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Scholarship and Awards ceremony honors faculty and students

Belmont faculty, notably Dr. Jimmy Davis and Dr. Amy Hodges Hamilton, were honored at the Scholarship and Awards ceremony Wednesday morning.

Davis, professor of communication studies, won the Chaney Distinguished Professor Award and Hamilton, professor of English, won the Presidential Faculty Achievement Award.

The Chaney Distinguished Professor Award is presented annually to a faculty member who represents Belmont’s vision to be a premier teaching institution.

Davis has worked at Belmont for 31 years, spending time as both a teacher and a dean. His entertaining and hands-on teaching style stood out from the competition.

“The teaching strategies in my class are different. You never know when you’re doing something different if it’s good or bad,” said Davis “So it was nice to have at least some of that difference be affirmed by a group of really, really strong peers.”

Aware of the competition for the award, Davis came to the ceremony prepared for any outcome.

“I sat there today thinking ‘it’s okay, it’s okay not to win,’ and so until the moment he said my name that’s what I was thinking to myself,” said Davis, “I wouldn’t have been surprised to lose to any of those people because they are all good friends and exceptionally good teachers.”

Davis is immensely grateful for the support from those who nominated and celebrated with him.

“It was a gratifying experience to be recognized by my friends, and it was really great after it was over to be standing outside and have so many people walk by and offer congratulations,” said Davis.

The Presidential Award is presented annually to a faculty member who makes valuable contributions to students’ lives outside of the classroom.

Hamilton has worked at Belmont for 13 years as an English professor, the university capstone coordinator and the sexual assault prevention and awareness faculty leader.

Hamilton was honored to be recognized for her work of giving others a voice.

“I will say I am humbled and moved by the chance and opportunity to even be considered, much less chosen, for this award,” said Hamilton, “I think my lifelong goal has been to help others find their voice and to understand we all have stories to tell and not to discount that story based on race, gender, sexuality or anything, and to be recognized for that work is really humbling.”

Hamilton is incredibly active in the Nashville community and strives to connect her students to the community around them.

“My most exciting moments in the classroom are the opportunities I have to link students with community members and just think about the power of stories both in and out of the classroom,” said Hamilton.

Hamilton regularly connects her students with children at the Ronald McDonald House and Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. She truly believes serving is the best form of learning.

“Working in the community and thinking about ‘the least of these’ is really our highest calling,” said Hamilton.

Other faculty awards include the Christian Scholarship Award presented to Dr. Bonnie Whitehouse, the Leadership in Christian Service Award presented to Dr. Mona Ivey-Soto and the Scholarship Award presented to Dr. Mark Schenkel.

The student honor of the John Williams Heart of Belmont Award went to senior biology major Marcie Bulla for her commitment to service especially in the medical field.

Other students were also honored throughout the day for excellence in academics and service.

This article by Sarah Lawson. Contributing reporting by Lydia Fletcher. Featured image courtesy of Belmont’s Office of Communications.

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