Belmont University announced today the opening of a new undergraduate degree program in motion pictures, the study of cinematography, screenwriting, film production, etc. The curriculum for this interdisciplinary studies program is being developed under the expertise of Will Akers, Belmont’s new assistant professor and chair of the program. Motion Pictures classes will begin in fall 2013.
In addition to having 25 years experience as a screenwriter, Akers’ background includes 19 years of teaching at Vanderbilt University in film studies, theater and communication studies. He is also the author of an industry-standard text, Your Screenplay Sucks!, 100 Ways To Make It Great. A Nashville native, graduate of Vanderbilt, with a master’s degree in cinema production from the University of Southern California, Akers is a fixture in the Nashville film community. He has had three feature films produced from his screenplays and wrote for the network television series “Strange Luck,” “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” and “Eerie, Indiana.”
The new program intends to encompass all areas of the modern motion picture world. “Today motion pictures can be found in all kinds of media including television, cell phones and computers; it’s not simply film-in-a-theater anymore,” Akers said. “Belmont’s new program will capitalize on the growing diversity of motion pictures, teaching students all aspects of the craft from script development, through production, to marketing and distribution. We’ll combine our classroom curriculum with the hands-on experiential learning that is a consistently distinguishing factor of a Belmont education.”
Belmont Provost Thomas Burns added, “This new undergraduate major is a natural extension of Belmont’s strong liberal arts curriculum and our commitment to high-quality professional programs related to the management and development of the entertainment industry. Moreover, motion pictures will prepare students to succeed in a dynamic marketplace that is currently experiencing immense development and growth.”
Structure named in honor of Board of Trustees Chair Marty Dickens
Belmont University celebrated the official “topping out” today for a 297-bed residence hall and 562-car underground parking garage being constructed on the southeastern corner of campus near the intersection of 15th and Bernard Avenues. The new building, Dickens Hall, is being named in honor of long-time Belmont Board of Trustees Chair Marty Dickens, the retired president of BellSouth/AT&T-Tennessee. The hall, which will house upperclassmen, offers unobstructed views of the Nashville skyline from its top floors.
Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “I can’t think of a better person to honor in naming this new building than Marty Dickens. This hall’s top floors will offer some of the finest views of Nashville to be found in the city, which is incredibly appropriate as Marty’s significant impact can be felt in the lives of individual students here at Belmont as well as throughout the broader Nashville area through his extensive community service. This hall, and the perspective it offers on our city, reflects the great vision Marty Dickens provides to Belmont and Nashville—we are so grateful for his leadership.”
Sarah Bouse bummed rides to the grocery store from her friends until she discovered a car-sharing program that covers gas and keeps her from circling Belmont parking garages.
“In the past when I needed to go somewhere, I used other people’s cars or I would say to my friends, ‘hey, if you are going to Target, let me know,’” said Bouse, a junior from Indianapolis, Ind., studying classical performance, pedagogy and Spanish. She signed up for WeCar in August and uses a Toyota Prius twice a week to get around Nashville for service learning projects and to observe piano lessons to fulfill requirements for class. “With the classes I have this semester, it is beneficial to not have to bug other people for rides, especially when they would have to go out of the way to take me places like Mount Juliet.”
Parked in reserved spaces between Wright Hall and Whitten Soccer Field, the Toyota Prius and a Mini Cooper are available to all Belmont employees and students aged 18 and older. Membership along with low hourly and daily rates includes gas, maintenance, roadside assistance, travel up to 200 miles and a reserved parking spot. Students between 18 and 20 must have their own liability insurance, and WeCar provides insurance for members 21 and older.
“Our partnership with WeCar strengthens our commitment to provide the Belmont University community with flexible, environmentally-friendly transportation options,” said Vice President for Administration and University Counsel Jason Rogers. “We are committed to a variety of strong sustainability programs and look forward to working with WeCar to further develop the university’s car sharing initiative and provide our students, staff and faculty with a solution that best matches their needs.”
The University has offered a membership-based car sharing program to the campus community since 2008 and switched to Enterprise-owned WeCar in August. Through Career Services, WeCar is offering a Belmont student a paid internship to help with promotions of the membership-based car sharing program around campus. (more…)
Earlier this month the Senate of the State of Tennessee presented a resolution to the Gabhart family honoring Belmont’s late chancellor and retired president, Dr. Herbert C. Gabhart, who passed away on Sept. 10, 2009.
Senate Joint Resolution No. 675—sponsored by Senators Douglas Henry, Roy Herron and Joe Haynes—was passed several months after Dr. Gabhart’s death, and the official presentation of the scroll was recently made to his family on Aug. 11. Dr. Norma Baker Gabhart, Dr. Gabhart’s wife and a retired professor of psychology at Belmont, accepted the resolution on behalf of the family. Belmont’s Dr. Jason Rogers, vice president for administration and legal counsel, and Mrs. Judy Fisher accompanied the Gabhart family at the ceremony.
The resolution reads in part, “Dr. Herbert C. Gabhart leaves behind an indelible legacy of integrity and probity in public life, compassion and loyalty in private life, and diligence and dedication in all his chosen endeavors… We honor the memory… reflecting fondly upon his bountiful life of academic excellence, his impeccable character and his stalwart commitment to living the examined life with courage and conviction.”
A visionary leader in higher education who was devoted to this university, Dr. Herbert C. Gabhart served as president of Belmont from 1959 until his retirement in 1982, when he accepted the position of chancellor, where he continued to serve until the time of his death. The Gabhart Student Life Center is named in his honor.
During Opening Convocation on Wednesday, Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher announced tentative plans for a new academic building to be located on the corner of 15th and Wedgewood Avenues.
“This really is the chance of a lifetime for our campus,” said Dr. Fisher, “because we can spend the coming weeks and months discussing and imagining what would be the best use of this space in terms of serving both our student body and our community. This is an opportunity to put our creative capital to work. We can take advantage of the incredibly talented and innovative minds that are already invested in Belmont and allow them to speak into this university’s future.”
During the fall semester, faculty, staff and students will engage in ongoing conversations about the countless possibilities a new academic building could offer to campus. In addition to discussing programs that could be housed in the space, including potentially new programs, these meetings will also encourage dialogue on how the space might be used in an innovative fashion. Provost Dr. Thomas Burns has already begun meetings on the topic over the summer, seeking input from deans and faculty members.
By next spring Dr. Fisher said he hopes to take concepts to the Board of Trustees for consideration and begin construction next summer. Tentative plans account for a 160,000 square foot building with a parking garage for up to 500 cars.
Potential occupants already under consideration for the new building include the sciences, social sciences, humanities, religion and executive education.
“This project should really be a community builder,” Fisher explained. “We want to think through this together as a campus and with our partners in the city to determine the best way this building can further unite Belmont and Middle Tennessee. My hope is this building represents a cornerstone of our campus in a sense, advancing our mission to provide an academically challenging education while also further enhancing our vision to be Nashville’s University.”
Click here to read coverage of this story in Friday’s Tennessean.