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Successful Leadership: Casting a bold vision – and following through

Successful Leadership: Casting a bold vision – and following through

October 28, 2022

“Hope is what it takes to pull people together. It’s hard to get pumped up and motivated, but hope can really take you a long ways.”

Dr. Bob Fisher

In this episode of The Beacon Podcast, Lighthouse Counsel Senior Consultant Harry Chapman talks with Dr. Bob Fisher, president emeritus of Belmont University in Nashville.

Bob shares about his visionary leadership at Belmont, where he earned the affectionate nickname “Bob the Builder” by driving more than $1 billion in new construction, renovations and property acquisitions and a fundraising campaign that exceeded its $326 million goal for student scholarships, faculty support, missions, athletics and more.

Bob talks about:

  • What Belmont was like when he first became president in 2000
  • How his vision was received as it unfolded over decades
  • What organizations need to know about being bold and getting buy-in from necessary stakeholders
  • His connection to iconic musician Steve Winwood and how Winwood’s song, “While You See a Chance” informed his tenure at Belmont.

About our Guest

Dr. Bob Fisher served as president of Belmont University from April 2000 through May 2021. Prior to his appointment at Belmont, he was vice president for academic affairs at Arkansas State University and previously had served as dean of the school of business at Henderson State University.

Bob has served the community of Nashville in various roles including chair of the Greater Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, chair of the board of the Pencil Foundation, co-chair of the Mayor’s Task Force on Public Education and as a member of the board for nonprofits such as the Nashville Public Education Foundation, Alignment Nashville, Cumberland Region Tomorrow, United Way, Nashville Symphony, Country Music Hall of Fame, and others.

Under Bob’s leadership, Belmont’s enrollment more than doubled from 2,970 to over 8,400 for the fall of 2019. New undergraduate majors were added in motion pictures, music therapy, publishing, social entrepreneurship, songwriting, worship leadership and public relations as well as doctoral programs in pharmacy and law. In 2008, Belmont hosted the Town Hall Presidential Debate. In the same year, Bob was named “Tennessean of the Year” and in 2010 he was named “Nashvillian of the Year.”

In 2008, Bob and his wife, Judy, co-authored “Life is a Gift: Inspiration from the Soon-Departed,” a book that shares thoughts on living from 105 people in the Alive Hospice Program. He previously co-authored “Real Dream Teams,” a book on team leadership. 

Learn more about Bob and about Belmont at