Belmont University’s Office of Advancement recently established the Clayton McWhorter Society, a giving society intended to further the work of Belmont’s health science programs. The new group, which held its inaugural membership lunch on May 2, is named in honor of long-time Belmont supporter Clayton McWhorter and will directly benefit the College of Health Sciences & Nursing, the College of Pharmacy and the new MBA for Healthcare Professionals.
Clayton McWhorter’s leadership and role in the development of healthcare industry giants HealthTrust, Inc. and HCA have made a strong impression in the field of healthcare. In 1996, Clayton, his son Stuart, and a close business friend created the venture capital firm Clayton Associates, which quickly evolved into a hub of strategic business development activities related to new firms in healthcare, technology and diversified services.
His relationship with the University began in the late ’80s through an invitation from Jack Massey “to get involved with Belmont,” and 25 years later, Clayton McWhorter continues his generous response to Massey’s challenge through his support of a variety of programs and initiatives.
Belmont Vice President for University Advancement Dr. Bo Thomas said, “While Clayton’s many achievements are based on sound business principles and bone-deep ethical standards, in the end it is his commitment to making a difference in the lives of others and giving back to the community that has sealed his enduring success and legacy. Belmont University counts itself fortunate to be among the many who have benefited from Clayton’s generous spirit and friendship. Through the McWhorter Society, Clayton is now challenging others to ‘to get involved with Belmont’ just as Jack Massey encouraged him to do years ago.”
Millennial writer, filmmaker and advocate David Burstein spoke to Belmont students, faculty and administrators about how current students in higher education are shaping society as well as how universities are lagging behind in catering to their needs during a Monday convocation lecture.
The term “millennial” is used to describe the more than 80 million people between ages 18 and 33, who grew up sheltered, pressured to achieve and technology savvy.
Millennials have been called entitled, narcissistic, “the worst employees in history,” “trophy kids” and even “the dumbest generation.” Burstein argues the Millennial Generation’s unique blend of civic idealism and savvy pragmatism, combined with their seamless ability to navigate the 21st century world, enables them to address the world’s long-term challenges.
His solution to the negative press surrounding the Millennial Generation is to promote positive generalizations. Some 49 percent of millennials consider themselves entrepreneurs or plan to start a business. Eighty-nine percent of millennials will switch brands based on how company values align with their morals, Burnstein said, which explains the increasing number of Fortune 500 companies with socially responsible business choices.
“It struck me that there is an importance of someone within this generation sharing the perspectives of this generation” Burnstein said. He traveled the country and conducted interviews with millennials for his newly released book, Fast Future: How the Millennial Generation is Shaping Our World, which examines how the Millennial Generation is impacting politics, business, technology and culture. “We’re not monolithic. We don’t all think the same things and act the same way, but we break things down into generations to see how things are changing in the way people behave.”
He also emphasized the Millennial Generation is the first to have lower salaries than its parents. Car and home ownership, marriage and birth rates are all down within this age group, Burnstein said, because millennials are focused on establishing love, partnerships and relationships within their communities.
“They are focused on living lives of purpose and meaning rather than living a life to exploit as much money as humanly possible,” he said.
Still universities are having a difficult time reaching their Millennial Generation students. For instance, many professors order students to power down laptops and cell phones and assume students are not listening if they are clicking away during class. Instead, Burnstein said professors should use the electronics to engage students through Twitter feeds projected on the wall during class and chat rooms to further the course discussion and draw questions from lectures. He also encouraged faculty to assign “unstructured projects that force (students) to interface with the real world.”
One of the oldest structures on campus is being renovated to become home base for Belmont’s 26,000 alumni. Construction began in December to turn the former Plant Operations facility into Belmont’s Alumni House, which should open by August.
“The significance of this building is as symbolic as it is physical as it has something that every generation of alumni can remember and can identify with,” said Vice President of University Advancement Bo Thomas. “We hope this first-ever space specifically created for alumni conveys a message to all alumni how important they are and how much we want to stay engaged and connected with them.”
Throughout the years, the building served as a faculty meeting space, theater and employee housing, according to University archives and first-hand accounts. It was the original home of the Communications Arts department in 1985, and the main foyer served as the first video studio with faculty offices upstairs.
It began as Ward-Belmont’s Clubhouse No. 10 during the early 20th century when 10 clubhouses lined campus in the former Club Village, which is now home to the Curb Event Center, Beaman Student Life Center and Gabhart Student Center. Each club house hosted Ward-Belmont social clubs for resident students and was used for meetings, meals for special occasions, teas and dances and housing visiting alumni. Membership of all Ward-Belmont students was required in the clubs, which competed in intramural athletic competitions, academically and for citizenship awards. (more…)
College of Law moves into stunning new home; Architectural design, commissioned statue reflect themes of justice
Following 22 months of excavation and construction, the new Randall and Sadie Baskin Center officially opened this morning in a ribbon cutting celebration attended by Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, Congressman Jim Cooper, members of the Belmont University campus and other special guests. Click here to view photos from this morning’s celebration.
The 75,000 square foot, three-story brick and limestone building sits atop a five-level underground garage and houses Belmont University’s College of Law, a program starting its second year of classes. Building namesakes Randall and Sadie Baskin were also in attendance to celebrate the building’s grand opening ceremony, which was followed by self-guided tours of the Center and a moot court event held in the structure’s Anne Lowry Russell Appellate Courtroom.
Belmont University President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “If environments inspire performance, then there’s no question that future Belmont College of Law graduates will represent the greatest legal minds of their generation. This building is beautiful. Even better, it unites classroom space with rooms that can provide hands-on legal experience. Belmont lawyers will not only know the law inside and out; they will also know how to represent their cases in real courtrooms.”
Randall Baskin, the owner of the Randall Baskin Co. and the founder/ former owner of Brentwood-based Continental Life Insurance Co., first served on Belmont University’s Board of Trustees in 1982. Known throughout Middle Tennessee for their significant philanthropy and generosity, Randall and his wife Sadie provided a $7 million leadership gift for the College of Law’s new home. The Baskins also endow a major scholarship fund at Belmont which currently supports seven students based on financial need, commitment to work and motivation to succeed. To date more than 100 students have benefited from the scholarship since it was established in 1983.
The Baskin Center’s copper-roofed dome features a skylight at the top, which appropriately represents the “eye of God” guiding human law, and the building offers four different porticos to represent the four types of law: local, state, federal and God’s. Inside, the Baskin Center contains more than a dozen classrooms, a 21st Century trial courtroom, an appellate courtroom, a two-story law library and more than 20 faculty offices.
Supporters establish Melinda Doolittle Endowed Scholarship
Belmont alumna Melinda Doolittle, a commercial voice major who graduated in 1999, returned to campus Wednesday to be interviewed by Director of Development and Major Gifts Harry Chapman as part of the ongoing series, “The Insider’s View.” Following her Belmont years, Doolittle launched her professional career as a backup singer and then experienced an incredibly successful run on the sixth season of TV juggernaut “American Idol,” where she ultimately placed in the top three.
“I loved singing background and being the support system for artists,” Doolittle said of her time working with a long list of talent that included BeBe and CeCe Winans, Michael McDonald, Kirk Franklin, Alabama and Jonny Lang. “I got to sing with so many different artists, and it really stretched me.”
Those opportunities and her Belmont education helped prepare her for her stint on “American Idol” where she developed as an artist in her own right. “I was finding my own voice on stage every single week… ‘American Idol’ is like boot camp for singers, and it teaches you how to accept criticism. You have to get tough skin to work in this business. ‘American Idol’ put that fire in me that I didn’t know that I had, fire to be the front person, fire to be an artist.”
Since her time on ‘Idol,’ Doolittle has released her debut CD, Coming Back to You (2009), to rave reviews as well as her first book, Beyond Me (2010), in addition to performing at events everywhere from the White House to the Musicians Hall of Fame to the Kennedy Center to Carnegie Hall. Her love of music and performing is eclipsed only by her love of giving back, as she dedicates much of her time to working with numerous charities, including the Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, Ronald McDonald House and Malaria No More.
In addition, Doolittle just announced that her supporters, Melinda’s Backups, have been raising money for several years to establish a scholarship fund at her alma mater to continue the singer’s legacy of giving back. Commercial music majors in the College of Visual and Performing Arts will be eligible for the Melinda Doolittle Endowed Scholarship.
Doolittle noted, “My main goal is to make sure my career is a marathon and not a sprint. I want to foster longevity and build my career to have a platform to make a difference.”
The singer concluded her session in the Massey Performing Arts Center with a few words of wisdom for the students in attendance: “You never know when the door to opportunity is going to open for you. The catch is whether or not you’re prepared for it when it does… My motto is dream big, pray hard and be prepared, and I challenge everyone to do that.”