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Belmont University ‘Tops Out’ New Dining, Academic Complex

academic and dining topping out-109-LThis 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 house three University programs: music business, 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.


Belmont Announces Formation of Tennessee Healthcare Hall of Fame

First inductees to be announced at McWhorter Society Luncheon May 1

McWhorter HallWith 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.”


McWhorter Giving Society Established to Support Health Sciences

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 (left) and Dr. Richard Treadway (right) presented the first McWhorter Society Distinguished Service Award to Barbara Massey Rogers (center) at the close of the May 2 luncheon.

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 Author Highlights Generation’s Societal Contributions

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.”

Historic Building to Link Alumni

An artist rendering of the future alumni house.

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…)

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