A new academic year kicked off officially on Wednesday with the traditional Opening Convocation to celebrate the first day of classes for the fall semester. Following the singing of University Hymn “Jesus Is the Christ” and the Alma Mater, along with an opening prayer by Vice President for Spiritual Direction Dr. Todd Lake, Provost Dr. Thomas Burns welcomed the gathered crowd, calling attention to several items that illustrate this year’s campus theme, “Through the Eyes of Others.”
In addition to Belmont’s commitment to KIVA and the recent partnership with Live Beyond, Burns pointed to the upcoming Oct. 3 First Year Seminar (FYS) convocation with Christian missionaries Keren Madora and Kristine Diggins. Kristine is the daughter of Keren Madora and Dan Everett, the author of FYS common book, Don’t Sleep, There Are Snakes.
“I challenge you,” Burns remarked, “as you participate in these activities, to make new connections – between people, between ideas, between actions – and to find the courage to make a difference in our world. I invite you to struggle with questions which have no easy answers. May we welcome those struggles, embrace them and let them transform the way we view and live in our world. Not every University will dare ask this much of its membership, but that’s why all of us have chosen to be part of Belmont University.”
Thousands of students and adults will make Belmont their summer home in the coming weeks as the University hosts several summer camps and conferences.
Event Manager Sarah Brown has prepared for the influx with 15 Belmont students and four residence directors, who will facilitate the groups on campus throughout June and July.
Among the summer camps are Bruin Camps with Belmont Athletics coaches and programs through the College of Visual and Performing Arts for ballet dancers as well as piano, strings and wind instrument players.
The largest of the camps is MFuge, which brings 3,000 high school students to Belmont over the course of the summer. Lifeway began the camp in 1979 and has grown it to include Bible studies, team-building recreation activities and community service projects at more than 60 Nashville organizations including Metro Parks, Nashville Rescue Mission, Front Porch Ministries and local nursing homes.
Also with a mission-oriented approach, Project Transformation provides leadership development and ministry exploration opportunities to 32 college-age young adults through immersion in churches in Middle Tennessee’s low-income neighborhoods. For nine weeks the students, known as young adult interns, coordinate free summer day camps for children in under-served Nashville neighborhoods. Project Transformation helps churches to fill the void in ministries that resonate with young adults and allows the students to have transformational experiences to help them figure out how their career goals align with God’s plan.
“These students live on campus and provide academic enrichment for at-risk children and youth across our city. This partnership with the United Methodist Church began last summer and resulted in two Belmont students founding a ministry to continue their work all last year,” said Vice President of Spiritual Development Todd Lake. “In addition, one of the Belmont participants last year went on to seminary and has returned this summer as a Project Transformation supervisor. Vision 2015 states that we will give increasing evidence of our Christian character by partnering with outside Christian organizations, and this is one exemplary way we are able to live this out.”
The University’s Towering Traditions orientation program Foundations, which is designed to welcome freshmen and transfer students as well as their families, runs June 10 through 29 and brings approximately 250 students to campus for each session.
Other summer conferences on campus include the United Methodist Men: Inside Out For the Glory of God from July 12 to 14, American Scientific Affiliation’s Annual Conference from July 19 to 22 and Lifeway’s Main Event from July 26 to 27.
Largest meeting of Christians in the sciences comes to Nashville in July
The American Scientific Affiliation’s 68th Annual Meeting will take place July 19-22 at Belmont University as some 250 scientists and academics advance the conversation about faith and science. This year’s theme is “In God’s Image: Celebrating Creativity in Science and Invention” based on Psalm 8:6, “You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet.”
American Scientific Affiliation Executive Director Randall D. Isaac said, “Our meeting enables Christians in the sciences to meet and support each other. As Christians with a vocation in the sciences, we seek to bring a Christian perspective to our work. As scientists with a commitment to Christ, we seek to understand how a study of God’s creation strengthens our Christian faith. Personal interaction is a vital part of that community of support. We share our insights and experiences to encourage each other in the faith.”
Plenary speakers are Belmont Director of Entrepreneurship Jeff Cornwall, Princeton University Chemistry Professor Andy Bocarsly, U.S. Department of Energy Fusion Energy Sciences Research Division Director Jim Van Dam, University of Illinois College of Engineering Associate Dean for Administration Bruce A. Vojak and Rutgers University Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice Mary Wagner.
Belmont University will hold its spring 2013 commencement ceremonies for graduate and undergraduate students on Saturday, May 4 in the Curb Event Center.
For the third consecutive year, the University will have two ceremonies on the same day. At 9:30 a.m. candidates from the College of Business Administration, Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business and College of Visual and Performing Arts will have their degrees conferred. At 2:30 p.m. candidates from the College of Arts and Sciences, Gordon E. Inman College of Health Sciences and Nursing, College of Pharmacy, University College and Interdisciplinary Programs and School of Religion will have their degrees conferred.
Belmont celebrates the graduation of a total of 955 students. During the graduation ceremonies, 765 undergraduate, 105 master’s and 85 doctoral degrees will be conferred.
Tickets, which have been distributed to the graduating students, will be required for guests wishing to attend either event.
Dr. Robert C. Fisher, president of the University, will preside over the events and present the commencement address at both ceremonies. In addition, the Office of Alumni Relations will sponsor receptions–one at 7:30 a.m. prior to the morning commencement and another immediately following the 2:30 p.m. ceremony–for all graduates and their families in the Beaman Student Life Center.
Baccalaureate will take place at 2:30 p.m. Friday, May 3 in the Curb Event Center.
**Updated May 6, 2013: Online video streams of the May4 graduation ceremonies are now available for viewing here.
Named by TIME magazine in 2012 as one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World,” Dr. Freeman Hrabowski III, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, comes to Belmont next week as the keynote speaker for the 23rd annual Belmont Undergraduate Research Symposium (BURS) April 17-19. Each year BURS provides undergraduates an opportunity to conduct independent research and present it to a community of peers.
During BURS more than 200 student presenters from 27 different fields across campus will offer glimpses of their research in sessions scheduled to be held Wednesday and Thursday. Click here for a listing of all sessions by department. BURS will conclude on Friday with a 10 a.m. convocation address in MPAC by Hrabowski on “Creating a Culture of Discovery: The Excitement & Benefits of Undergraduate Research.”
Belmont Math Professor Dr. Glenn Acree chairs this year’s BURS. He said, “Belmont has a rich tradition of engaging students in research as a vital and energizing element of the undergraduate experience. BURS provides our campus an opportunity to celebrate the efforts and abilities of these students, impassioned by disciplines that provide them with tools and the expertise to explore our humanity and the world around us. I am delighted to have Dr. Freeman Hrabowski as this year’s keynote speaker as he challenges our community to ‘… explore the benefits and excitement of undergraduate research.’ I hope that our entire university will take this opportunity to experience the wealth of research talent our students will share during BURS 2013!”
Hrabowski’s research and publications focus on science and math education, with special emphasis on minority participation and performance. He spoke in February at TED2013 offering his thoughts on setting high expectations for all students. Hrabowski chaired the National Academies’ committee that produced the recent report, Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads, and he was recently named by President Obama to chair the newly created President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans. He serves as a consultant to the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the National Academies, and universities and school systems nationally.
With philanthropist Robert Meyerhoff, he co-founded the Meyerhoff Scholars Program in 1988. The program is open to all high-achieving students committed to pursuing advanced degrees and research careers in science and engineering, and advancing underrepresented minorities in these fields. The program is recognized as a national model, and based on program outcomes, Hrabowski has authored numerous articles and co-authored two books, Beating the Odds and Overcoming the Odds (Oxford University Press), focusing on parenting and high-achieving African American males and females in science. He and UMBC were recently featured on CBS’s 60 Minutes, attracting national attention for the campus’s achievements involving innovation and inclusive excellence.
A child-leader in the Civil Rights Movement, Hrabowski was prominently featured in Spike Lee’s 1997 documentary, Four Little Girls, on the racially motivated bombing in 1963 of Birmingham’s Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Born in 1950 in Birmingham, Alabama, Hrabowski graduated at 19 from Hampton Institute with highest honors in mathematics. At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he received his M.A. (mathematics) and four years later his Ph.D. (higher education administration/statistics) at age 24.