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Belmont Celebrates Achievement with Scholarship and Awards Day

During Wednesday’s Scholarship and Awards Day convocation in the Massey Performing Arts Center, Belmont’s top students and faculty were honored for their commitment to the University’s mission and dedication to scholarship, service and leadership. Chemistry Professor Dr. Kim Daus, the 2013-14 Chaney Distinguished Professor, gave the ceremony’s Honors Address and discussed heroes and how they improve our lives. Citing a recent study that showed the prevalence of heroes closely related to members of Generation Next, Daus charged attendees to make a difference in the lives of others and left the audience with lyrics from a Harry Chapin song, one of Daus’s self-proclaimed heroes. “Now if a man tried to take his time on Earth and prove before he died what one man’s life could be worth, I wonder what would happen to this world.”

The presentation of the annual John Williams Heart of Belmont Award is greatly anticipated each year as one student is recognized for their commitment to Belmont’s values including innovation, persistence, advocacy for change, community development and service. The 2015 recipient, Tina Sharma, is a double major studying applied discrete mathematics and economics and when she isn’t working on assignments, completing duties associated with her leadership roles or internships, Tina said her time at Belmont has been “unconditionally poured into working as a community activist.”

Other students honored in Wednesday’s ceremony included:

The Williams-Murray First Year Writing AwardsMax Hayden (“Detroit: America’s Phoenix”) and Lindsey Knapp (“When Home Becomes Hopeless: The Burden of Domesticity in Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie””)

The Alfred Leland Crabb Award: Nikki Sneed (“Clytemnestra as Femme Fatale”)

The Stacy Awalt Writing AwardColin Bodayle

The Annette Sisson First Year Writing AwardCassandra Riel (“Combatting American Parochialism”)

The Lumos Travel AwardMorgan Fisher (South Africa), Jacob Jeran (Tanzania) and Jeanette Moreland (South Africa)

The First Year Award, LeadershipDavid Gal-Chis (physics major through the Honors Program)

The Second Year Award, LeadershipAustin DeMaagd (biology major, chemistry minor with pre-med emphasis)

The Third Year Award, LeadershipMaggie Fincher (entrepreneurship major)

The Fourth Year Award, LeadershipChristi Snider (double major in social work and corporate communications)


In addition to student award winners, a number of awards were given to faculty members. Last year’s newly created Christian Scholarship Award honors faculty scholarship that engages the Christian intellectual tradition and advances the scholarly conversation between Christian faith and learning. This year’s recipient was Dr. Jeffery Ames, College of Visual and Performing Arts.

The Leadership in Christian Service Award, a second award created last year, honors faculty who provide leadership to a new initiative or an established Christian organization that serves those in need. This year’s recipient was Dr. Robbie Pinter, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.

This year’s inaugural award, The Faculty Award for Scholarship, recognizes a faculty member for outstanding intellectual and creative contributions of discovery, integration, application or teaching. This year’s recipient was Dr. Judy Bullington, College of Visual and Performing Arts.

Dr. Qingjun (Joan) Li, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, was named the 2014-15 Chaney Distinguished Professor. The Chaney Distinguished Professor Award, determined on the basis of superior teaching, is presented each year to a faculty member who best represents the vision of the university to be a “premier teaching institution.”


Dr. Ben Curtis, College of Theology and Christian Ministry, was awarded the 2014-15 Presidential Faculty Achievement Award. The Presidential Faculty Achievement Award is presented each year to a faculty member who has made outstanding contributions to student life outside the classroom. The award honors and recognizes excellence in faculty-student relationships, special abilities in meeting student needs – academic, personal and professional – and symbolizes Belmont University’s commitment to being a student-centered institution.

Click here for additional photos from the event.

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