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Belmont University | Belief in Something Greater
An aerial photo of Patton Hall, McWhorter Hall and the Baskin Center in the foreground, with the city of Nashville in the background

March 20, 2020 Coronavirus Update

Dear Students, 

For the past two weeks, the economist in me has been constantly studying the “curve” of the Coronavirus outbreak, not only for the U.S. but for countries around the globe. The collective efforts being made in our society are intended to flatten those curves. Unfortunately, it has become clear that those efforts are not working quickly enough, and may not start taking significant effect for several more weeks. The number of new cases reported in the past three days has caused my optimism to be erased by the  statistical reality that I must acknowledge — things are not getting better, and it doesn't appear that they will as soon as I had hoped.

Because of this, I simply do not see a safe path for you to return to campus in the near future, and the time has come to make tough decisions regarding how we complete the Spring semester: 

  • Belmont will be moving to a remote/online learning model for all students through the conclusion of the Spring semester, including final exams.
  • Commencement ceremonies currently scheduled for May 2 will be rescheduled for August 7. All graduating seniors will be invited to participate in what will be a special ceremony for our Spring 2020 graduating class on that date. Graduates will not be required to attend the August commencement event, but we promise to make it a special celebration for you and your family. Regardless, your official graduation date will not be delayed, and your diplomas will be delivered. More details will be made available soon.

I realize this news prompts numerous questions. I ask you to please be patient as our Deans and Faculty contact you with details of what this decision means for all academic activity moving forward. Our Residence Life team will soon be announcing a safe and orderly plan for scheduling permanent move out of residence halls. The latest information on all of these topics can be found at our Coronavirus website in an updated FAQ section.

I also recognize that while this news prompts a sense of relief for some, it prompts sadness for others. I share both of these feelings. Contributing to our thought process in delaying this decision until now was a strong desire to not conclude the on-campus, in-classroom experience for our students — especially our graduating seniors — unless absolutely necessary. But nothing is more important than the safety and wellbeing of our students, and I believe this to be the most responsible course of action.

Please know that our faculty and staff, while not together on campus, are present, fully engaged and ready to support you throughout these unusual circumstances. Please reach out to faculty or staff, or e-mail with your questions and concerns in the weeks to come. 

Completing our academic year in this fashion was unimaginable just a few short weeks ago. My hope is that we do not let these changes and circumstances create in us a sense of fear, defeat or hopelessness. Instead, let’s lean on the ONE in whom all our fates rest, and live carefully but courageously through these trying times.


Bob Fisher