The charter circle of Belmont University’s new Omicron Delta Kappa honor society became a reality Monday as 55 students and two faculty members were officially inducted. Omicron Delta Kappa is a 100-year old national leadership honor society that has initiated more than 300,000 members since its founding.
Provost Dr. Thomas Burns initiated the chartering and was a member of OΔK as an undergrad at Dickinson College. “OΔK values the importance of integrity, academic achievement, leadership and service. There is such extraordinary consonance between those values and Belmont’s mission of “providing an academically challenging education that empowers men and women of diverse backgrounds to engage and transform the world with disciplined intelligence, compassion, courage and faith.” Essentially, bringing OΔK to campus allows us to celebrate our shared beliefs, recognize students who exemplify these qualities, and help provide them additional opportunities to expand their commitments to these values. Partnering our students with the OΔK organization helps connect Belmont students to a much larger international community allowing them new opportunities to shape their world.”
The Society recognizes not only academic achievement but also campus leadership across the five phases of campus life:
OΔK is committed to developing campus leaders who will become tomorrow’s community leaders. Founded at Washington and Lee University (Virginia) in 1914, OΔK currently has 299 active circles across the country, with Belmont being the most recent.
Through the introduction of student-run company EVAmore, Nashville’s music industry is encouraged to do ‘even more.’
Belmont juniors Channing Moreland and Makenzie Stokel have brought new talent, innovation and energy to Nashville’s music industry. Through their participation in the Entrepreneur Center and County Music Association’s Project Music, the nation’s first tech accelerator dedicated to music, the duo launched their company, EVAmore, at last week’s Start-up Showcase.
Moreland said she and Stokel were eager to learn more about Project Music for their initial concept, What’s Hubbin,’ an event discovery platform. After planning and producing a number of events together surrounding What’s Hubbin’s promotions, the team discovered the challenges many industry professionals find when tasked with booking talent for an event. Coupled with the pain point emerging artists feel when trying to break into the market, Moreland said she and Stokel knew they needed to “pull back the curtain and show that anyone can book a band for an event. Project Music provided the opportunity and ammunition to do so.” EVAmore was born to fill that gap, providing a smart technology platform for event planners to connect with and book artists while bringing quality up-and-coming artists to booking agents.
Belmont senior Tina Sharma was recently honored with the 2015 John Williams Heart of Belmont Award in recognition of her commitment to Belmont’s values including innovation, persistence, advocacy for change, community development and service. Sharma is a double major studying applied discrete mathematics and economics, and when she is not working on assignments, completing duties associated with her many leadership roles or working at her internship, Sharma said her time at Belmont has been “unconditionally poured into working as a community activist.”
Sharma’s resume does not fall short of impressive, with accomplishments including serving on the Youth Advisory Board for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and Bill Clinton Foundation, where her work of traveling across America as a student activist and teaching inner city students about making healthy choices was recognized by former President Bill Clinton. Sharma was also selected as a youth organizer for the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, where she completed research and wrote talking points for legislative bills to raise awareness about immigrant and other marginalized communities. She’s also held numerous internships including positions in Congressman Jim Cooper’s office as well as Mayor Karl Dean’s Office of Innovation.
Through these opportunities, Sharma’s hard work has not gone unnoticed. “Tina exercised her voice, her energy and her passions before arriving at Belmont, but over the last several years she has developed a confidence and clarity of vision that will bring not only personal success, but a path marked by enriching activity and genuine benefit to those who are fortunate to have her touch their lives,” said Professor Glenn Acree.
Students from the Massey College of Business struck again this past week, landing major awards at two different international competitions.
The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute Research Challenge is an annual global competition that provides university students with hands-on mentoring and intensive training in financial analysis. Students work in teams to research and analyze a publicly traded company — sometimes even meeting face-to-face with company management. Each team writes a research report on their assigned company with a buy, sell, or hold recommendation and may be asked to present and defend their analysis to a panel of industry professionals.
Belmont’s CFA team team consisted of senior finance major Cody Fincher, junior finance major Nate Newcomb, accelerated MBA student Gray Finney, and Professional MBA students William Gilmore and Lauren Vandermark. After winning the Nashville/East Tennessee regional competition last month, the team moved on last week to the Americas competition in Atlanta, which included 350+ teams from the U.S., Canada, Central and South America. Belmont’s team finished third overall among all Americas teams—their presentation on Ryman Hospitality can be seen here (fifth video down from the top of the page).
Dr. Joe Smolira, associate professor of finance and the team’s advisor, said, “The students on the team did a fantastic job, progressing farther in the competition than any Tennessee team has ever gone. Finishing in the Top 5 out of more than 350 universities in the Western Hemisphere is phenomenal. Beating Rutgers head-to-head in the semifinals shows the analytic and presentation skills these students have as most of the Rutgers team will probably be working on Wall Street next year.”
Meanwhile, 21 of Belmont’s 23 student representatives placed in the top 10 in their respective events at the DECA International Career Development Conference held this week in Orlando. DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe.
Collegiate DECA’s Competitive Events Program allows students to put their experience, skills and knowledge to the test while representing their college or university. Students compete for top international honors in one of 24 different competitions. Collegiate DECA competitive events recognize student achievement, provide opportunities for traveling to conferences and networking with peers. The Collegiate DECA Competitive Events Program is recognized for helping to prepare students for their professional careers–in all events students are judged by business and industry professionals.
“This was a particularly good year for Belmont’s DECA team,” said Professor of Entrepreneurship Dr. Jeff Cornwall, who advises the team along with Assistant Professor of Marketing Dr. Lora Harding and Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship Dr. Mark Schenkel. “The student leaders stepped up and became much more involved. The students who went to nationals clearly were there to work hard and learn. All three faculty advisors were excited to support such a great group of students.”
Competing against teams from colleges and universities across the country, Belmont’s Enactus team made a statement last night, coming in fourth at a national competition. With 533 teams consisting of more than 16,800 students in the United States, Enactus USA held its National Exposition and competition this week in St. Louis, Missouri, where the Belmont team stood toe-to-toe and came our victorious against much larger institutions, including the University of Oklahoma, University of Florida Gainesville and last year’s national champion, Texas State University.
Dr. John Gonas, associate professor of finance and Sam M. Walton Enactus Fellow, said, “I couldn’t be more proud of the Belmont Enactus students. They are consistently recognized and honored for their tireless commitment to serving our community by creating complex business models tied to social change. Working alongside incredibly committed faculty members Cate Loes, Jason Stahl and Nathan Adam, our students are examples to Enactus teams in the U.S. and world of how to conceive, develop and sustain social enterprises that are truly changing lives in our immediate and global community.”
Enactus is an international non-profit organization that brings together student, academic and business leaders who are committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need. Guided by academic advisors and business experts, the student leaders of Enactus create and implement community empowerment projects around the globe. After three days of intense presentations, Belmont Enactus made it to the final four of the national competition, ultimately placing fourth behind John Brown University, La Sierra University and national champion Brigham Young University-Hawaii.
Maggie Fincher, an entrepreneurship major from Lawrenceburg, Tennessee who also serves as Belmont Enactus Vice President, summed the group’s mission up well during the team’s presentation Thursday: “Through entrepreneurial action we’re empowering our community while keeping our focus on our passion for serving people.”