While the annual Scholarship and Awards Day convocation always represents a highlight of the year, Wednesday morning’s celebration offered something special. This year-end celebration of academic achievement also demonstrated a son’s love and respect for his father, leaving few dry eyes in the Massey Performing Arts Center.
After receiving the John Williams Heart of Belmont Award, graduating senior Rami Nofal pulled Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher aside and asked to do a presentation of his own. Nofal then asked his father to join him on stage as he publicly thanked him for the support and sacrifices that were making his graduation possible.
Another highlight of the morning’s celebration came when Dr. Rich Tiner, recipient of the 2012-13 Chaney Distinguished Professor Award, gave the Honors Address on the theme “Defining Moments.” Recalling the Apostle Paul’s charge in Philippians 3:14 to “press on to reach the end of the race ,” Tiner added, “This morning we recognize excellence and we should… But I encourage you to be defined not by the moment of recognition, but by your ongoing pursuit of excellence.”
Throughout the morning, all in attendance were also reminded of the ways in which the university is living out its Christian mission. For example, several award recipients were involved in projects at Belmont that have significant connections to local and international ministries, from work with Spring Back Recycling to Blood:Water Mission to Salama Urban Ministries.
Dr. Jeff Cornwall, Belmont University’s Jack C. Massey Chair in Entrepreneurship, was named Friday as the Entrepreneurship Educator of the Year by the United States Association of Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE). Cornwall was selected from a group of distinguished nominees and chosen for his countless and enduring contributions to entrepreneurship education.
“To be named the most outstanding educator in one’s field in higher education is the highest compliment a professor can receive,” said Belmont’s College of Business Administration Dean Dr. Pat Raines. “Jeff’s professional accomplishments and the prestige that he has brought to Belmont’s entrepreneurship program make him an extraordinarily worthwhile recipient of this award.”
Dr. Cornwall said, “I am humbled to be recognized this way for the work that I do as an entrepreneurship educator.”
Past winners of the award include faculty members from Oklahoma State University, University of Texas (Austin), Stanford University, Purdue University and Baylor University, among others.
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 professors selected five times since 2000 for statewide honor
Belmont University’s Dr. Mike Pinter, professor of mathematics and director of the Teaching Center, was named today as the 2012 Tennessee Professor of the Year, an award selection determined by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). Dr. Pinter, who is currently in Washington, D.C. for special ceremonies to receive his award, was selected from nearly 300 top professors in the United States. Belmont will be holding its own celebration to honor Dr. Pinter on Nov. 27 from 3-5 p.m. in the Vince Gill Room in the Curb Event Center on campus.
“I’m very excited about receiving the award which will stand as one of the highlights of my teaching career,” Pinter said. “I’m honored to have been nominated by Belmont. I am also humbled by the knowledge that I’m surrounded by many gifted and dedicated teachers among our Belmont faculty whose efforts are not being publicly noted. Mostly, I’m grateful to have creative and hard-working students and colleagues who help me to continually develop by challenging me to keep my imagination alive for teaching and learning ideas.”
Belmont University Provost Dr. Thomas Burns added, “Belmont strives to be a leader among teaching universities. Dr. Mike Pinter’s achievements reflect our deep commitment to our students and their success. Dr. Pinter is an active scholar, a dedicated mentor and a committed teacher. His selection as Tennessee Professor of the Year recognizes his continued pursuit of excellence in teaching and his service to our students and his colleagues. With this award, and with Dr. Pinter’s role as the Director of the Belmont University Teaching Center, we are both thankful and extremely proud to have him represent Tennessee’s teaching community.”
After growing up on the family dairy farm in Morrilton, Arkansas, Dr. Pinter graduated from Hendrix College (Conway, Ark.). He holds advanced degrees from the University of Mississippi (M.Ed. in College Student Personnel Work) and Vanderbilt University (an M.S. and Ph.D. in Mathematics). In addition to serving as a Belmont faculty member in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science since 1989, Dr. Pinter has held numerous positions within the Belmont community. From 1998-2002, he was associate dean for the School of Sciences, and he served as director of the Teaching Center from 2003-06, a position he now holds again. During 2007-08, he filled the role of interim dean for the College of Arts and Sciences. In addition to regularly teaching general education mathematics courses and the upper-level combinatorics course, he also teaches Analytics: Math Models for students in the Honors Program and a First-Year Seminar course that focuses on issues related to limitations (including disabilities). Dr. Pinter is married to Dr. Robbie Pinter who has been a Belmont English Department faculty member since 1984. Their son Nicholas is a recent Benton Hall Academy graduate.
A popular destination for the Belmont community has become an off-campus classroom for neighbors. Bongo Java began hosting Belmont professors in October for a lecture series on the first Tuesday of every month that is free and open to the public.
“It is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while,” said Bongo Java owner Bob Bernstein. “Anything to get people to talk about different topics is worthwhile, and being right across the street form Belmont, it is neat to work with the professors.”
With the help of Center for Entrepreneurship Director Jeff Cornwall, Bernstein recruited faculty who have received the Chaney Distinguished Professor Award or the Presidential Faculty Achievement Award. The Chaney Award honors faculty for excellence in the classroom and the Presidential Award is for faculty who set an example of service to students. Professors choose their own topics, which include religion, politics, science and fashion.
“The benefit is that (the lecture series) continues to enhance the relationship between Belmont and the community we are a part of,” Cornwall said “We are enthusiastic about it. I hope it builds and becomes a wonderful bridge between the faculty and the community.” (more…)