After 21 transformational years, Bob and Judy Fisher enter a well-deserved retirement.
“It’s closing time. You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here!”
Those words from a 1998 Semisonic song became a sly joke for the past dozen or so years as they made their way each spring into the unique commencement speech given by Belmont University President Dr. Bob Fisher. A huge music fan at an institution highly acclaimed for music and music business in a city known as Music City… the speech that pulled almost exclusively from song lyrics seemed an incredibly appropriate send off for new graduates.
Of course, there are few songs that can sum up the past 21 years of what Bob and Judy Fisher have meant to Belmont University or that can accurately communicate all that’s been achieved during their tenure.
Since 2000, Belmont:
- Nearly tripled enrollment from under 3,000 to more than 8,200
- Saw marked improvements in average ACT score, rentention rate and graduation rate
- Initiated new doctoral programs in pharmacy, nursing, law and medicine
- Increased the endowment from $42.8 million to more than $340 million
- Launched dozens of new undergraduate majors, including social entrepreneurship, songwriting, data science, architecture, public health and motion pictures
- Acquired two local art/design colleges
- Expanded the campus with 28 new or renovated buildings and more than $1 billion in construction and property acquisition
- Celebrated 62 athletic conference championships while also winning the conference All Academic Award 17 of the last 19 consecutive years
- Became a higher education leader in sustainability efforts, leading Belmont to receive prestigious gold rating
- Hosted two Presidential debates (2008 and 2020)