Navy, Army, National Guard veteran wins Heart of Belmont Award
In a ceremony marked by numerous standing ovations, students and faculty were honored Wednesday during the annual Scholarship and Awards Day convocation in the the Massey Performing Arts Center. All of the awards given reflected Belmont’s mission and commitment to scholarship, service and leadership, with two new faculty awards, the Christian Scholarship Award and Leadership in Christian Service Award, being introduced for the first time this year. Dr. Ronnie Littlejohn, the 2013-14 Chaney Distinguished Professor, provided the morning’s Honors Address on “Knowing Whether,” encouraging attendees to pursue moral wisdom.
In one of the most moving presentations, graduating senior Matthew Thompson was awarded the John Williams Heart of Belmont Award, which is given to a student committed to Belmont’s values including innovation, persistence, advocacy for change, community development and service. Before coming to Belmont, Thompson served in the Navy on the USS George Washington for five years. In 2005, he enlisted in the Army where he served an additional four years and afterwards completed one year of service in the Tennessee National Guard. After 10 years of service and three deployments, he was honorably discharged and began pursuing a degree in social work at Belmont.
An intern at Operation Stand Down, Thompson has been integral in the development of veterans services on campus and developed an intercollegiate student veteran coalition that spans six universities across Middle Tennessee. Thompson’s mission is to continue on to a career path that assists veterans who are transitioning from military service into civilian life. In his own words, his “biggest motivation has never been to be recognized but to instead encourage and inspire others to step forward and contribute.”
Faculty gathered for lunch Wednesday to recognize the 20th anniversary of the Teaching Center and its impact on Belmont faculty.
“These are my heroes who helped make Belmont into what it is today. I will always be grateful for the leadership you have showed,” said Provost Thomas Burns. “You have helped us serve our students better. What the Teaching Center is about is making sure that we are excellent teachers and learning how we can continue to grow and develop. It is also a reality center and work-life center to develop the entire educator.”
During the luncheon, faculty were taken on a broad sweep over the center’s 20-year evolution through the words of its former directors.
Seeds for the center were planted in the early ‘90s when an academic committee of faculty, students and administrators discussed campus needs, said Teaching Center Founding Director Mike Awalt, who also taught philosophy. He and a group of faculty examined teaching centers across the country and applied for grants, eventually receiving $100,000 for the establishment of Belmont’s Teaching Center.
Christine Brennan grew up during a time when girls weren’t encouraged or allowed to play sports. Yet, her father taught her how to throw a baseball and gave her a mitt for her eighth birthday. Soon, the boys began picking her first to be on their teams, and she grew up to become a national sports columnist.
“I decided to be the role model I never had,” she said. Brennan has covered 16 Olympic Games, written a best-selling book and serves as a television and radio sports commentator.
During the luncheon on Tuesday in the Maddox Grand Atrium, she shared advice with 57 female high school students who completed the Music City Girls Lead! leadership academy as part of the activities leading up to the NCAA Women’s Final Four Tournament in Nashville, Tenn. this weekend. (more…)
Belmont University employees painted a Metro Nashville Public School (MNPS) with their Bruin pride during a community service project Friday morning. Approximately 150 Belmont staff, faculty and administrators spent their morning giving Hunters Lane High School hallways, gymnasium, stairwells, railings and banisters a cosmetic lift with a fresh coat of paint.
“I am absolutely delighted that you are here. For the first time in the six years I’ve been here I’ve been able to have a school come and help my school. A lot of people want to work in elementary schools or schools in their community, and they don’t live around here,” said Principal Susan Kessler, who has 80 percent of her 1,700 ninth through 12th-grade students living below the poverty line. “When students come in the building on Monday morning, they will notice the changes Belmont has made. All I have to offer you is my gratitude. Your work truly matters.”
The service project, which the University dubbed “It’s Bruin Time in the Community,” was a day designed to foster the sense of community among Belmont employees by serving the greater Nashville community. Much like during Belmont’s Annual SERVE Day for incoming freshmen and transfer students, this service project was part of the University’s ongoing mission to engage in the community and encourage the values of service on both a local and global level. (more…)
Numerous Tennessee education leaders speak during morning forum
The Association of Governing Boards’ (AGB) National Commission on College and University Board Governance hosted a public forum on Tuesday, March 25 in the Inman Center’s Frist Lecture Hall. Commission Chair and former Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen and AGB President Rick Legon joined members of the commission and invited Tennessee-based education leaders in a roundtable discussion on the issues and challenges facing higher education in the U.S. today.
Belmont President Bob Fisher, Fisk President H. James Williams, University of Tennessee Trustee Vicky Gregg, Vanderbilt Trustee Denny Bottorff, Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor John Morgan and Vanderbilt Associate Professor of Higher Education and Public Policy Coordinator Will Doyle participated in the three-hour conversation. Topics discussed included:
* The future of shared governance (among boards, faculty, and presidents) and how it might be reformed to better address the challenges facing institutions
* Private, nonprofit and public institutions’ responsibility in demonstrating value
* Board roles in accommodating Federal and state governments’ involvement in institutional policy
* Ways college and university boards can meet expectations for increased oversight and accountability without crossing the line into institutional administration and day-to-day operations
The 28-member commission was formed in 2013 to develop recommendations to strengthen college and university board governance and meet future needs for higher education. The commission will release recommendations in September, 2014.