Josh Turner, Belmont alumnus and double-platinum selling country music artist, returned to campus on Wednesday to speak to a packed auditorium of students, faculty and staff. With his most recent single released on iTunes and a new album coming out in Spring 2015, Turner spent his time discussing his hit “Long Black Train,” his family, his faith and his love for Belmont.
During his time at the University, Turner reflected on a walk he took from the Lila D. Bunch library to Hillside, his on-campus apartment at the time. During his walk, he was struck with the idea of a long train and the temptation to hop aboard. The inspiration turned into a night of writing, where he created three of the hit’s verses, as well as the chorus. The next day, he wrote the fourth and final verse. “Long Black Train” would become the song that landed Turner his first record deal.
Throughout his career, Turner said the song has changed lives and pulled people out of very bleak places. It is these stories that continue to remind him of his calling to write and sing country music. He said he feels “obligated to go out there and use the talent God has given me to change people’s lives for the better… The Lord gave me this song, he’s been using it and I think he’s going to continue to use it.”
The Jack C. Massey Foundation, which honors the legacy of one of the country’s greatest entrepreneurs and businessmen, announced today a new gift of $6.75 million to Belmont University. With this donation, the Massey Foundation provides the lead gift in a planned $10 million renovation of Belmont’s Massey Business Center as well as secures a new name for Belmont’s College of Business Administration, now to be known as the Jack C. Massey College of Business.
The late Jack C. Massey (1904-1990) and his family have collectively been among Belmont University’s biggest benefactors. The first person in history to take three unrelated companies to the New York Stock Exchange, Massey’s gifts helped Belmont establish its undergraduate and graduate business programs and built both the Massey Business Center and the Massey Performing Arts Center. In addition, Massey’s gifts have endowed Belmont’s Chair in Entrepreneurship, leading the program to be among the best in the nation, as well as the Massey Center for Financial Information, the first financial training lab in Tennessee when it opened in 2005.
Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “Belmont is blessed to have a number of strong supporters within the community and around the region, but without Jack C. Massey, this institution may not have survived its financial struggles in the 1970s. The recipient of Belmont’s first honorary doctorate, Mr. M, as he was called, and our late Chancellor Herbert C. Gabhart forged a friendship that quite literally changed the course of Belmont. We cannot say thank you enough for the generous and continued support of Barbara Massey Rogers, as well as the entire Massey family and the Massey Foundation, for all of their efforts which have made such a tremendous difference in the lives of thousands of students.”
Barbara Massey Rogers, daughter of Jack C. Massey and a long-time supporter of Belmont, added, “The Massey family, along with the Massey Foundation, is pleased to be a part of this celebration. It is exciting to know that the Jack C. Massey name will now be on all diplomas given to both the undergraduate and graduate students of the Jack C. Massey College of Business, which will bring greater recognition and accolades to the widening fame of Belmont and the Massey College. This is a very special event for our family and Belmont University.”
This morning Belmont University topped out its new $80 million Dining and Academic Complex by following in the long-held Scandinavian tradition of placing a tree on the roof of the building to celebrate the completed framing of the structure. The building is expected to open in summer 2015 and will be the home of the Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business as well as programs in media studies and a new major that launched last fall, motion pictures.
Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “The programs that will occupy this building demand state-of-the-art technology in order to educate students to compete in today’s marketplace, and this new facility will offer exceptional resources. Moreover, the new second-floor space for our primary dining option will serve our entire campus, giving our community greater options and faster service in a location that will also provide beautiful aesthetics.”
The 134,000-square-foot Dining and Academic Complex will sit on top of a 1,000+ -space parking garage, keeping the building’s footprint small while greatly enhancing parking options on campus. The second-floor dining hall will provide 1,000 seats; a capacity that triples the current campus cafeteria, and will offer an outdoor patio facing into campus. As part of its 21-year tenure as Belmont’s dining services provider, Sodexo is contributing to the construction of the Dining and Academic Center.
Belmont Vice President and Chief of Staff Susan West, who oversees the auxiliary services on campus, said, “Our campus community will benefit greatly from improved dining services in this facility. The research that we did in advance—through visits to other university dining facilities and focus groups with students, faculty and staff—provided thoughtful and helpful input which impacted every aspect of the new cafeteria’s design. I think our campus is going to truly love this new space.”
Classrooms and faculty/staff offices will comprise approximately 70 percent of the building. Academic program-centered features of the building include 30 student edit bays, multiple computer labs, a motion capture facility, a Foley/ADR sound studio, color correction studio, post-production audio mix studio, a video/broadcast studio, two video production control rooms, a 2,500 square foot sound stage and a scene shop. In addition, two state-of-the art screening theaters (seating 260 and 80) will also boast audio mixing technology.
Belmont is seeking LEED Gold certification for the new facility, which will utilize a geothermal HVAC system as well as feature a partial green roof. The geothermal system is projected to yield the University an estimated 40 percent in cost savings over a standard heating and cooling system. The Environmental Protection Agency recognizes it as the most environmentally-friendly heating and cooling system because it uses the earth itself as the source to transfer temperatures, reducing energy costs and pollution concerns. Instead of generating heat with standard conventional furnaces, in the geothermal system water is funneled 500-feet underground through pumps that use the earth’s constant temperature of 50 degrees to warm buildings in the winter and cool them in the summer.
Since 2000, Belmont has invested nearly a half billion dollars ($470 million) in construction projects to enhance campus life and serve a growing enrollment, including several residence halls, academic buildings, an athletic and student life center as well as its largest building to date, the Wedgewood Academic Center.
The Belmont University School of Music presented the 2014 Encore Award Thursday evening to actor/singer/songwriter Greg Walter during a concert in his honor. The Encore Award was created in 2008 to honor a Belmont University School of Music alumnus for achievement in the field of classical music. Walter graduated from the Belmont School of Music in 1987 as a Presser Scholar. While at Belmont, he studied classical voice under Associate Professor of Voice Marjorie Halbert.
Walter was an original cast member of Chicago’s company of “Forever Plaid” for which he received a Joseph Jefferson award in the best ensemble category. He was also nominated for a Jeff award, which celebrates excellence in Chicago theatre, for best actor in Frank McCourt’s The Irish and How They Got That Way, for which he also music directed. His voice can also be heard in commercial jingles for Michelob and Trac Auto. His songs have been recorded by various cabaret singers in Chicago, and his vocal arrangement of “Down in the River to Pray,” performed by the Chicago Chamber Choir, can be found on the disc recording At the River.
Walter is currently a professor at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts where he teaches voice and serves as musical director.
Previous Encore Award honorees include Clifton Forbis (2008), Daniel Weeks (2009), Drs. Daniel and Sharon Lawhon (2010), Maestra Teresa Cheung (2011), Dr. Alfredo Colman (2012) and Travis Cottrell (2013).
First inductees to be announced at McWhorter Society Luncheon May 1
With a mission to honor men and women who have made significant and lasting contributions to the healthcare industry, Belmont University announced today the formation of a new Tennessee Healthcare Hall of Fame. Sponsored by Belmont’s McWhorter Society, the Healthcare Hall of Fame will announce its first inductees at the McWhorter Society Annual Luncheon on May 1 on Belmont’s campus.
Belmont Provost Dr. Thomas Burns, co-chair of the McWhorter Society, said, “Tennessee has become a premier hub for healthcare and healthcare education in the United States. It’s only appropriate that we recognize and honor the countless men and women who have contributed to the growth of the industry, creating ever higher standards for patient care and well-being. With Belmont’s strong interdisciplinary programming in nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, social work, healthcare business and pharmacy, we’re proud to host this new Tennessee Healthcare Hall of Fame as these leaders can inspire our students for generations to come.”