Belmont University celebrated the Arts and Sciences this week with a series of events sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), including a keynote address Wednesday from Todd Turner, who has more than 30 years experience as a college athletic administrator. In addition, CAS awarded Assistant Athletic Director/Senior Women’s Administrator Betty Wiseman, who is also an associate professor emerita of sport science, the first Liberal Arts and Sciences Advocacy Award, which will be given annually in recognition of those who have a deep commitment to and value the intrinsic worth of the liberal arts and sciences.
Dr. Bryce Sullivan, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said, “Betty’s work as a teacher and leader in Belmont’s Sport Science Department and the Physical Education program across 40 years of service is amazing. The way she has integrated her love of athletics, her dedication to student-athletes, her mentoring of students and her transparent desire to serve God through her vocation are among the reasons she was chosen for this award.”
Wiseman said, “I came to this campus as a student 48 years ago. It was a God-ordained appointment… This award is another affirmation for me of God’s hand on my life.”
Keynote speaker Turner opened his own address by noting what an honor it was to share the stage with Wiseman, an educational leader who has committed such energy to the topic of his lecture, the scholar-athlete. He then outlined the current numbers of college athletics, emphasizing athletics’ enormous economic impact while also recognizing just how far the system has come since the first college competition in 1852, a rowing contest between Harvard and Yale. In particular, he cited NCAA’s adoption of the Academic Progress Rate, or APR, as a significant step forward in prioritizing student athletes’ academic performance.
“In today’s environment is it possible for student athletes to be scholars in an era when sport is king? Absolutely,” he noted, pointing out how universities on every level have increased the availability of and commitment to academic support for their players. “If student athletes are personally committed, the can achieve their full potential.”