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Opening Convocation Sets Tone for New Academic Year

Provost Dr. Thomas Burns welcomes students, faculty and staff to the Fall 2011 Opening Convocation.

Held for the first time in the Curb Event Center, the Fall 2011 Opening Convocation celebration kicked off Belmont’s academic year as President Bob Fisher provided his annual State of the University address. Click here to see photos from the Opening Convocation in the Belmont Photo Gallery.

Provost Thomas Burns opened the morning event reminding the gathered students, faculty and staff of this year’s theme, Wealth and Poverty, and three initial ways that theme can be witnessed on campus: the freshmen KIVA micro-loan challenge, the sophomore Living a Better Story commitment and the upcoming Humanities Symposium keynote address from Maya Angelou. (More details on all of these initiatives will be posted soon to Belmont News.)

Provost Burns said, “Kiva, Living a Better Story and Maya Angelou all challenge us to deepen our understanding and find the courage to act… I invite you to join the Belmont community as we face the challenges of making new connections—between people, between ideas, between actions – knowing that we will struggle together with questions which have no easy answers.  May we welcome those struggles, embrace them and let them transform the way that we view and live in our world.”

Sophomores Anna Kate Dunn and Zachary Walker offered Scripture readings before Dr. Fisher began an address in which he focused on State of the University and future opportunities. In addition to announcing another record-breaking enrollment, 6,374 students total, Dr. Fisher remarked on the university’s continued investment in people with the addition of 31 new faculty positions. Belmont also holds the strongest balance sheet in its history and is celebrating both the first entering cycle for the new College of Law as well as the final year for the first Pharmacy cohort.

He then recapped events from the past few months for members of the Belmont community who were off campus over the summer, highlighting Athletics’ upcoming move to the Ohio Valley Conference, the baseball team’s NCAA victories and the eighth A-Sun All Academic trophy win.

Construction continues on the Randall and Sadie Baskin Center, which will house Belmont's College of Law.

Furthermore, Dr. Fisher showed photos of updates on ongoing construction for the Baskin Center (future home of the College of Law) and the new Concert Hall as well as the start of construction to a new residence hall in Bruin Hills. All three projects—along with two underground parking garages to accommodate more than 1,000 cars—are on schedule for a summer 2012 completion.

During the final segment of his talk, Dr. Fisher asked students, faculty and staff to commit to dreaming in the coming weeks of what comes next for Belmont, particularly as it relates to the next major project the University undertakes. With tentative plans to begin a new academic building next summer, Dr. Fisher challenged the Belmont community to focus on ideas that would bring the campus and surrounding city together in a unique and innovative way, further fostering the creativity for which Belmont is known.