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New Belmont Initiative Provides Full Scholarships, Educational Support to 25 Metro School Students

Bridges to Belmont program immerses local students in summer program to foster academic success

Belmont President Bob Fisher, Director of Metro Schools Jesse Register, Maplewood High Principal Ron Woodard and Stratford High Principal Michael Steele sign a proclamation celebrating the “Bridges to Belmont” program.

Thanks to a new full scholarship program from Belmont University, 25 Metro Nashville high school seniors will receive the opportunity to attend college next year. The Bridges to Belmont program is designed to enroll high potential students from Metro Nashville Public Schools who may not have previously been able to consider Belmont as an option.

Belmont University President Bob Fisher said, “We believe every young person has potential for great success with the biggest challenge often being simply the absence of opportunity. This is Belmont’s attempt to step up and provide that opportunity to high potential students here in Nashville. Of all the projects we’ve undertaken in the past decade, I can’t think of any that make me more proud to be at Belmont.”

In addition to the full scholarships, the Bridges to Belmont program will focus on creating a learning and service environment to empower students’ personal passion to meet the needs of the world. Bridge students will live and work on campus the summer prior to enrollment while attending an intensive institute that will allow them to take full advantage of the opportunities the college environment will offer. Programming will focus on quantitative reasoning, writing, public speaking skills and research methods as well as on creating a community of learners. The summer immersion program also will include community service and social activities for participants.

The pilot Bridges to Belmont program is open to students from Maplewood and Stratford High Schools for the 2013-2014 academic year and eventually could expand to include other Metro Nashville Public Schools. The charter Bridge class members will be nominated by principals at each high school. Preferred candidates for the 25 available slots will be taking a college prep curriculum and feature strong recommendations regarding academic motivation and personal character. (Click here to view video highlights of Tuesday’s press conference.)

“The Bridges to Belmont program will be life-changing for the students selected,” said Metro Schools’ Director Dr. Jesse Register. “The opportunity to attend Belmont tuition-free, as well as participate in the summer transition program, is a tremendous example of how the community can and does support our schools and our students. Belmont is a great partner for Metro Schools, and today’s announcement is another example of how this partnership is bringing lasting benefits to individual students and our community. I want to thank President Fisher and everyone who has worked to make this program a reality.”


New Residence Hall Named in Honor of Horrell Family

Horrell Hall

Horrell Hall

In appreciation of their impact through the years, today Belmont University celebrated the naming of its newest residence hall in honor of the Horrell family. Designed by EOA Architects with construction by R.C. Mathews, the suite-style residence hall offers 190 residential spaces for Belmont students and sits adjacent to Dickens Hall, another new residence structure that opened in August. The need for additional residence space comes as a result of Belmont’s significant enrollment expansion from 2,976 students in 2000 to more than 6,600 last fall.

The relationship between the Horrell family and Belmont began in 1963 when then President Herbert Gabhart requested advice and assistance from Henry Horrell, founder of Nashville’s Horrell Company, which recently celebrated 57 years in commercial real estate.

Horrell Family

The Horrell Family

Henry Horrell served on the Belmont Board of Trustees for 13 years and chaired the Board from 1970-77. In addition, Belmont’s signature Rose Garden was inspired and funded by Henry’s wife, Kathleen. Two of Henry and Kathleen’s sons graduated from Belmont with Steve now serving on the Board of Trustees.

Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “The Horrells have demonstrated their commitment to Belmont in countless ways through a friendship that has lasted more than 50 years. In naming this new residence hall in their honor, we will remind future generations of their incredible kindness and generous spirit as well as the sustaining contributions they have made to Belmont University.”

Four New Members Selected for Belmont University’s Board of Trustees

Current members Holleman, Wright also re-appointed to three-year terms

 Belmont University announced today the selection of six members to its Board of Trustees consisting of two re-appointments and the election of four new members. Each of the individuals listed below will begin a new, three-year term at the University’s Jan. 17 board meeting.

John Ferguson is the chairman of the board for Corrections Corporation of America and past commissioner of finance and administration for the State of Tennessee. A member of First Presbyterian Church, Ferguson also serves on boards for The Boy Scouts, Nashville Public Education Foundation and The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.

A Belmont Trustee since 2003, Jim Holleman, retired President of Conroy, Marable & Holleman Realtors, was re-elected to a new term. The former Leadership Clarksville Vice President, Holleman has also served as Heritage Bank Chairman, Clarksville Rotary past President and Clarksville Area Chamber of Commerce past President. He is a member of First Baptist Church, Clarksville.

Alumnus Klay Kelley earned both a B.B.A. and an M.B.A. from Belmont and served as an alumni regent on the Board of Trustees from 2009-2012. Employed by Western Spirits, he also serves as chairman of Alpha Tau Omega Board of Trust and as a member of Belmont Young Alumni Council and the Nashville American Marketing Association. Kelley is a member of Fellowship Bible Church in Brentwood.

Dove and Grammy Award winning artist Michael W. Smith is a Christian author, worship leader, musician and songwriter who has sold more than 15 million albums. The founder of Rocketown, a nonprofit youth outreach facility in downtown Nashville, Smith is also active in Billy Graham Crusades and The Samaritan’s Purse. He is a member of New River Fellowship.

Alumnus Randy Smith, a former Belmont Trustee from 1982-1987, is an entertainment industry attorney. He serves on the First Tennessee Bank Board of Advisors and the Belmont College of Law Development Committee and is a member of First Baptist Church, Nashville.

A Belmont Trustee first elected in 1994, alumnus Mark Wright is president of Show Dog-Universal Music. Wright, a member of First Presbyterian Church, serves of the boards of the YMCA Foundation, Salvation Army, Country Music Association and City of Hope.


Dr. Paula Gill Promoted to Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness

Belmont University President Dr. Bob Fisher announced today that longtime employee Dr. Paula Gill has been promoted to Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness. In this role, Gill is responsible for evaluating the university’s progress toward its performance objectives and for seeking ways to improve services and processes that provide value for students. In addition, she will serve as a member of the President’s senior leadership cabinet, providing feedback and consultation on University decisions and strategic planning.

“As Belmont University continues its phenomenal growth trend, the need for assistance at the highest level of leadership has become apparent,” Fisher said. “We want to provide guidance to help our campus be more effective and manage resources for the good of our students. There’s simply no better person for this role than Dr. Gill. Her expertise and perspective are matched only by her great love for, and dedication to, the Belmont community.”

Gill added, “I am incredibly honored by this appointment, not only for what it represents to me personally and professionally but also for what it proves about this University’s commitment to guiding students to their full potential in order to lead lives of meaning and purpose. My professional success is the result of Belmont administrators, faculty and staff who shared their wisdom and invested their time in me during my academic and professional journey. My gratitude for this promotion is exceeded only by my excitement to serve this dynamic institution and its students in new ways in the future.”


Belmont, Other NAC&U Members Receive Teagle Grant to Promote Better Student Outcomes

The Teagle Foundation has awarded The New American Colleges and Universities (NAC&U), of which Belmont University is a member, a $150,000 grant for a project that will identify new approaches to build on the core values of a liberal education in a residential setting and prepare students for productive and successful careers. When the project–“Preparing 21st Century Students through New Visions for Faculty Evaluation, Campus Governance and Curriculum”–is completed, NAC&U hopes to have, among other outcomes, a curriculum development map that shows the integration of liberal and professional studies and emphasizes general education and disciplinary learning outcomes.

Sixteen members of the national consortium will participate in this project. In addition to Belmont, they are Arcadia University, Hamline University, Hampton University, John Carroll University, Nazareth College, Pacific Lutheran University, Samford University, The Sage Colleges, The University of Scranton, University of Evansville, University of Redlands, Valparaiso University, Wagner College, Westminster College and Widener University. This current project will implement goals outlined in NAC&U’s previous Teagle-funded project, “Preparing and Evaluating 21st Century Faculty: Aligning Expectations, Competencies, and Rewards.”


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