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Can I Laugh On Your Shoulder?

Mar 1, 2023

My guest this week is Greg Jones, president of Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. A celebrated speaker, author, educator and business leader, Greg believes in supporting communities through hope-inspired leadership and instilling a sense of purpose and entrepreneurial mindset in the next generation.

Greg speaks all throughout the Middle Tennessee area and beyond on a variety of related topics and is excited about his work across campus and throughout the Nashville community. Under Greg’s leadership, Belmont is furthering its efforts to become the leading Christ-centered University in the world, radically championing the pursuit of life abundant for all people.

5:01 – Greg 101

  • Greg comes from a family of preachers and jokes that he didn’t know he had a choice to be anything else.
  • Two years ago, he got a call asking if he’d be interested in leading Belmont University.
  • Character, purpose and an entrepreneurial mindset – those are all passions of his.

12:35 – Let hope abound

  • He asks Belmont students to call him “Greg.”
  • He uses the phrase, “Let hope abound,” to account for the realities of the day while still staying hopeful and relying on God.

16:30 – A theme of innovation

  • Greg has a propensity towards innovation and is cultivating relationships across the globe.
  • Hope and purpose are both oriented toward the future, and so is innovation. They’re also connected to the past.
  • He coined the term “traditioned innovation” and says the best innovation draws on the best of the past.

23:36 – Mental health

  • The pandemic caused people to be isolated, and their mental health declined.
  • Greg wants to get to the deeper issues and help students who are struggling.

39:39 – Spreading stories

  • Greg wants Belmont to spread good stories and help educate a younger generation about the difference they can make in creative ways.

43:18 – Get to know you

  • The last thing that made him laugh? A video from one of his granddaughters.
  • The last thing that made him cry? Visiting a friend who is now in hospice care.


I come from a family of preachers. When people asked me why I went into the ministry, I said, “It’s the family business. I didn't know I had a choice.”

Character, purpose and an entrepreneurial mindset – those are all passions of mine.

I coined the term that I call “traditioned innovation” to say that the best of innovation draws on the best of the past.

We need to be nurturing imagination and recovering that bigger sense of who we are.