Belmont University Parents

From the Dean of Students Office | May

Dr. Andrew Johnston addresses graduating seniors each year during the Life Beyond the Tower Ceremony.  

I’m honored to stand here with you tonight at the conclusion of exams when there are no more hurdles left between you and your graduation weekend. For many years I've stood on this spot on the eve that classes begin each Fall, facing a sea of new freshman and called them to reflect on the beginning of their Life Under the Tower. Tonight, I’m privileged to stand with you and celebrate the conclusion of yours and to anticipate your new life beyond it.

I love this moment in the school year, or more precisely, I love the moment just after it, the moment after everyone has left for the summer. There is this magic moment after the last classroom closes and the last car pulls away, when the campus is quiet. I mean really quiet. The campus is never quiet…

In that stillness, I always realize the passage of time, I get a sense of context, a sense of place in the grand scheme of things that I miss in the din and disruption of the school year.

That’s what tonight is really all about—providing Context. And creating a moment however, brief that allows you to reflect on where you are and where you’ve been.

In one sense, this seems kind of a silly endeavor, a ceremony to simply take stock of where you are. But you know better than anyone that the busyness of college life and the whirlwind of these last weeks has an odd way of consuming you and leaving you completely engaged with everything you’re doing and yet completely disconnected from what you’re actually accomplishing. What’s actually happening. You get so focused on the immediate demands and noisy things around you that you can lose track of the bigger picture. One minute you find yourself hurrying to a convo or rushing to complete a project on time and the next you’re wearing funny clothes, singing the alma mater, and standing in line for a precious piece of paper.

It’s like reading a great book but focusing on a sentence or two in front of you and losing track of the story.

For this reason, a ceremony like this is important. It stops the world for just a second and allows you to put the moment in its place. It draws your attention back to the grand story of your life in progress.

We know you arrived here with your story already in progress. Its not like you were born here on campus, but then again, for some of you it might feel like you have been reborn here. Think back to the time you first felt like you were here, I mean really here, a part of Belmont, like the next chapters of your own story would be forever woven together with those of this place. For many of you, that moment might have been standing here in this same spot as a freshman, for others of you it may involve another setting or other characters. Can you remember it? Flip back through the pages of your story and picture that scene…

The chapters since that time, the Life Under the Tower chapters, have been big chapters in your story. A lot happened in them and they’ve set the direction for the chapters to come. Let me lead you to reflect on them a moment.

Think for a moment of the characters that were introduced. New friends, people that powerfully shaped the plot or foils that fostered your own character development, relationships you never anticipated but now can’t imagine yourself without. Let some of their faces fill your thoughts now…

And like any really good story, there were conflicts in these recent chapters, things you might not have penned were you the author, but were undeniably essential parts of it all, plot twists that moved you, or refined your character, or changed the direction of it all…

There were also victories and favorite moments. Those pages of your story that are well-worn in your memory because you return to them again and again. They’re the times your story seemed to hit its stride, a conflict came to resolution, an aspiration was achieved. They’re the times you felt like this story, your story, might just be something great…

Tonight as we stand here together in the final pages of this chapter and celebrate your story in progress, I want to remind you that Belmont’s is also a story in progress, and that Life Under the Tower is really a magical amalgam of many stories. Here in this place for a time, all our stories, your story, my story, indeed the stories of all those that have gone before us and those who will come after us, become one story, become OUR story, become Belmont’s Story.

I’m convinced that images are the hooks on which we hang ideas, and so I want to offer you an image that’s vivid enough to capture this concept. It’s the same image we’ve offer Freshman on the eve of their first class, and the one we hope you will carry with you as you step into the next chapters of your story. The Belmont Tower.

If all these stories I’ve been talking about—your story, my story, the faculty’s stories, the stories of those that preceded us and those that will follow-- were pages stacked one on top of another up through the ages and across the generations, the Tower is a pin through the center of them all—fixing them here in this place across all time.

For that reason, it is our reference point, our symbol, our rallying point, —it alone seems immovable in the midst of change, it stands out above everything on campus and anchors this place. It is the axis around which our worlds have rotated for the past season of our lives.

It has stood here for a century and a half, 148 years to be exact, but it seems to reach even farther back through the pages of history and countless other stories because it was modeled after the Lighthouse at Alexandria, the 6th Wonder of the Ancient World, the tallest structure on the planet in its day and the symbol of life, and safety and hope to sailors off the coast of Egypt 290 years before the birth of Christ.

This incarnation of the lighthouse was built for $16,000 in 1856 as a water tower to provide irrigation to the gardens and running water in the mansion at the top of the hill. In this way, literally and figuratively it has been an inspiration for growth and provided sustenance for everything at its feet from the start. During the Civil War it became a vital lookout and signal tower for the union army as Federal troops occupied the campus and fought the battle of Nashville. And eventually it became the centerpiece and symbol of the educational institutions that emerged on this site.

As the landscape of the grounds at Belmont and the cityscape of Nashville itself changed over the passage of the seasons, the ravages of war, and the influence of generations that came and went, the tower remained largely unchanged. Except for some cosmetic adjustments-- the temporary addition of a windmill on the top, the creation of the chapel at its base, and the installation of a carillon in its belfry, the tower remains today largely as it was created one and a half centuries ago.

Tonight, as we gather here at its foot, at this important moment in your story and the university’s, I want to ask you to do something.

I want you to put your hand on the Tower and reflect for just a moment on the many stories that have revolved around it over the years. As you prepare to turn the page into the next chapter of your own story I want  you to appreciate how you are part of so many others.

I want you to feel the roughness of the brick and think for just a moment of the many days gone before.  I want you to realize for just this moment as you are transported back— that these are the bricks that were laid by craftsmen in the middle of the 19th century. The brick you are touching, like each of the other 247,951 in the tower was gripped individually by a mason and placed just so to last for all time. These are the same bricks that a weary private in the union army leaned his head against as he came off a long night on watch duty… These are the bricks that shaded Mark Cockrell (a pivotal figure in 19th century Nashville) as he proposed to Joseph Acklen’s cousin soon after the war… and these are the bricks that have witnessed countless other proposals, weddings, graduations and other significant moments of students’ lives for the past hundred years…

I want you to realize that now figuratively and literally your story is forever joined to theirs. Across all time we now share the Life Under the Tower chapters of our stories with one another and this place.

I want you to take the time to do this—I want you to place your hand on the tower and pause as this chapter closes, because now you get “the context”… because you know this is a moment to be recognized…  because years from now some future Bruin will put his hand where yours is now or her hand where yours is now. He will feel the same bricks and think back across the years, and to her at that moment, you and your story will be simultaneously ancient history and immediately present.

I always found it ironic that we call the ceremony that marks the conclusion of your time in college “Commencement” until I paused to think about what it really means. I always thought of it more as an “Ending” as the college portion of your came to a close, but I realize now that it is much more of a grand “Beginning” as you turn the page and the rest of your story begins to unfold.  If your time at Belmont has helped define and refine who you are and sharpened your sense of purpose in the world, then its greatest value is yet to be revealed in the season ahead. Your experiences and labor here are preparatory and the real test and triumph for you lies ahead in how you will actually roll up your sleeves and “engage and transform the world with disciplined intelligence courage compassion and faith.” It’s that opportunity that is about to commence; it’s those next chapters of your story that we celebrate and anticipate with all our pomp and circumstance this weekend.

With that in mind, we have two things to offer you this evening—first a gift and second an opportunity.

Firstly, Now that we’ve drawn your attention again to the tower and elevated it as the fitting bookends of your Belmont experience. We want to offer you a talisman to take with you that will allow you to recall the meaning and memories of your life under the tower every time you look at it. We’ve commissioned a small statuette to give each of you. It was designed by one of your fellow seniors and December graduate, Art Major, Kristen Beck (KB to her friends) and refined by John Watson, Assistant professor of sculpture. It was cast by Michael Medina at MetalArts USA foundry in Hollywood. (Very Belmont—Michael is a metal artist that’s worked for many celebrities, VIPs and awards-- made sterling silver shoes for Michael Jackson to wear in Elizabeth Taylor’s wedding…) Tonight we’d like you to present you with one of these statuettes. We’re starting a new tradition.  Over time, we hope that it becomes a meaningful tradition and talisman to Belmont graduates.  I encourage you to send us a picture of it somewhere in your life beyond the tower so that we can share them with others here on campus.

Secondly, we are going to give you the precious opportunity for the reflection I spoke of earlier. I’d like to invite you after picking up your own model of the tower to come down here and put your hand on the real tower and reflect. To be alone with your own thoughts and together with one another as you close this chapter and open the next. One of the Seniors on the Life Beyond the Tower planning team will offer you instructions in a moment….

On behalf of all of us that have had the privilege of sharing the Life under the Tower portion of your story with you, I wish you every good thing and God’s blessing as you turn the page and step boldly into Life Beyond the Tower.

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From The Dean of Students Office | April

After what I presume was a life-changing experience at her elementary school health fair, a friend’s daughter recently told me “you are what you eat”. I gave her that tight-lipped smile grown-ups give other people’s children because poking them in the eye is unseemly and potentially actionable. At the time, my mouth was full and I had a Coke in one hand and a half-eaten sleeve of Girl Scout cookies in the other, so poking her in the eye would have been awkward anyway. Based on her premise, I figure I’m about two-thirds black coffee and leftover baked goods (my wife is a baking instructor) and after watching him closely over Easter Break, I’d swear my son is almost entirely off-brand breakfast cereal! Nevertheless, her assertion got me thinking and reminded me of someone else’s-- Aristotle had a slightly different perspective when he said, “You are what you repeatedly do…”  (Clearly he missed his school’s health fair…)

Who you really are can be surprisingly hard to hold on to in the speedy and slippery passage of Life Under the Tower.  College, especially at this time of year, is a consuming rush, and has a way of confining your perspective to the moment at hand. It can sweep you up in the flow of finishing everything and you can find yourself just reacting rather than reflecting or redirecting yourself. If Aristotle was right, this can make it tough to determine, let alone develop who you really are. You can lose yourself living as if “you are what you experience”. If that were the whole truth, it would be pretty discouraging. Circumstances matter for sure, but if we were only the product of our situations, we’d be a pretty fickle and unreliable bunch. No one could count on us or what we stand for because it would always depend on the situation we found ourselves in at the moment; if the situation changed, so would we.  We’d be victims to whatever new pressures and priorities came our way and our character would be perpetually held hostage by our condition.  Come to think of it, that sounds frighteningly like what I see some days in contemporary culture or when I tune in to keep up with the Kardashians. When people live like their circumstances define them, they lose themselves and their way pretty quickly.

Personally, I’ve discovered you can lose your way not only if you believe your circumstances define you, but also if you aren’t honest with yourself when you’re simply living as if they do. When this happens, you have ideas about who you should be and you think of yourself as holding certain convictions: You believe you’re “the Kind of Woman Who Would Do Such-and-Such”, or “the Kind of Man Who Would Never Do Such-and-Such”-- but you never really find yourself acting like it. Instead, your circumstances keep getting in the way. There always seems to be some peculiar characteristic-of-the-moment, some extenuating circumstance that makes it temporarily impossible for you to act the way you believe you should. Sometimes this is true, but the problem is, you can find yourself in this situation over and over until it’s not such a temporary condition after all and what seems only an unusual exception in each moment turns out to be far too “usual” over time.

The hard truth is: You can only make exceptions so many times or for so long before you have to admit that they’re not actually exceptions any more; they're just the way you are. When you string enough of them together in a row it’s hard to say that they’re just unfortunate or unavoidable aberrations and don't actually represent the realest you. If Aristotle was right and your behavior doesn't consistently look like that of the man or the woman you want to be, then you’re fooling yourself to believe that that’s the man or woman you really are.

In the next month, whether it's the last one of the year or the last of your college career, take an honest look at what you repeatedly do. This, more than your lofty aspirations and laudable ideas (or diet, for that matter!) may be the truest test of who you are.

Dr. Andrew Johnston, Associate Provost and Dean of Students

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From the Dean of Students Office

Spring Break Catch Up to Students

I don’t know what you did last week, but I’ve heard enough stories of sunny places and ski slopes, adventures in other countries, and relaxation at home to make me good and jealous. I’m glad many of you had such eventful Spring Breaks. I’ve heard from others of you who didn't have “adventures” per se, but used the break to simply catch up on other things like sleep, homework, jobs, and relationships. I can relate better to that. I didn't jet off to an exotic locale (unless you call the Beaman Center “exotic”); I just barricaded myself in my office and dove into the things that had buried my desk. Whether your Spring Break was glamorous or not, at least it was exactly that, a break-- a much-needed pause in the rush and routine of the spring semester.

Every year, this pause is a mile marker in life under the tower that signals a shift in the perspective of those living it. Before Spring Break, for better or worse, we feel like we have plenty of time; the semester is still gearing up, getting going. We feel like there’s a lot going on, but there’s also plenty of time to get it all done. After Spring Break, it feels like time suddenly got short; we’ve got even more going on, but we realize it’s going to be hard to finish before the end. In the space of one little week, our perspective goes from ramping-up-to-hit-our-stride to hurrying-up-to-beat-the-clock. Freshmen, who are barely over feeling new, find themselves blinking at the realization that their first year is almost over. Seniors, who already thought things were moving a little too fast this winter, are shocked at how much larger commencement and life beyond the tower can loom now that spring has officially sprung.

For such a short space on the calendar, Spring Break makes a big difference in our attitude, and make no mistake, attitude matters. Your emotional posture shapes a lot of your experience. When you’re excited or hopeful, you’re stronger and more resilient. You dream more and give yourself more fully to your experience. But when you’re anxious or overwhelmed, you’re weaker, more fragile, and you find yourself managing life more than really living it. We’ve all experienced the difference. Here’s some advice to make the most and get the most out of the last two months of the school year: remember why you’re here.

With the change of perspective Spring Break brings, it’s natural to tune-in more fully to what you have to do, and that’s not a bad thing. (Setting your eye harder on the prize as the finish line comes into view is good strategy…) But it’s important to tune in more fully to why you have to do it too. If the rush of the year’s end leads you to let the What eclipse the Why, it’s hard to finish strong. After Spring Break, the weight of responsibility naturally rises, and you can’t afford to let the sense of opportunity that sustained you before Spring Break disappear.  You need that sense of purpose and possibility to be strong when it counts. I put it this way to the leaders I work with: People don’t burn out from too much to do, but from too little reason to do it.

In the next couple months of your life under the tower, when your To Do List looks long and your time looks short, the key to not only making it, but making the most of it lies in this principle. You’re at your best and can accomplish amazing things when you don't let the What eclipse the Why.

Dr. Andrew Johnston

Dean of Students

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Message from the Dean of Student Office

The Belmont community celebrated Homecoming earlier this month and it has me feeling nostalgic and looking at life on campus through the eyes of past Bruins. They’re amazed at the growth of the university’s population, they’re excited about the emergence of new programs and activities, and they wonder at the physical changes of the campus.

Belmont is definitely on the move, and your sons’ and daughters’ years here are sure to be some of the most dynamic in the university’s history. (We opened our newest residence facility, Horrell Hall, in January, construction continues on the amazing Wedgewood Academic Complex (opening in Fall 2014) and we’ve just announced planning for a new cafeteria building with additional offices, etc.) With  this in mind, we think it’s important to give our community a sense of context and perspective even as we celebrate our advancement and experience some of the inconveniences that accompany it. In the February issue of Life Under the Tower (our monthly online Newsletter to students from the Dean of Student’s Office) I offered some observations on Change and the shifting campus landscape. I thought I’d share it with you as well.

A Different Point of View

During Homecoming last week I enjoyed connecting with former students that I hadn’t seen in a long time, and they all had stories to tell. They told me about recent adventures and new jobs; they introduced me to new “significant others”, or even new children! I was amazed at how much had happened in their lives in the short time since I’d last visited with them. Good things and bad things, opportunities and challenges, happy moments and sad situations— it was clear that Life Beyond the Tower runs full and fast too. In these take-stock moments of our Homecoming visits, several of these friends mentioned that it didn't really feel like life was moving so fast while they were busy living it, but when they stopped to get their bearings or share it with a friend, they were surprised to see how far they’d come or how much they had experienced. I could relate to that.

It seems like there is something about Change when we’re experiencing it that blinds us to the magnitude of it. Sometimes that’s a good thing—like when we’re in the midst of something really hard, it allows us to focus our energy and emotion and rise to the challenge at hand instead of being discouraged by the scale or scope of the whole thing. It keeps us from being crippled by the recognition that we might’ve bitten off more than we can chew, and it allows us to do some pretty spectacular things over time. Sometimes it's a bad thing—like when we get preoccupied with the messiness that always accompanies change and the chaos around us distracts us from any sense of progress. It gives us “tunnel vision” and we lose our perspective of the bigger picture, and find ourselves mired in the moment too much to feel the thrill of motion or the joy of bigger things.

In our conversations, former Bruins marveled at how Life Under the Tower had changed since the days when they lived it. They remarked on the new programs, larger student body, higher energy, and exciting “vibe”, but mostly they gaped at the new campus. As you know, we’ve been working hard to develop the university’s physical resources and this has made a very big difference in the campus landscape in a very short time. Students from only a few years ago find themselves surprisingly disoriented on campus and wandering through new buildings that seem to have sprouted overnight. (Check out the Wedgewood Academic Center currently “sprouting” on the front of campus here: , or a 3D “flyby” here: )

In these conversations, I realized I’ve lost some of my wonder. We’ve been hip-deep in constructing things for so long that I forget what a big deal expansion and new buildings are. I start thinking its just normal to perpetually have an enormous hole or multiple cranes on campus somewhere, or to be breaking-ground, topping-out, and ribbon-cutting for something every few months. That’s a shame, because this kind of physical expansion is definitely not normal. I know of no campus as “on-the-move” or as assertive in expanding its resources to support its rising population and engagement. Sure, the inconvenience that comes with it—the chain link fencing, the early morning concrete pours, the blasting, etc.— can be bothersome, but the results are downright amazing. I seem to forget this or fail to appreciate it in the dailyness of it all, but it was written all over the faces of returning Bruins at Homecoming.

This is an especially important season in the university’s history. When we recall it, it will be when Belmont stepped into its highest aspirations and expanded its capacity to dream even bigger. The buildings we’re building are more than stacks bricks and mortar; they are the pillars on which Belmont’s future rests and the perches from which you’ll leap into your own. They look beautiful and support us functionally, and that’s admirable, but the less tangible things they bring to Life Under the Tower are even more important: a new capacity for learning as current programs gain state-of-the-art classrooms, laboratories, and performance venues, and new colleges (like Law and Pharmacy) find homes on campus; an increasingly vibrant campus life as spaces for recreation and athletics are defined, and top-tier performance spaces attract everything from World-Renowned Artists and Noble Laureates to Country Music Award shows and Presidential Debates; new opportunities to define and refine yourself in relationships as Campus Housing expands dramatically, and new casual food service, hangout spaces and a new cafeteria emerge… all this PLUS additional parking! What a deal!

If you’re like me, you can easily lose perspective in the midst of change, and every now and then its worth a wake-up call from someone outside your experience. That’s what I got last weekend at Homecoming. This week, I’m still a little annoyed to find the road closed for a concrete pour and fatigued to compete for a parking place. I’m still trying to shoehorn student activities, organizational meetings, and intramural games into strained schedules and spaces. I’m still eager to share a cup of coffee and conversation with some of you in our own coffeehouse or have lunch together in a new cafeteria. But I also have a little different perspective-- a little more patience and appreciation for the fact that while Life Under the Tower is full and growing at Belmont, new opportunities and capacity are always under construction.

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GPS – More than Finding Direction!

The goal of the GPS Program (Growth and Purpose for Students) at Belmont is to help your student, and you, through the new challenges faced by second-semester and second-year students.  We know that once the initial orientation period is completed, those first classes are underway and the first set of final exams looms on the horizon, students may enter into a significant period of questioning.

In response to the needs of these students, Belmont developed the GPS program to help students find direction and establish the best route to achieve their goals.  Although our focus is on the sophomore year we know many students are working through plans and questions during the second-semester of the freshman year.  This is the first time they are truly “on their own” and exploring some tough issues.   Many times students need assistance in navigating those experiences – we are here to help!

Whether your student is beginning to ask “what if” questions or ready to make a plan to best utilize the resources that Belmont has to offer during the full college experience, this begins a time of discernment. While some students remain confident about their original choice of academic major, others may question that decision.  They might be considering adding a minor or thinking about the possibilities of study away from campus (study abroad, Belmont East/West, etc.). If they want to make changes in direction, this is an ideal time to consider and make those decisions. In these decisions and more, the GPS office is ready and available to listen, guide, and coach students.

The foundation of the GPS program is in coaching sessions. During these sessions, GPS coaches take students through a series of directed activities designed to help them more fully connect their own skills and passions to meet the world’s needs.  We believe every student will benefit from an individualized and focused self-exploration process to help them think about their strengths and passions, as well as the needs of their community, nation, and world. In addition to one-on-one coaching sessions, the GPS program also sponsors and hosts a wide variety of events and educational opportunities geared towards second-year students.

Although the GPS program is only in its second year, we are gaining momentum daily by building on successes of the first year. We have already met with a large number of students looking for guidance and affirmation, and work on many events around campus. Recently, the GPS program was also featured in the newsletter of the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), a major national higher education organization (See AAC&U article). We are excited to see how this program can be amongst the first of its kind in our quest to assist your student!

We hope that you encourage your student to seek the GPS office when they are looking for guidance and advice. If you want more information, feel free to contact me or check out the GPS program page (

Thank you,


Dr. David M. Sneed

Director of the Sophomore Year Experience & GPS Program

(615) 460-5701

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Parent FYI 4.13.12

From the Office of New Student & Parent ProgramsDear Belmont Parent,

April is truly a “Best of the Best” month for the Belmont community.  In April the Belmont community experiences many different events that celebrate accomplishments of the community.

  • The Best of the Best Music showcase produced by students in the Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business brings together the winners from this year’s showcase series.
  • The Cheney Faculty and Presidential award nominees and winners are announced and named for their amazing service to Belmont students.
  • The Division of Student Affairs honors its student leaders and recognizes students who have impacted the community through co-curricular involvement.
  • Student Government hosts an appreciation event for all of the University clubs and organizations.
  • Academic Awards Day honors students who have excelled in their fields of study.
  • Graduating seniors gather around the Bell Tower to celebrate their “Life Under the Tower” and their transition to alumni status.

Throughout our community small and large groups celebrate and encourage each other for successfully completing another academic year.  These moments are some of my “best of the best” memories each year as our community reflects on amazing accomplishments and service to Belmont.  Our community continues to grow and thrive because of the individuals who make our best moments happen.  As your student prepares to end the academic year, ask them about their best moments at Belmont.  I’m sure you’ll be delighted by their answers and Belmont experience.

In Him,

Ben Lion, M.Ed.

Director of New Student & Parent Programs

Important End of Term Information

Find important calendar events and information at online at the Academic Calendar.
April 16-20 - On-campus housing draw and selection
April 18 - Scholarship and Awards Day Convocation, 10 a.m.
April 24 - Last day of classes
April 25 - Academic Preparation Day (no classes)
April 26-May 1 - Final Exams
May 4 - Baccalaureate, 2:30 p.m.
May 4 - Final Grades due, 4 p.m.
May 5 - Commencement Ceremonies

Ceremony #1, Curb Event Center, The Colleges of:
Business Administration, Entertainment and Music Business, Health
Sciences and Nursing, School of Religion - 8:00am Breakfast Reception;
9:00am. Student line-up; 10:00am. Ceremony Begins

Ceremony #2, Curb Event Center- The Colleges of:  Art
and Sciences, Visual and Performing Arts, Interdisciplinary Studies and
University College - 1:00pm  Student line-up; 2:00pm. Ceremony Begins;
Reception Following

May 5 - Campus housing closed, 6 p.m.
August 22 - Fall Semester 2012 begins

From the Dean of Students Office
Dear Parents: Every three weeks, the Division of Student Affairs publishes a communication to students called Life Under the Tower.  The primary feature of this communication is commentary from the Associate Provost and Dean of Students, Dr. Andrew Johnston.  Dr. Johnston uses this space to comment on relevant issues, campus happenings and generally what life at Belmont is feeling like for students in particular and the campus in general.  As the close of the academic year is looming, I thought you’d enjoy seeing Dr. Johnston’s thoughts on the close of another year.

I can imagine you too are preparing for what’s next for your son or daughter.  For some, that’s a return to your home.  For others, it may mean summer travels, internships or jobs that take them away from home.  Either way, I know you gearing up for another period of transition as summer arrives. I hope that no matter what it may hold it store for your family, that it includes some time together.

Dr. Becky Spurlock
Associate Dean of Students

From the Dean of Students Office....

It’s officially the beginning of the end… I meant that in a good way, but it sounds a little ominous. With everything we’re trying to pack into the last few weeks of the school year, you can take it as you will…. Life Under the Tower is headed into the final stretch, and for most of us it doesn’t go quietly. No slow fade for this place; it’s simply too much for that; it’s built up a lot of momentum and it likes to finish big.
My conversations with many of you suggest you feel the momentum too. Sometimes you wonder how on earth everything is going to get done in the short time left. Some of you have been anticipating exams and psyching yourself up for the challenges they’ll present. Most of you sound like your attention is focused closer to the moment because the week before exams promises to be even tougher. You’re gearing up for a barrage of final papers, presentations and other big assignments that signal the end of the semester and the last opportunity to make or maintain your grades. In addition, there are end-of-the-year banquets, concerts, and campus events to attend, summer plans to make, and beautiful weather to tempt you into ditching everything on your To Do List for a Frisbee, friends and a beach towel. Suffice it to say, Life Under the Tower is still in high gear.
I hope you’re successful in your academic preparation and fully enjoy the fun of these last weeks. Click here to continue reading...

Belmont University Presents 'Best of the Best' Showcase Honoring Mike Curb

On Saturday, April 14, at 7 p.m. Belmont University’s Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business (CEMB) will present its annual Best of the Best Showcase.  The show will honor the college’s benefactor and namesake Mike Curb, 2012 recipient of the Robert E. Mulloy Award of Excellence, an annual award given to an individual who has achieved a level of excellence in the music business and entertainment industries with notable service to Belmont University and the Nashville community.

College of Business Administration Maintains Prestigious AACSB Accreditation

The College of Business Administration at Belmont University is proud to announce maintenance of business and specialized accounting accreditation by AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Founded in 1916, AACSB International is the longest serving global accrediting body for business schools that offer bachelors, masters and doctorate degrees in business and accounting.

Spring Back Recycling, SIFE Students Celebrate Milestone

 Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall joined students and faculty from Belmont University’s Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team and staff from Belmont Church Wednesday to celebrate the latest milestone of one-year-old business, Spring Back Recycling, which recently surpassed 5,000 recycled mattresses.

College Parent 101 Website

If you have attended new student orientation in June then you’ve had the chance to hear form Dane Anthony, adjunct faculty in the School of Religion, speak on the transitions families face when they have a student starting college.  Year after year the College Parent 101 session continues to receive amazing positive feedback and is our most popular parent session.

The College Parent 101 web site is a new resource designed specifically to address transition issues for parents of new college students. You will find tips for successful parenting, access to helpful resources, regular blog postings, and a brand new DVD of Dane Anthony's College Parent 101 session (including a number of resources not available anywhere else).  Check it out:

BELMONT UNIVERSITY | STUDENT AFFAIRSOffice of New Student & Parent Programs1900 Belmont Blvd Nashville, TN 37212

Phone: 615.460.6407

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Dean of Students Message 4.13.12

It’s officially the beginning of the end… I meant that in a good way, but it sounds a little ominous. With everything we’re trying to pack into the last few weeks of the school year, you can take it as you will…. Life Under the Tower is headed into the final stretch, and for most of us it doesn’t go quietly. No slow fade for this place; it’s simply too much for that; it’s built up a lot of momentum and it likes to finish big.

My conversations with many of you suggest you feel the momentum too. Sometimes you wonder how on earth everything is going to get done in the short time left. Some of you have been anticipating exams and psyching yourself up for the challenges they’ll present. Most of you sound like your attention is focused closer to the moment because the week before exams promises to be even tougher. You’re gearing up for a barrage of final papers, presentations and other big assignments that signal the end of the semester and the last opportunity to make or maintain your grades. In addition, there are end-of-the-year banquets, concerts, and campus events to attend, summer plans to make, and beautiful weather to tempt you into ditching everything on your To Do List for a Frisbee, friends and a beach towel. Suffice it to say, Life Under the Tower is still in high gear.

I hope you’re successful in your academic preparation and fully enjoy the fun of these last weeks. In the midst of it all, I hope you have opportunity appreciate the moment. If you’re a freshman, you might notice that you’re about to give up the title of New Bruin. The end of your first year is on the horizon, and sometimes it’s hard to believe. If you pause for a moment, you can still remember when you wondered what college would be like or if you’d make it to this point. Well, you have, and you’re not a rookie any more. Congrats, as this year wraps, you can consider yourself a pro. If you’re a senior, you may feel similarly, but about your entire college career. Can you believe it’s ending? (Isn’t it strange that it can seem so long in some ways and so short at others?) You have only a couple more hurdles and a graduation stage to cross and you’re officially into the big adventure of Life Beyond the Tower. If you’re like me and are somewhere in the middle of your time under the tower, you may not feel the peculiar feelings of those starting or finishing it, but the end of the year is a milestone for us as well.

It marks important accomplishments and decisions for us too, and we may marvel at the passage of time or the promise of the next season as well. In the end, I hope its not just Life under the Tower that finishes big; I hope you do to. Make the most of these last weeks of the year, and give your best to everything that’s left!

Dr. Andrew Johnston Dean of Students

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Dean of Students Message to Students

As we enter the latter half of the school year, I am writing to reemphasize the university’s commitment to a Substance Free Campus.

We are committed to creating a campus community that models Belmont’s values and supports your safety and success, and we are convinced that the use of illegal drugs and/or misuse of legal ones compromise that commitment. We believe it not only threatens the health, safety, and success of the user, but also degrades the character and mission of the campus community for everyone else. For this reason, we are diligent in communicating our expectations and the potential consequences of violating them through orientation programs, residential contacts, and other campus interactions and communication, and we are deliberately assertive in addressing any drug-related incidents that occur.

Students found responsible for drug-related violations face significant consequences. Though specific cases vary and are adjudicated individually by the university’s Community Conduct Board, judicial responses to drug-related violations consistently include some separation from the university (suspension or expulsion) in addition to other educational or therapeutic expectations. This separation typically requires the student to forfeit all credits and fees for the term in which it is imposed (regardless of when the violation occurs.) Also, Metro Police are frequently engaged in drug interventions or related violations of state law on campus, and violators may face legal consequences beyond the university’s purview.

Simply put, at Belmont, drug use/misuse or possession of drugs or drug paraphernalia is a bad idea with big implications. Students engaging in such activity put their personal goals, their place in our community and their Belmont experience in jeopardy.

We take our responsibility seriously for developing a community you can be proud of-- one that models the values that drew you to Belmont in the first place, and one that is safe and strongly supports your success-- but of course a community is ultimately the product of its participants’ own actions and commitments and we hope this information helps you shape these effectively.

If you have questions regarding the university’s expectations for a Substance Free Campus, please contact us at 460-6407 or come by the Office of the Associate Provost & Dean of Students on the second floor of the Beaman Student Life Center. Thank you for your part in defining our community and elevating Life Under the Tower to our highest aspirations.


Dr. Andrew Johnston
Associate Provost & Dean of Students

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Parent FYI | January 2012

Dear Belmont Parent,

Students kicked off the spring semester by showing their Bruin pride and supporting the basketball program for the 129th installment of the Belmont-Lipscomb series, the biggest university athletic rivalry.  A record crowd of 5,227 filled the Curb Event Center arena and the student section was full of Bruins cheering on their men’s and women’s basketball teams.

It’s a joy to see a community coming together in this way.  The Spring semester is a time when freshmen have become fully engaged and are returning “home” to Belmont.  They no longer see themselves as new members of the community but actively engage in a place where they have already developed strong connections and relationships that they will cherish for years to come.  At the other end of the spectrum seniors are trying to make the most of every second they have left at Belmont and are working to connect with friends, faculty and staff as they prepare to take the next steps to engage and transform the world.

As you plan out your spring calendar and are looking for ways to connect with your student and Belmont I encourage you to look at the Academic and Campus Calendars.  There are just a few key events that, if you’re planning to visit campus, are a great time to see the liveliness of our community. 

  • The CEMB Country Showcase – February 11
  • Belmont’s Homecoming Week – February 13-18
  • Spring Break – March 3-9
  • Greek Week – March 19-24
  • The CEMB Best of the Best Showcase – April 14
  • Scholarship & Awards Day Convocation – April 18
  • Final Exams – April 26-May 1
  • Spring Commencement – May 5

I hope to see you around campus enjoying one of these events.

In Him,

Ben Lion, Director of New Student & Parent Programs

From the Dean of Students Office

Every year about this time, I am surprised— surprised that it is January and I haven’t seen the top of my desk since October, surprised that the New Year is upon me and so much of my To Do List is still To Be Done, surprised that the school year can seem so long and so short at the same time, but most of all surprised that it can turn out so differently than I expected. At this point in my life and career, I’ve seen semesters come and go many times, and you’d think I’d have it down by now, but life has a way of defying and diverging from my template.

In August, we all take a deep breath and dive into the array of new classes, new projects, new leadership experiences, relationships, and myriad other challenges and opportunities that will frame the semester and the adventure of a new school year. We have high hopes for the months ahead, a “shopping list” of things we expect to learn or experience by the time we get to Christmas break. Then, when the holidays actually arrive and we can take stock, we’re surprised to find that much of the semester failed to follow our script. Our well-laid plans inevitably fell prey to unexpected plot twists along the way and often the semester’s experience doesn’t look exactly like we thought it would.

Now, as the spring semester arrives and I watch your sons and daughters returning to campus, getting back into the swing of things, renewing relationships and rising to the challenges of new classes, etc. I’m reminded that the sign of a successful year is not simply the degree to which they fill their predetermined “shopping lists” or pursue their well-laid plans. On the contrary, sometimes the truest signs of their success are the things they learn when those plans go awry. It’s in the twists and turns along the way, the unexpected diversions, disappointments, and redirections that their character is often defined and refined. Its in the things they don’t see coming that they frequently discover who they really are and determine who they will be– the relationship they never anticipated, the personal challenge they overcome, the doors that unexpectedly open or close on their paths. The lessons they learn in these moments are ones that will serve them long after they leave the shadow of the bell tower, and bring to mind a favorite quote: “The greatest reward for your work is not what you get out of it, but who you become by it.” That said, as the father of a college student myself, I know it’s easier to write about “diversions from the plan” or “challenging plot twists” than to watch them happen or to walk through them with your child.

I hope the 2011 Fall term was a good one for your son or daughter and one that for all its aversion to following the script still served them well in advancing their aspirations and shaping them into the man or woman they (and you) hope for. I hope the Christmas holidays provided you opportunity to reflect together and to recharge, reaffirm or redirect, and I hope the New Year has started well with the promise of their best semester yet! If we can be of assistance directing them or encouraging them as they move forward, please contact us in the Dean of Students Office.

Best wishes for the Spring term!

Dr. Andrew Johnston,

Associate Provost & Dean of Students

Belmont Announces Schedule for Homecoming 2012 Feb. 13-18

Belmont University
invites alumni, friends and family to make their “Destination Belmont”
Feb. 13 – 18 for a week’s worth of special Homecoming 2012 events. The
week-long celebration will feature an alumni art exhibit, a basketball
doubleheader, a residence hall banner competition for students and a
campus-wide pep rally and bonfire. For a complete list of all Belmont
Homecoming 2012 events and an opportunity to register, visit

20th Annual Commercial Music Showcase Features Students, Alumni

Monday night Belmont’s School of Music presented the 20th annual Commercial Music Showcase in the Massey Performing Arts Center (MPAC). The annual concert features some of the School of Music’s top commercial performers, and this year’s showcase offered 15-minute mini-concerts from senior Nate Faulkner, junior Sarah Margaret Huff, junior Rayvon Owen and senior Cody Fry.

CVPA, Nashville Ballet Bring ‘Aesop’s Fables’ to MPAC

The College of Visual and Performing Arts and Nashville Ballet hosted a free performance of Aesop’s Fables in the Massey Performing Arts Center on Sunday, Jan. 29. The event brought hundreds of children and their parents to campus for the interactive show.

Belmont Welcomes Neighbors to Campus for Community Days

As a show of gratitude to the University’s friends, Belmont invited its neighbors and the general public to the women’s basketball game against North Florida on Jan. 26. The event was free and included hot dogs, popcorn, drinks, a balloon artist and face painting.

‘Music City Roots’ Takes on Distinctly Belmont Flavor

“Music City Roots at the Loveless Cafe” lured plenty of leather boots, flannel shirts and facial hair Wednesday night as the weekly, two-hour concert and live radio show often does. This week, however, the performance offered a uniquely Belmont-related theme. The Westbound Rangers, Leah Korbin, Shirock, Kopecky Family Band and the Apache Relay–all bands consisting of Belmont alumni or current students–pumped out bright and lively tones all night.

College Parent 101 Website

If you have attended new student orientation in June then you’ve had the chance to hear form Dane Anthony, adjunct faculty in the School of Religion, speak on the transitions families face when they have a student starting college.  Year after year the College Parent 101 session continues to receive amazing positive feedback and is our most popular parent session.

The College Parent 101 web site is a new resource designed specifically to address transition issues for parents of new college students. You will find tips for successful parenting, access to helpful resources, regular blog postings, and a brand new DVD of Dane Anthony's College Parent 101 session (including a number of resources not available anywhere else).  Check it out:

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Parent FYI | December 2011

From the Office of New Student & Parent Programs

Dear Belmont Parent,

The fall semester is quickly coming to a close and students will be traveling home for a well-deserved break.  As
I bump into students in the Beaman Student Life Center lobby, or having passing conversations as I walk around campus, I know that your students have had a rich and active semester.  As the semester progressed it seemed that each time I spoke with students, they were more involved and engaged in exploring Belmont and making it their own.

As students return home for a time of rest and relaxation I encourage you to also finds ways to help your student reflect on their last semester.  A key component to the learning process is finding opportune moments to critically think about their experiences over the last semester and how those experiences have shaped and developed their personal growth.  Christmas Break is a natural moment in the lifecycle of students when they are very receptive and excited to talk about their college experiences with family and friends.   I encourage you to think of out of the box questions that assist your student in doing more than reciting
what they did over the last semester, but instead draw out the things that challenged them and shaped who they are becoming.

I wish you a merry Christmas and hope that you enjoy "Christmas at Belmont" that will be broadcasted National PBS Affiliates on December 22. (Enjoy this preview).

I look forward to seeing your student return to this community for the start of the spring semester on Wednesday, January 4 and the start to the next exciting cycle of their Belmont experience which will start off with the legendary "Battle of the Boulevard" basketball games against Lipscomb University.

In Him,

Ben Lion, Director of New Student & Parent Programs

Dr. Cathy Taylor Appointed Dean of College of Health Sciences & Nursing       

Dr. Cathy Taylor, DrPH, MSN, RN, has been named as the new dean of the Gordon E. Inman College of Health Sciences & Nursing at Belmont University. Taylor currently serves as the assistant commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Health’s Bureau of Health Services Administration where she oversees delivery of traditional public health and primary care services in 89 rural counties and contracted services with Tennessee’s six metropolitan health departments. Dr. Taylor will begin her new position at Belmont on Feb. 1, 2012.

 Curb College, Student Activities, Program Board Debut Christmas Concert               

Matt Wertz and Ben Rector brought the Christmas spirit to Belmont University on Dec. 7 by
performing an assortment of holiday jingles and popular originals.

Student Musicians, Sodexo Support Troops                

Sodexo and two campus musicians kicked off the men’s basketball first conference home game with Tailgating for the Troops Thursday night (Dec. 1). The event included games, donation stations for care package items and a troop letter writing station.

Students Plan Canned Good Silent Auction for Nonprofit
In lieu of cash, the Belmont community and its neighbors are asked to bring canned goods to bid on a two-hour Nashville Christmas Light Bus Tour, National Football League gear, artwork, restaurant gift cards, cupcakes and baby items
during the 7 Habits of Healthy Neighborhoods Silent Auction and Family Holiday Event. The event is free and open to the public, and also includes face painting, crafts, cookie decorating, food, live music and games.

Belmont’s Trading Room Upgrades to New Market Board                

Belmont University’s Financial Trading Room—a lab opened in 2005 where students manage two common stock portfolios, hold university wide investment club meetings and prepare for the Certified Financial Analyst research report competition—underwent a significant upgrade this fall.

College Parent 101 Website

If you have attended new student orientation in June then you’ve had the chance to hear form Dane Anthony, adjunct faculty in the School of Religion, speak on the transitions families face when they have a student starting college.  Year after year the College Parent 101 session continues to receive amazing positive feedback and is our most popular parent session.

The College Parent 101 web site is a new resource designed specifically to address transition issues for parents of new college students. You will find tips for successful parenting, access to helpful resources, regular blog postings, and a brand new DVD of Dane Anthony's College Parent 101 session (including a number of resources not available anywhere else).  Check it out:

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