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Belmont University | Belief in Something Greater

Fall 2016 Speakers


Aug. 29 | 10 a.m. | MPAC
Ricky Skaggs & Gordon Kennedy: Creative God

ricky skaggs and gordon kennedy

Ricky Skaggs has garnered 14 GRAMMY® Awards, 12 No. 1 hits, eight CMA awards, eight ACM awards and Belmont’s Applause music award. Gordon Kennedy is a Belmont alumnus and world-renowned guitarist, teaches in the Songwriting Program and is a multiple GRAMMY® Award-winner whose work includes the No. 1 international hit by Eric Clapton, “Change the World.” Co-sponsored by the Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business

Aug. 31 | 10 a.m. | MPAC
Michael W. Smith: Music as Ministry

Michael W. Smith has to his credit three GRAMMY® Awards, 44 Dove Awards, 33 No. 1 radio hits, 16 Gold, seven Platinum and two double-platinum albums. He is the founder of Rocketown, a ministry in downtown Nashville serving 800 teens each week and a Belmont trustee. Co-sponsored by the College of Visual & Performing Arts


Sept. 2 | 10 a.m. | MPAC
Relationships Matter

Joseph Walker III is pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church, which grew from 175 to over 25,000 under his leadership and is International Presiding Bishop in the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship. He has a Doctor of Ministry from Princeton Seminary and is the author of nine books. Stephaine Walker, M.D. (Cornell) was on the faculty of Harvard Medical School before joining the Vanderbilt faculty in Pediatrics and Neonatology. She focuses on health policy, health disparities and care for vulnerable populations.

Sept. 7 | 10 a.m. | MPAC
Shane Claiborne: Revolutionary Grace

In his new book, Executing Grace, Shane Claiborne asks, “What does it look like when God’s grace gets the last word?” as he compares punitive justice with restorative justice. He spent time in Calcutta with Mother Teresa and at a Chicago megachurch before founding a number of New Monastic Communities. His books include Irresistible Revolution and Jesus for President.

Sept. 9 | 10 a.m. | MPAC
Amy Grant: Christ's Peace

Amy Grant has sold more than 30 million albums, won six GRAMMY® Awards, 25 Dove Awards and had 17 Top 40 songs as well as a string of Contemporary Christian hits. She has been awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

Sept. 14 | 10 a.m. | MPAC
Larry the Cucumber: My Career

Mike Nawrocki is a co-founder of Big Idea Productions which created “Veggie Tales,” for which Mike is the voice of Larry the Cucumber, as well as a writer and director working on 121 new Netflix episodes of “Veggie Tales.” Co-sponsored by the Motion Pictures Program

Sept. 16 | 10 a.m. | MPAC
Lament & Healing

 Soong-Chan Rah is a Harvard, Duke and Columbia-educated expert on how Christians can be agents of reconciliation in our multi-ethnic world. His most recent book is Many Colors: Cultural Intelligence for a Changing Church. He was the founding pastor of a multiracial church committed to social justice in Cambridge, Mass., and teaches at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago.

Sept. 21 | 10 a.m. | Chapel
The Vanishing Christians of the Middle East

Yvonne Haddad is Professor of the History of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations at the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University. Dr. Haddad grew up in Syria and has degrees from universities and seminaries in the Middle East and the U.S. She conducts research on Muslims in the West and on Islamic Revolutionary Movements and teaches courses on Muslim-Christian Relations and Arab Intellectuals. Co-Sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences

Sept. 28 | 10 a.m. | Chapel
Operation Christmas Child

David Gal-Chis is a Belmont student who received Operation Christmas Child boxes in Romania as a young child. He will kick off Belmont’s participation in OCC, a chance to fill shoe boxes with toys and hygiene items to share God’s love with children around the world.


Oct. 5 | 10 a.m. | Chapel
Innocent on Death Row

Ray Krone was the 100th death row inmate exonerated thanks to DNA evidence, which is only available in about 15 percent of cases. He says, "I would not trust the state to execute a person because if it happened to me, it can happen to anyone." In 2003, he and Sr. Helen Prejean co-founded Witness to Innocence along with other death row exonerees.

Oct. 12 | 10 a.m. |Chapel
Justice for the Poor

Bruce Strom left a successful career as senior partner of a multi-office law practice, where he argued cases all the way to the U. S. Supreme Court, to start one of the nation’s leading Christian legal aid organizations. He serves as President and CEO of the Gospel Justice Initiative, helping legal aid ministries that advocate for the poor and vulnerable. Co-sponsored by College of Law and the Office of Administration & University Counsel

Oct. 17 | 10 a.m. | Chapel
Mission to Mexico

Karen Arroyo is a Belmont alumna who went to Mexico “for one year” to teach children living in a massive garbage dump and wound up marrying a young pastor and raising their family in Mexico. She now co-leads their church in Oaxaca, one of the poorest and most dangerous areas in the country, providing education, medical care, job training, housing and food programs, plus an extensive radio ministry. Co-sponsored by the Office of Alumni Relations

Oct. 19 | 10 a.m. | Chapel
Modern Slavery

Greg Darley is Director of College Mobilization for International Justice Mission (IJM), helping tens of thousands of college students on hundreds of campuses to engage in the work of justice on behalf of victims of human trafficking and modern day slavery. His new book is Wasted Prayer: Know When God Wants You to Stop Praying and Start Doing.

Oct. 24 | 10 a.m. | Chapel
Faith & Science

Audrey Bowden has degrees from Princeton and Duke (Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering) and completed her postdoctoral training in chemistry and chemical biology at Harvard. She directs the Stanford Biomedical Optics group which has a particular interest in the development of low-cost, portable technologies for use in poorly resourced environments. She is an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University and a member of the Child Health Research Institute. Co-sponsored by the College of Sciences & Mathematics

Oct. 26 | 10 a.m. | Chapel
Forgiving Genocide

Ubald Rugirangoga is a Catholic priest who had 80 members of his family -- including his parents and siblings -- and over 45,000 of his parishioners exterminated during the Rwandan genocide in which 1 million people died. Father Ubald teaches forgiveness as the pathway to peace, something he himself experienced when his mother’s murderer heard him preaching and asked him for forgiveness.

Oct. 31 | 10 a.m. | Chapel
Is Jesus a Republican or a Democrat?

Barbara Williams-Skinner is the former executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus and former chair of the board of the Christian Community Development Association, and serves as president of the Skinner Leadership Institute. She earned graduate degrees in Social Work and Law from UCLA and an M.Div. and Doctor of Ministry from Howard University.


Nov. 2 | 10 a.m. | Chapel
The Greatest Story Ever

Tim McKenzie combines the spoken Word with multimedia to create worshipful Scriptural journeys. Using 280 verses of memorized Scripture with an original musical score and dramatic artwork, he takes us through the life of Christ as recounted by the eyewitnesses who knew him best. His organization, On Every Word, has brought the Bible to life for hundreds of thousands of people through a wide array of presentations in many languages.

Nov. 16 | 10 a.m. | Chapel
The Lord of the Rings and the Journey of Faith

Joseph Pearce is series editor of the Ignatius Press Critical Editions and author of over 20 books, including literary biographies translated into eight languages that include Tolkien: Man and Myth, C. S. Lewis and The Catholic Church, Literary Converts and Wisdom and Innocence: A Life of G.K. Chesterton. A native of England, Pearce’s recent book Race with the Devil tells of his conversion in 1989 from being a white supremacist leader to faith in Jesus Christ. He is the Director of the Center for Faith and Culture at Aquinas College. Co-sponsored by the Honors Program

Nov. 30 | 10 a.m. | Chapel
Health Care for All

Scott Morris is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Church Health Center in Memphis, the largest such clinic in the U.S., which “seeks to reclaim the Church’s biblical commitment to care for our bodies and our spirits” by serving 58,000 patients each year. He studied at the University of London, has a B.A. from the University of Virginia, an M.Div. from Yale and an M.D. from Emory. Dr. Morris is the author of God, Health & Happiness and serves as associate pastor at St. John's United Methodist Church. Co-sponsored by the College of Health Sciences & Nursing and the College of Pharmacy


Dec. 5 | 10 a.m. | Chapel
Christmas Around the World

The Department of Modern Foreign Languages will help lead this multi-lingual service of Scripture and song.