President Dr. Greg Jones takes the reins at Belmont
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President Dr. Greg Jones takes the reins at Belmont

Like many Belmont students, Dr. Greg Jones began his first day on campus at Bongo Java.

After he officially took office as university president June 1, the university posted Jones’ first video address to students, faculty and staff Tuesday afternoon in which he laid out the goals for his first year under the theme “Let Hope Abound.”

“As we all begin to emerge from COVID-19, we recognize our nation has actually been facing multiple pandemics, including coronavirus, racial injustice, mental health struggles and economic uncertainties,” said Jones. 

“With our Christian faith as our animating purpose, I believe Belmont University is well-positioned to bring hope to these times.”

And as Belmont gets ready to welcome students back to in-person classes on August 25, Jones will have the unique responsibility of navigating the university back to where it was before the pandemic, as well as addressing student concerns about diversity and inclusion at the university.

“We can let hope abound … by being a leader and reweaving the social fabric working against those forces that fracture our society and instead choosing to love and embrace all our neighbors as ourselves.”

Jones underlined the importance of Belmont’s engagement with the community and spent much of Tuesday meeting in person with Nashville-area leaders, including Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, Nashville Mayor John Cooper, Organized Neighbors of Edgehill Director Brenda Morrow, Vanderbilt Chancellor Dr. Daniel Diermeier, Country Music Association CEO Sarah Trahern, as well as staff of local nonprofit The Store and executives from Nashville’s HCA Healthcare.

One of Jones’ first goals as president will be to work toward the establishment of the newly announced Thomas F. Frist Jr. College of Medicine in partnership with HCA Healthcare, according to a university press release.

The university also announced that Jones will be inaugurated at a special event on campus in November.

Jones was appointed in February after former president Dr. Bob Fisher announced his retirement in November 2020. He previously served as the dean of Duke Divinity School as well as provost and executive vice president at Baylor University. 

The new First Lady of Belmont, the Rev. Dr. Susan Pendelton Jones held a number of roles at Duke Divinity School, including associate dean of ministerial formation and campus minister of the United Methodist Church. 

In his address, Jones emphasized his hope that Belmont will “move forward together, with Christ at the center,” Jones said in his address.

“And from this day forward, may we work collaboratively together to honor God and one another in our efforts and let hope abound in all we say and do,” he said.

This article was written by Anna Jackson and Sarah Maninger. Photo courtesy of the Belmont University Office of Communications.

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