Belmont University has received Thursday a $10.5 million gift from a well-known Nashville entrepreneur and founder of Franklin Financial Bank, Gordon Inman.
The donation is slated for the construction of Belmont’s 100,000 square-foot College of Health Sciences & Nursing, which will bear Inman’s name.
Inman, who has been a Belmont board member for 12 years and has recently started a new three-year term, told NashvillePost.com that it took him two years to decide on the donation.
“Why Belmont?” he said during the unveiling ceremony at the Jack C. Massey boardroom, which attracted some 200 people and had no standing room. “I’ve always had a passion for Belmont because it is a Christian school. I’ve always had a passion for the nursing program. I’m pleased that the university has undertaken its partnership with HCA. And then, one other reason why I chose Belmont—this guy is a hell of a salesman,” said Inman, walking over from the podium and putting his index finger on the head of university president Robert Fisher, who was seated nearby. “Dr. Fisher had a lot to do with my final decision to do this today.”
“Christmas has come early to Belmont,” said Fisher.
A serial and accomplished entrepreneur who learned the ins and outs of real estate business from his longtime friend and mentor, Dr. Tom Frist Sr., Inman said he was proud of the architecture of the nursing facility which is currently under construction. “This will be a landmark building in Nashville, Tennessee, after we’re all gone.”
Beyond the members of Inman’s sizeable family, the ceremony attracted Congressman Jim Cooper, State Sen. Jim Bryson, University Chancellor Herbert Gabhart, and George Schaefer, chief executive of Fifth Third Bank, where Inman is chairman since the merger with Franklin Financial in 2003.
“I hope they’ve taped this because we’ll use it at my funeral and I’ll be honored,” said Inman during his opening remarks. Wearing his uniform reddish tie and a white shirt, Inman concluded with: “God bless you and happy holidays to Belmont.”
Other large gifts the university has received in recent years are: a $10 million gift from Mike Curb for the Curb Event Center, a $9 million gift from The Beaman Family Foundation for the Beaman Student Life Center, a $5.5 million gift from The Maddox Foundation for the Maddox Grand Atrium, and a $7.5 million gift from HCA’s MidAmerica Division for a new Health Sciences Building.
- ALEX B FRUIN INHERITANCE TRUST; CANDACE F STEFANSIC INHERITANCE TRUST; CANDANCE F STEFANSIC INHERITANCE TRUST; FRUIN, ALEX B TRUSTEE; FRUIN ALEX B INHERITANCE TRUST; STEFANSIC, CANDACE F TRUSTEE; STEFANSIC CANDACE F INHERITANCE TRUST; STEFANSIC CANDANCE F INHERITANCE TRUST
- ROSS, BRIDGETT D
- COOKE, ETHEN LANYARD TRUSTEE; COOKE, ETHEN LEWIS ESTATE
- JACOBS, JESSICA ALEXANDRA; JACOBS, ERIKA BESS