W. Brett Wilson shared his story of success with students, faculty and staff on Wednesday afternoon, but his presentation included an unlikely twist. Wilson focused less on his achievements, including his billionaire status, ownership of the Nashville Predators or the profitable business he started from his genuine spirit of entrepreneurship, and more on his mistakes and realizations of what is important.
Wilson walked the audience through his book, Redefining Success: Still Making Mistakes, which was available for purchase and signing. Wilson explained his journey from engineering school, to a career in the Canadian oil industry, to earning his MBA, to starting an investment banking business which landed him a spot as a judge on the TV show “Dragons’ Den.” But through all this, Wilson described the stories that changed him and his rationale for why health, family, friends and education should be priorities over a career.
“Everything except my work life was failing,” said Wilson, as he told of a time when his daughter told an important phone caller that he was not home, when he was. When he angrily confronted her, she explained, “Well you never are.”
For Wilson, that moment changed everything. At the conclusion of his presentation, Wilson told the audience that his current relationship with his children would rank at a 9 out of 10, because he “can always be better.”
Amongst the trials of failing relationships and even being diagnosed with cancer, Wilson continues to believe in and be inspired by the idea of entrepreneurship. He said, “Each of you has a choice where you’ll go with your career. You’re each an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship is just a frame of thinking.”
With this, he offered the three classes he deems most important for students to take, regardless of their field of study or career path: marketing, entrepreneurship and philanthropy. He explained that if one understands these things, he or she will be successful no matter what they do, because he or she will know how to compete and form meaningful relationships on all levels.
At the end of the event, L. Russell Brown came out as a special guest and sang his famous song “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree,” dedicated to Wilson.
To learn more about Wilson and his philosophy of success and mistakes, click here.
While most were sound asleep in their beds Friday night, more than 110 Belmont students were wide awake, playing games and raising more than $47,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
The event, appropriately named “Up ‘Til Dawn,” started at midnight and lasted until 6 a.m. Saturday morning. St. Jude is Belmont’s Greek Life philanthropy, but the event was planned by a campus-wide Up ‘Til Dawn Executive Board and was open to any student who individually raised $100 and could manage to stay awake all night.
“Up ‘Til Dawn” is the culmination of other campus events that have raised awareness all year.The event featured several activities including amazing race and arcade style games, a pancake breakfast, a silent disco and the chance to meet a St. Jude’s patient, among others. Several students even had their heads shaved to support the cause. Finally, the total amount raised was revealed onstage: $47,803.27.
“As an executive board member, for me, the best part was revealing our total and watching the shock and awe on the faces of the students after they saw what they had accomplished. It was in that moment that I think it hit everyone just what we had achieved,” said sophomore Resident Outreach Chair Rebecca Green.
St. Jude Research Hospital, located in Memphis, Tennessee, was opened in 1962, and since then, overall childhood cancer survival rates have increased from 20 percent to more than 80 percent. No child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family’s ability to pay. To learn more about this cause, click here.
“It was our very first year doing this, so we honestly were just hoping we would raise $25,000 and get at least 100 people to show up. We completely surpassed that goal though,” said Events and Logistics Director Giovanna Cervantes. “We were in the top five fundraising schools for ‘Up ‘Til Dawn.’ Belmont, with just 7,300 students, raised more money than schools with 15,000 students or more. That just proves what an amazing community we have and the heart of this school.”
With the extreme success the event saw, student leaders said they are hopeful the momentum created for St. Jude won’t stop here. “This is a great learning experience for Belmont students and gives them an opportunity to support an amazing cause. We hope for Belmont to continue ‘Up ‘Til Dawn,’ so that this may be an annual event that exceeds $47,000 every year,” said senior Executive Director Maddy Grossl.
To see the video of “Up ‘Til Dawn,” click here.
As the leading media company and a top-ranked University, The Tennessean and Belmont University want to ensure that voters are well-informed on the issues facing Nashville and the positions of each candidate as they head to the polls in August.
Each debate will be free and open to the public, but tickets must be reserved in advance. The debates will also be streamed live via The Tennessean and Belmont University’s digital platforms.
Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “We have long said that being in Nashville is one of Belmont University’s finest assets, and this institution is committed to returning that benefit through engagement with, and service to, our city. Hosting these debates also connects well with our mission to provide students with significant real-world educational experiences, demonstrating first-hand how they can be change agents in our community and the broader world.”
The Tennessean’s President and Publisher Laura Hollingsworth said, “Nashvillians can count on The Tennessean to cover the details and the in-depth stories about the election, the candidates and their stances on the issues leading into the election.”
Belmont University held a number of notable events during the past two weeks to celebrate and honor the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr., including a visit from keynote speaker Taylor Branch Friday morning. A Pulitzer Prize winning historian, Branch wove comments on the recent film Selma into his remarks. Teaching on historical movements and the catalysts that spark them, Branch said movements are started by moments that move an individual to act, speak up and believe in something. “That’s what a movement is,” he said. “It’s something like the language of emotion, connecting you to things that are an emotional challenge to you.”
Branch said that people do not learn from abstract analysis, which is vague and reprogrammable, depending on the content. People learn from personal experiences that spark something inside of them. “Personal experiences move us in ways that scramble our ideas of what’s real and possible,” he said.
These moving moments resurfaced as Branch discussed several scenes from Selma. For instance, Branch describes Dr. King’s call to end the march and go back to the church as the “peak of his leadership.” Even though many did not agree with the decision, Branch said, “It shows you the complexity of ideas involved in keeping a movement going to engage in larger possibilities. He kept alive the possibility of a voting rights act.”
Location will offer adult degree programs, rental opportunities
Belmont University officially cut the ribbon today on a new professional education and corporate meeting facility in the heart of the Cool Springs business community. The new Williamson County location, located at 310 Billingsly Court, will provide easily accessible classrooms in Cool Springs for courses in Belmont’s adult degree, professional and continuing education programs, as well as event and meeting rental space for area businesses and organizations.
Belmont University first opened a satellite location in Cool Springs in 2002 on Seaboard Lane, allowing thousands of Williamson County residents and employees close access and opportune times to take classes to “finish what they started” through the University’s Adult Degree Program. With newly renovated classroom space, options for corporate meeting rentals and developing plans for expanding graduate and continuing education opportunities at this site, this new 6,300 square foot location intends to further cultivate Belmont’s influence in Williamson County.