Nashville eye surgeon Dr. Ming Wang shared with students the importance of making connections between their faith and science and how he has used health care as a ministry during convocation Thursday in the Neely Dining Hall.
“We have to confront the controversies of faith and science. It is one of the most important questions in this age of society … so we can move forward in good conscience and with peace of mind when faced with issues society is trying to figure out the answers to,” Wang said.
He told the story of the successes of his amniotic membrane contact lens, for which he has two U.S. patents. Using tissue from fetuses to prevent scarring of the corneas, he has successfully restored eyesight to several people. The procedure is covered by Medicare and insurance companies and has been performed by more than 500 doctors in the United States, he said.
“No matter how difficult things are in our lives, God has a plan for us. He wants us to conduct research to advance medicine and improve the quality of human lives,” Wang said. “But he wants us to do it his way.”
Wang also told students how his adolescence was interrupted by the Chinese Cultural Revolution, during which time many middle and high school students were forced to leave because Chinese colleges closed. Fourteen-year-old Wang stayed in China, studied illegally at a medical school and unsuccessfully tried to make a living as a composer and musician. In 1982, he arrived in the United States with only $50 and a Chinese-American dictionary. He went on to graduate magna cum laude from Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has a doctorate in laser physics. Today, Wang is director of the Wang Vision 3D Cataract and LASIK Center and has received international attention for his path-breaking eye surgeries. His nonprofit organization Wang Foundation for Sight Restoration has provided free surgeries for patients from 40 states and 55 countries, and he recently founded the Wang Foundation for Christian Outreach to China.
The School of Occupational Therapy and the Asian Studies Program co-sponsored the convocation lecture.
Adjunct faculty member Naoko Ozaki is gaining a reputation on campus and in the Nashville community for her techniques to teach Japanese to Belmont students. Their in-classroom experience includes games of charades, and on the weekends, students dine at local Japanese restaurants, make sushi and volunteer at local Japanese festivals.
“I believe in the grammar translation method of education: study grammar, read and write, in combination with communicative approach,” said Ozaki, who also advocates for cultural immersion and has created a micro environment for her students to interact with people whose first language is Japanese. All of Ozaki’s students interact each week with Japanese immigrants she met at the Nashville Cultural Festival. Ozaki gives guidelines on which grammar patterns to use and during the hour-long session, they split their time equally conversing in Japanese and English to help each other develop language skills and with culture nuances.
“(Students) are happy with the fact they go to the store and can read the words on products and recognize words when they watch Japanese movies. They have learned 400 characters and can converse at limited capacity but can ask questions and put together simple sentences,” said Ozaki, adding that she strives to build a sense of unity and sense of belonging in Belmont’s Japanese program.
The classes performed this past Saturday at the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival in the Public Square.
“She said she wanted to start a choir, and our class was like, ‘yeah, OK.’ Then she told us she got us a gig. It was a little surprising for us as a class, but fun,” said Cecilia Tregelles, a junior in the entertainment industry studies program.
Nearly 50 students gathered in Beaman A&B to view the third and final U.S. presidential election debate on Oct. 23. College Democrats, College Republicans, the Student Activities Programming Board and the Department of Political Science co-sponsored the debate viewing party.
“Being at a university is about understanding a variety of viewpoints, and seeing [students] coming together to share those things [at the debate] is really awesome,” said Matt Whitman, university marketing and special initiatives assistant.
Moderated by CBS News’ Bob Schieffer, the debate took place at Lynn University in Florida. President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney discussed issues including Libya, Syria, China and defense spending.
Meanwhile on Belmont’s campus, bi-partisan efforts of the organizations showed in an even representation of political parties with some students wearing a Romney/Ryan campaign hat, a JFK button, Reagan T-shirt and an Obama sticker. College Democrats President Charlie Hickerson said he was pleased to see students from both on-campus political groups coming together.
Belmont University is hosting its 11th annual Humanities Symposium this month, featuring author Stephen L. Carter as the keynote speaker. Carter, a law professor at Yale University, has helped to shape the national debate on issues including religion in politics and culture and is author of 12 books.
Centered on the theme “Civility and its Discontents,” the 2012 Humanities Symposium will occur Sept. 24 through Oct. 1 and parallels the 2011-12 university theme of “E Pluribus Unum: Dialogue in the Digital Age.” The Humanities Symposium seeks to stimulate intellectual conversation through its 33 events, which together will engage in a week-long conversation about civility from many perspectives including technology, democracy, culture and education.
“As we struggle to find a healthy balance between community and individual rights, Americans have experienced new forms of public discourse which thrive on the language of discord and distortion. Through visiting lecturers, interactive projects and a service learning project we hope to act as a model of talking through difference in support of the common good,” said English Professor and Associate Dean for Faculty for the College of Arts & Sciences David Curtis, who is co-chairing the symposium.
Belmont University recognized recording artist and longtime Bruins supporter Vince Gill today with an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree during the 10 a.m. spring commencement celebration at the Curb Event Center. Click here to view the presentation, and click here to read more about Belmont’s Spring 2011 Commencement ceremonies.
Presenting the degree to Gill during the graduation ceremony, Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “As a singer, songwriter and multi-faceted musician, Vince Gill has mastered his craft and yet he keeps pushing himself to greater excellence. Moreover, as a citizen and humanitarian, he dedicates himself to service and providing opportunities for others to succeed. Vince is truly a Nashville—and national—treasure. His professional experiences and personal contributions make him an ideal candidate for this doctorate degree and a perfect model for Belmont students to emulate.”
In an acceptance speech marked with both humor and emotion, Gill reflected on his own education while also encouraging his fellow graduates to focus on friendships. “I knew as a young guy that college was not in my future. I was led by my ears. I didn’t see my future—I heard my future. I learned everything I know how to do by listening. I never in my wildest dreams thought that a day like this could happen… In all honesty I was hoping that this [doctorate] would be in friendship. That’s the single reason I stand before you today—and that’s because of your head basketball coach, Rick Byrd.
“I met Rick on a golf course. I was making records at that point but couldn’t prove it because no one owned them. He was coaching basketball, but he couldn’t prove it then because no one came to the games. It’s easily been one of the best friendships I ever had… I’d like to thank Bob Fisher and all the faculty. I have never been more honored to receive anything in my life because it came strictly from a friendship.”
Gill’s contributions to Belmont University are plentiful, starting in 1990 with the Vince Gill Celebrity Basketball Game and Concert which raised funds for scholarship and program enhancement for Belmont University’s Athletics and Music Business programs. For more than 12 years, the event also provided an invaluable opportunity for students to gain experience in planning and executing a music-industry event.