Union promises world-class design education in thriving Nashville market
In a timely move that enhances Belmont University’s academic and professional offerings in design while extending the strong legacy and reach of O’More College of Design, the two institutions announced today that they are combining efforts to serve the next generation of designers. The governing boards for both Belmont and O’More have agreed that Belmont will acquire O’More College of Design and all of its assets and then move O’More’s programs in fashion, interior and graphic design as well as fashion merchandising to Belmont’s campus. The new O’More School of Design at Belmont University will open its doors this fall in Nashville.
Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “This is an incredibly exciting moment in Belmont’s history as we join forces with O’More to cultivate world-class design in all its forms. The possibilities for interdisciplinary collaborations are endless as O’More’s programs inspire natural partnerships with countless academic areas in which Belmont’s a proven leader. In addition, Nashville is already positioned as a rising star in the fashion world, and the O’More School of Design at Belmont will elevate that status as we anticipate our programs will quickly make a significant impact on our city and the design industry at large.”
The news is all the more fitting as O’More’s roots lie with a Belmont alumna. O’More College of Design was founded in 1970 by Eloise Pitts O’More, a Ward-Belmont graduate who also trained in Paris and New York for interior design. Her goal was to establish a school that would foster and preserve her passion for design and design principles. With an aim to provide a student-centered environment that cultivates the power of design to transform, O’More has been recognized by Fashion-Schools.org as one of the top 10 fashion programs in the South and the only Tennessee program that is nationally ranked.
“This is a monumental day for O’More as we join Belmont University,” said Shari Fox, president of O’More College of Design. “Belmont’s creative spirit and impressive growth have captured the attention of our nation, and we are delighted to now be part of that energy. O’More students will be able to explore new opportunities and take advantage of resources that will further propel their design education and training. Mrs. O’More would be so proud to know that her legacy has come full circle, and I cannot wait to see what our students achieve as part of this wonderful university.”
Beyond the immediate benefits to Belmont and O’More, this announcement heralds even more growth for the already booming fashion and real estate industries in Nashville and Middle Tennessee. An April 2017 article in the Business of Fashion noted “…the city of Nashville is betting that fashion can become not only a major driver of culture in the region, but also a significant driver of employment and industry.”
According to a 2017 comprehensive economic impact study released by the Nashville Fashion Alliance, Nashville is in a perfect position to benefit from design education with a rapidly growing career pipeline:
- Fashion businesses in Nashville contribute $5.9 billion and 16,200 jobs to the area’s economy.
- The report suggests those numbers could reach $9.5 billion and 25,000 jobs by 2025.
- Nashville now boasts the largest per capita concentration of fashion companies in the nation outside of Los Angeles and New York (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Beyond the new programs in fashion design and merchandising, Belmont will also expand its Design Communications program with the influx of O’More graphic designers, and the University will embark for the first time into interior design. With an excellent reputation in the industry, O’More has long boasted a strong placement rate of graduates working within their field locally, regionally and nationally:
- O’More offers the only BFA Interior Design program in Middle Tennessee to be fully accredited by the international Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA).
- O’More’s Interior Design department boasts nine winner of the Angelo Donghia Foundation Scholarship, the nation’s most prestigious interior design scholarship.
- As consumers’ expectations increase for homes and offices that are environmentally friendly and more easily accessible, Belmont programs in areas like health and environmental sciences will offer timely collaborations.
The creative climates fostered at both schools, along with kindred missions focused on transformative and service-minded education, translates to a powerful pairing. In addition to the financial stability, resources and expanded reach Belmont offers, the union provides O’More students with an array of opportunities not currently available, including campus housing, study abroad possibilities, dedicated career development staff and increased options for general education courses.
Students at both institutions will benefit from immense cross-discipline collaborations as fashion designers work with musicians on stage outfits or interior designers meet with the theatre department to discuss set scenery. Other programs at Belmont—like law, entrepreneurship, marketing, health sciences and many more—will all quickly discover mutually helpful connections with students in O’More’s programs.
The O’More School of Design at Belmont University will be housed within the College of Visual and Performing Arts.