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Mary Clark Leads Bridges to Belmont

Mary ClarkStudents begin college with Summer Academy, community service projects and leadership development

Belmont University has appointed Mary Clark as director of Bridges to Belmont. In her new position, Clark oversees the program designed to enroll students from Metro Nashville Public Schools who previously may have not considered Belmont as an option.

“We are delighted to welcome Mary Clark to the Belmont community and look forward to her leadership as the program continues to evolve, building on our strengths in delivering a high quality and robust education to all students enrolled at Belmont. Her personality, past experience in similar programs and commitment to student success will propel us to the next levels of excellence as we move forward,” said Associate Provost for Academic Affairs Beverly Schneller.

Bridges to Belmont reflects a deliberate stride on the part of Belmont’s administration to enhance the cultural and ethnic diversity within the campus community while also continuing efforts to provide higher education to students in Davidson County. Bridges to Belmont students, many of whom are first-generation college students, each are given a four-year scholarship to cover tuition, room, board, required fees and books from state and federal grants as well as Belmont scholarship funds.  Throughout their higher education experience, they also are given academic support and mentors. There are 52 students in the program from Maplewood, Stratford, Whites Creek and Pearl Cohn high schools.

The Bridges scholars’ education begins with the Summer Academy, during which students take three courses in an extended format, First Year Seminar, First Year Writing, and Math 1020 and a course in leadership skills and academic development. They also complete three community service projects at Nashville-area nonprofit organizations as well as attend an academic lecture convocation and a chapel program designed to introduce them into Belmont campus life.

“I am truly excited and thankful to be a part of Belmont University and to have the opportunity to lead Bridges to Belmont. The program is one that I believe is an exceptional display of Belmont’s commitment to truly being Nashville’s University,” Clark said.

Clark previously served as assistant to the dean of diversity, program director in the Office of Multicultural Affairs and minority faculty fellow at Marshall University and has held several roles related to academic support services and student programs at Saint Louis University, Marquette University, Southeast Missouri State University and Wichita State University. She is completing the dissertation to earn her Doctor of Philosophy degree in Higher Education Administration at Saint Louis University in May 2015 and holds a Master of Arts in Guidance and Counseling as well as a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication from Southeast Missouri State University.

In August, Clark will be joined by program assistant Nadi Bishop, who will oversee supplemental instruction, organizational support, tutor training and mentoring. Robby Quarles continues to serve as the Bridges support specialist.

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