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From the courtroom to the classroom

Long-time Nashville district attorney general Tory Johnson is set to join Belmont University’s College of Law faculty this January.

A reception was held Thursday in his honor to celebrate his commitment.

Johnson, who has held the position of Nashville district attorney general for 27 years, is finishing his final term on August 31. From there, he will begin preparations for his new position as a visiting professor in the College of Law. He is scheduled to begin January 2015

The reception was held in the atrium of the Randall and Sadie Baskin Center. In attendance were Belmont administrators, board of trustee members, law students and the College of Law Dean Alberto Gonzales.

Gonzales was first to speak, lauding Johnson for his “stature, reputation, integrity and first-hand experience.

Johnson himself was next to take the stage; he began his speech on a lighter note with a quip about not having a new job in 30 years.

He was very complimentary towards the university, citing its “incredible progress” as part of what initially attracted him to the idea of teaching here.

“It’s a great opportunity for me and Belmont as I try to transition from my job,” he said. “I would much rather leave too soon rather than too late.”

The law school itself was the next subject of Johnson’s praise, which he said made “law schools across the country jealous.

And while his personal experience with the college may be limited, he has dealt with its students and had nothing but good things to say about them. The District Attorney’s office, he said, hired their first Belmont law graduate last year and also played host to around six interns, all of whom were part of “the best group they’d ever had.”

As for the job to which he is transitioning, Johnson was nothing if not optimistic.

“I’m very excited,” he said. “It’s a change, but a change I’m looking forward to.”

Additionally, Johnson provided some background about how he came to Belmont, which was revealed to be about a yearlong process beginning with his expressed interest towards the university.

“I hope to be a good influence and teacher,” Johnson said. “I will try to marry the real world with the theoretical world. I always enjoyed when law school professors would give an example from their own experiences.”

President Bob Fisher delivered the closing remarks and shared the same feelings of optimism as his colleagues.

“I am so glad Torry’s joining us here,” he said. “It is a big deal for Belmont.”

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