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Thomas Burns leaving provost office after 11 years

Updated: May 6, 2022

Dr. Thomas Burns will conclude his time as provost on May 31 after 11 years of service.

“Thomas will be taking a well-earned sabbatical for the summer and fall of 2022, and he anticipates joining our faculty as tenured Professor of Chemistry beginning January 1, 2023,” said President Greg Jones in an email Wednesday.

Burns’ departure caps off a semester of changes including the redesign of the school seal and mission statement, as well as the introduction of a 10-year plan to be the leading Christ-centered university by 2030.

Dr. David Gregory, dean of the College of Pharmacy, will take over for Burns on June 1 as interim provost while the university searches for a permanent replacement.

Burns joined Belmont in January 2011 and oversaw a decade of change on campus, including Belmont’s mergers with Watkins College of Art and the O’More College of Design.

“Thomas has navigated what is arguably the most difficult job on a college campus, and he’s done so during times of remarkable growth, innovation and opportunity as well as through tremendous challenges,” the email said.

The announcement was met with shock and admiration from faculty.

“When I first read the email, I was very surprised. For me, it came out of left field,” said Michael Janas, the chair of Belmont’s audio engineering programming. “I was floored when I saw it.”

“He is a great supporter of the academics of Curb College, and he was able to keep in mind a macro view of the university,” said Janas. “I’m so appreciative of the support he’s given us over the years.”

Burns also worked closely with the faculty senate during his time as provost.

“Dr. Burns has been a pleasure to work with these past couple of years, since I’ve been in senate leadership,” said senate president Nathan Griffith.

This article was written by David Pang, Sarah Maninger and Connor Daryani

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