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Opening convocation highlights plans for new dorm, student enrollment goal

To officially kick off the the fall 2016 semester at Belmont University, students new and old gathered in the Curb Event Center Wednesday at 10 a.m. for the customary opening convocation.

Joined by various faculty and staff wearing their academic gowns, Belmont President Bob Fisher took the stage after opening remarks from Provost Thomas Burns and scripture readings from the presidents of the Student Government Association and the Black Student Association.

Most of the convocation centered on the university’s plans for the future – one of which was a brand-new residence hall, complete with 10 floors, which will make sure the residents get their exercise, Fisher said.

The dorm, which is planned to be near the already-existing Hillside apartments, will open in 2018. Construction on the dorm is scheduled to begin in December, Fisher said.

But the residence halls aren’t the only things getting bigger. Belmont’s current 7,771 students still comes under the university’s targeted enrollment of 8,888 students.

“That number allows us to keep tuition low and to invest in the student experience,” Fisher said.

Speaking of students, Fisher highlighted several of the university’s achievements, including the nursing students keeping a passing rate of 100 percent for the past 12 years, the law school achieving the No. 1 passing rate in the state after only two years of existence and the athletes at Belmont University proving they have more than just physical fitness when they earned various Ohio Valley Conference academic achievement awards 14 out of the past 16 years.

“Should have had another two years, but I won’t go into that,” Fisher said.

As Belmont continues to grow and improve, Fisher hopes students will grow with it.

“What’s next for us is to keep going,” he said. “I want to encourage you to be kaleidoscopic thinkers about change. What if everybody did? I know you will.”

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