President Jones invites students to be "radical champions" in opening convocation

Updated: Aug 25


Students need to be more than just “agents of hope” and instead be radical champions for all, President Greg Jones said in his second opening convocation.

“I love that image of being radical champions, because it takes the notion of being an agent of hope and extending it even one step further,” Jones said in his address. “We want to be radical champions for the flourishing of all people.”

Freshmen and returning Belmont students packed into the Curb Event Center on Wednesday morning to receive Jones’ address and collect coveted WELL-Core credit.

Jones encouraged students to be proactive servants across the Belmont and Nashville communities.

Jones highlighted alums and members of the Belmont community who he said were “radical champions.” These include:

  • Ashley Crawford, president of the Nashville African American Wind Symphony

  • Harry Allen, the chief relationship officer of local Studio Bank.

  • Betty Wiseman, pioneer of Belmont’s women’s basketball program, also received recognition from Jones for her trailblazing career on campus and her influence across the state.

  • Tommy Rhodes, founder of Barefoot Republic Camp.

  • Tim Schurrer, CEO of David Novak Leadership and a 2008 Belmont alum.

  • Maggie Barankitse, a humanitarian activist in Burundi.

Jones also recognized Kim Tam, a Malaysian entrepreneur and philanthropist, for his work across the world. Tam will be a keynote speaker in this year’s Hope Summit on Oct. 24 and 25.



Students and faculty fill the Curb Event Center for opening convocation. Isaac Wetzel/Belmont Vision

Freshman Will Wirth said he found the opening convo inspirational and enlightening.

“I thought what the president had to say… is really cool and kind of gave me hope for what I can accomplish,” Wirth said. “It kind of gave me like a reason to want to really try and succeed in my classes, kind of like wanting to move forward with bigger opportunities.”

“I think this kind of shows me like everything I’m gonna do is above me, and it’s kind of a big deal,” he said.

Sophomore Jack Landess also found Jones’ address hopeful.

“Our president is always really good at speaking truth and wisdom into the students and faculty,” he said, adding that the opening convo was “refreshing us, but also encouraging us.”


This article was written by David Pang.


PHOTO: President Greg Jones speaks at opening convocation. Isaac Wetzel/Belmont Vision

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