President Robert Fisher and Chairman of the Board of Trustees Marty Dickens officially welcomed students back to campus and hearkened the Fall 2007 academic semester on Wednesday at Belmont’s annual Opening Convocation. Following the singing of the University Hymn, the opening prayer and the special recognition of Chancellor Herbert Gabhart and Judy Fisher’s attendance, Dickens proceeded to unveil the university’s recently re-crafted Vision, Mission and Values statement. As before, the statement continues to emphasize Belmont’s focus on creating and maintaining an academically challenging, diverse, student-centered Christian community that empowers men and women to engage and transform the world.
After student-led Scripture readings and the Belmont Chorale’s stirring rendition of “Sing a Mighty Song,” Dr. Fisher delivered his annual State of the University address. “So, how are we doing?” he questioned rhetorically. “I’ll give you my assessment: ‘Baby I’m amazed’… What we’ve accomplished is simply remarkable.” Offering statistics from Fall 2007 enrollment and ratings from the recent U.S. News and World Report rankings as indicators of Belmont’s ongoing success, Dr. Fisher then challenged his audience to dream even bigger for the future. He also provided an update on Belmont’s talks with the Tennessee Baptist Convention as well as the lease agreement for Rose Park, which he noted holds the potential to be one of Belmont’s greatest legacies. He concluded his comments with the announcement of the three-phase construction of new freshmen dorms at the center of campus, with the groundbreaking for the first dorm to occur next week.