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Belmont president speaks to Rotary
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Belmont president Dr. L. Gregory Jones addresses members of the Rotary Club of McMinnville at Central Church of Christ on Thursday.

The goal of Belmont University is more than producing doctors and lawyers.

It’s about shaping people who will make a difference.

Belmont University president Dr. L. Gregory Jones told members of the Rotary Club of McMinnville on Thursday that education is crucial to producing community-minded individuals. 

“We want to develop people willing to chart new pathways that allow communities to flourish,” said Jones. “We want to focus on a vision of improving communities in sustainable ways that reduce dependencies.”

Dr. Jones was appointed president of Belmont in February 2021 and officially assumed his duties last summer. He said the U.S. has been its strongest throughout history at times when our citizens were dedicated to improving schools and healthcare and reducing poverty.

He says education is a way to percolate creative thinking which, in turn, leads to innovation.

“It was found the No. 1 thing you can do to improve the health of 5-year-old children in Africa is to educate their mothers,” said Jones, who indicated that education would give the mother tools to think on her own and make things better.

Jones said a reason for the great resignation and all the people leaving the workforce is because they are struggling to find a purpose in their work.

“The great resignation is really people saying they are opting out of society. They are no longer engaged,” said Jones. “Education and learning are the keys to finding solutions instead of just finding a paycheck with no value in your work.”

Jones also says America needs a renewed commitment to the common good. 

He said long-term solutions are needed to reduce problems of dependency where people are taking from society instead of doing their part to contribute to it.

Jones came to Nashville after serving many years as dean of the Duke University Divinity School as well as a term as vice president and as provost of that prestigious institution.