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Charles and I married on a Thursday night in 1969 after my sophomore year at Belmont – pretty sure I had my last exam on the Tuesday before! I had already been working part-time while I was in school. But once a married lady, I felt the need to drop out to work full time at least for the next year. At the age of 19, I was no college expert by any means. But I knew Belmont was important to me, and I wanted to finish my degree there, and graduate with my class. So at the end of that next year and with Charles’s blessing, I re-enrolled and started taking hours - and hours! - of courses, cramming two years into one. I still had a couple left by our 1971 graduation date, but the administration let me walk with my class and receive a pretend diploma until I could finish earning the real one.

Over the years, I have been so proud of my alma mater. Belmont is the largest Christian university in Tennessee. The school ranked No. 5 in the Regional Universities South category and was named “Most Innovative” university by U.S. News and World Report in 2016. Belmont hosted the 2008 Town Hall Presidential Debate and serves as a backup for a current one.

So I am doubly honored to receive an official invitation to be the speaker for the Belmont University Auxiliary Partners’ Fall Scholarship Luncheon on October 20. This deal is lots of fun. The President, Dr. Bob Fisher, and his wife Judy are always there. They have each shared personal stories with me or others about “Hey, God? Yes, Charles.”, which I appreciate more than I can say. You may remember Harry Chapman from his channel 5 news anchor and “Talk of the Town” days. Harry is our incomparable master of ceremonies and so funny and has shown such interest in the book. But the real hero is the organization itself.

Through the years, Belmont Auxiliary Partners has provided scholarships for deserving students who otherwise might not have an opportunity for a Christian education. The Advisory Board works tirelessly to support this mission and depends on the group’s members to provide the funding. Thousands of dollars in scholarships have been awarded. These scholarships have changed lives.

Thank you Belmont. Thank you for my education and for working so hard to make this education available to others. I sure look forward to seeing you again next month.

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