action that Vision 2020 calls for.
“As we continue to define ourselves and our dreams for this University, it is my hope that Belmont will place a greater focus on including students in the development and execution of our long-term goals and capitalize on the creativity, passion and commitment of its students to make Belmont a place we’re all proud to call home,” Student Government Association President Jeanette Morelan said.
Although the Vision has been crafted and created, a successful implementation of any vision will require the support and collaborative work of all community members, Fisher said. “Consider the power of aligning our efforts and pulling in the same direction…Consider the power behind that.”
Fisher ended his presentation with a story describing his experience climbing Mt. Rainier, a Seattle mountain with the greatest rise in elevation of all ranges within the continental U.S. During his climb, Fisher developed altitude sickness and was forced to descend at the mountain’s “High Break,” the final break before the Summit. Although he wasn’t able to accomplish what he set out to do, Fisher said the experience taught him many lessons. “If you aspire to do something really hard and really tough, it does get harder and harder as you approach the goal,” he said.
“We’re at the High Break point, but if we’re going to the top, it’s going to take the best efforts of everybody. I hear there’s nothing like the view from the top. I haven’t been there, but I want to go…Let’s get there together and become one of America’s great universities. Let’s go to the top,” Fisher said.
For a description of Vision 2020’s seven strategies and a video of Fisher’s presentation, please click here.