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More Than 400 Students Graduate in Winter Commencement Ceremony

winter commencement 2013-258Belmont University held its winter 2013 commencement ceremony for graduate and undergraduate students at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13 in the Curb Event Center.

Belmont celebrated the graduation of a total of 421 students. During the graduation ceremony, 319 undergraduate and 102 master’s degrees were conferred.

Dr. Robert C. Fisher, president of the University, presided over the event. Dr. Ronnie Littlejohn, professor, director of Belmont’s Asian Studies program and chair of the Department of Philosophy, presented the commencement address. In May Littlejohn was named Belmont’s 2013-14 Chaney Distinguished Professor. The Chaney Distinguished Professor Award, determined on the basis of superior teaching, is presented each year to a faculty member who best represents the vision of the university to be a “premier teaching institution.”

Student Commencement Speaker Jennifer Rutter, who studied political science and Christian ethics, shared her thoughts on pursuing a higher education at a Christian university as well as on studying abroad and going on mission trips through Belmont.

“It has shaped my faith, my thought process, and my worldview in ways I could not have imagined,” Rutter said. “Belmont never forced me to choose either faith or works but instead provided me opportunities to do both faith and works. I got to hear world class speakers in Chapel. I also became part of an evening worship service on campus.”

Additional photos from Winter Commencement as well as a video of the ceremony can be found online.

Belmont Expands Fully-Funded Four-Year ‘Bridges’ Degree Program for Metro Students

‘Bridges to Belmont’ scholarship opportunities provide potential $10 million+ investment in educating Nashville students

Student Larry Sheffield shares what the Bridges program has meant to him this semester.

Student Larry Sheffield shares what the Bridges program has meant to him this semester.

With an application deadline set for Dec. 16, Belmont University announced today that it is expanding its Bridges to Belmont scholarship program from 26 Nashville students in the 2013-14 charter class to 30 current high school seniors for next fall’s freshman class. With the selection of the next 30 Bridges scholars, the program will provide the Davidson County students–many of whom are first generation college students—unprecedented opportunities for higher education and future careers.

Belmont University President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “At the heart of Belmont’s mission is our desire to provide a transformative education to our students in the hopes that they can then take their skills, passions and talents and make a difference in the world around them. I honestly can’t think of a better example of us living out that mission than what we are doing with the Bridges program. I’m thrilled to have these local students as part of the Belmont community.”

Launched in March 2013, Bridges to Belmont is a program designed to enroll high potential students from Metro Nashville Public Schools who may not have previously been able to consider Belmont as an option. As a participant in the “Bridges to Belmont” program, all of the students’ expenses—tuition, room, board, required fees and books—that are not covered by state or federal grant resources are provided via scholarships from Belmont for four consecutive academic years, translating to a potential investment by Belmont that could exceed $10 million in the first four years of the program. Fisher added, “I have been thrilled by the response of donors who have become enthusiastic givers to support these kids.”

Metro Nashville Public Schools' Director Dr. Jesse Register thanks Belmont President Bob Fisher for the Bridges program.

Metro Nashville Public Schools’ Director Dr. Jesse Register thanks Belmont President Bob Fisher for the Bridges program.

Enrollment eligibility for Bridges scholars then follows the standard satisfactory academic progress expectations of all students.

“The Bridges to Belmont program is a life-changing opportunity for our students,” said Metro Schools’ Director Dr. Jesse Register. “They know with hard work, they can achieve their dream of a college education. It is an investment in their future and the community, and we appreciate everyone at Belmont who has worked to develop and expand this program.”


First Year Seminar Brings Students Face-to-Face with Equine ‘Others’

through the eyes-107Despite the catchy, sing-along hook of the old TV theme song, a horse is not just a horse, of course. Rather, in the case of Dr. Judy Skeen’s First Year Seminar (FYS) on the topic “Cross Species Communications: Through the Eyes of Other Creatures,” horses are a gift to the education process, allowing Belmont freshmen a different way to interact with the campus-wide theme, Through the Eyes of Others.

Subtitled “Learning about being human by encountering horses,” the two sections of Skeen’s class allowed students the opportunity to visit the professor’s Franklin, Tenn.-ranch  where they interacted with four of her horses. As with all FYS courses, the primary goal is to increase students’ “recognition, appreciation and use of multiple ways of knowing.”

Skeen said, “Years ago I came across this quote from Mark Twain: ‘It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.’ It struck me as an important idea, especially for studying religion.  Now working with horses has expanded that to how we think about everything.  With so much information out there, we seem drawn to what we already think or know. Students in this class are encouraged to think about what they know, what they don’t know and what they think they know that might not be true.”


Belmont Hosts British Consul General for Marshall Scholarship Session

British Consulate-111-LBelmont’s Interdisciplinary Studies and Global Education hosted British Consul General Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford and distinguished members of his staff to speak at a statewide reception and information session for prospective Marshall Scholarship candidates in Massey Boardroom on Monday evening.

The Marshall Scholarship is one of the most prestigious scholarships in the world and provides funding for graduate study in the United Kingdom. Students from any discipline are eligible to apply, but they must have a minimum GPA of 3.7. As future leaders, with a lasting understanding of British society, Marshall Scholars strengthen the enduring relationship between the British and American people, their governments and their institutions. Their direct engagement with Britain through its best academic programs contributes to their ultimate personal success.

Dr. Mimi Barnard, assistant provost of interdisciplinary studies and global education, said, “In appointing scholars the selectors will look for candidates who have the potential to excel as scholars, as leaders and as contributors to improved U.K.-U.S. understanding. Assessment will be based on academic merit, leadership potential and ambassadorial potential. Our office was delighted to host the British Consul General Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford and his staff for the reception as well as several college and university representatives from across Tennessee.”


Kennedy Hall Raises More Than $2,500 for Childhood Cancer Patients

bald 1What does it mean to “Be Bold, Be Brave, Be Bald”? Just ask the residents of Kennedy Hall, a sophomore co-ed residence hall with 200 students, who last week raised more than $2,500 for Camp No Worries, through a “Be Bold, Be Brave, Be Bald” initiative. Camp No Worries is a week-long summer camp for pediatric cancer patients in New Jersey. In order to raise the money, 11 Kennedy residents pledged to shave their heads if a predetermined amount of money–the students’ goal was $2,000–was raised in the two weeks prior to the event on Oct. 10.

The Kennedy Hall staff chose to host the fundraiser to fulfill a programming requirement for University theme “Through the Eyes of Others.” Earlier in the year the staff decided that children’s cancer was a cause that mattered to each of them, and they wanted to do something to benefit these pediatric patients.

At the event last Thursday night, Belmont nursing students and cancer survivors Natalie Seale and Katherine Arnold each spoke about their own battles against the disease. Arnold said, “My experience with the nurses at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, many of them Belmont grads, definitely influenced my decision to become a nursing major and coming to Belmont. The whole community over there became like a second family.”


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