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Students discuss hopes for the next university president following Bob Fisher’s retirement

Belmont students are already contemplating who they want to be the university’s next president following Dr. Bob Fisher’s retirement in May.

Students said Fisher’s shoes would be difficult to fill, with senior Adam Riekstins acknowledging the position’s inherent difficulty — and regardless of how Belmont’s leadership might change, the job Fisher performed was a challenging one.

“Being a university president’s gotta be one of the hardest jobs out there, honestly, because you have to keep so many people pleased … local politicians, donors, student body, parents, teachers. It’s a balancing act, for sure,” said Riekstins, an audio engineering technology and English literature major.

With that in mind, Riekstins said he hopes for a president who embodies the local community’s diversity.

“I’d like to see a president who brings in more diversity here, I’d like to see a person of color leading the school,” he said.

Riekstins said Fisher was instrumental in “putting Belmont on the map” — but for the future, he would value a president who more closely works with students to make administrative decisions.

An ideal president would be “someone who can uphold all of that progress, while at the same time, bringing more students into more of a community,” Riekstins said.

Rachel Pustejovsky, a junior entertainment industries major, agreed, saying the next president should treat student voices as a priority.

“Our campus is our home,” Pustejovsky said. “It’s beneficial to get more student input … you know, home is supposed to be somewhere where we all feel comfortable and happy.”

Pustejovsky also said she’d like to see a president who supported local businesses more; Riekstins echoed a similar sentiment, saying he’d like to see large donors prioritized less.

Despite the wishes some have for a new president, though, students like sophomore music business major Sarah Hudspeth simply hope to see Fisher’s legacy taken into account.

“I want someone that will still uphold the legacy that Bob Fisher has made for us so far. I think he’s really brought Belmont up from the ground in a way,” said Hudspeth. “And he’s really made us where we are right now. So I hope that whoever takes his spot will continue to build Belmont in the future.”

Hudspeth said Fisher had a valuable rapport with students, and hopes the next president will establish a similar kind of relationship — at the same time, she’s hopeful the introduction of a new president will present a chance for Belmont to innovate.

“I think that it’s going to provide more opportunities for Belmont,” she said. “And I think that a new set of eyes is definitely going to be something beneficial … and I just hope that whoever takes his spot is still as passionate about the students and Belmont.”

Hudspeth agreed — and even though she thinks Fisher was a great president, she’s optimistic about what a change in perspective could bring to Belmont’s leadership.

“I’m excited to see what the future of Belmont holds.”

This article written by Madison Bowen and Justin Wagner.

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