|Motto||Non Ministari Sed Ministare (Latin)|
|Motto in English||Not To Be Served But To Serve|
|Location||Jackson, Mississippi, United States|
Belhaven University ("Belhaven" or "BU") is a private Christian liberal arts university located in Jackson, Mississippi. Founded by Dr. Lewis Fitzhugh and later donated to the Presbyterian Church in the United States, the school has been independently run by a Board of Trustees since 1972. Belhaven is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award Associate, Baccalaureate, and Master's Degrees. Twenty-seven Bachelor's Degrees and eight Master's Degrees are offered. In addition to traditional majors, programs of general studies are available. There are also pre-professional programs in Christian Ministry, Medicine, Dentistry, Law, and Nursing.
Belhaven teaches from a "Christian Worldview Curriculum" and defines its mission as preparing "students academically and spiritually to serve Jesus Christ in their careers, in human relationships, and in the world of ideas."1
The University's oldest buildings, Fitzhugh and Preston Halls, surround Gillespie Commons and Belhaven Lagoon.
In 1894, Belhaven College was chartered by Doctor Lewis Fitzhugh as the "Belhaven College for Young Ladies" in a house on Boyd Street in Jackson, Mississippi. The name "Belhaven" was chosen as it was the ancestral home of Colonel Jones S. Hamilton in Scotland, the former owner of the house. A fire destroyed the main building in February, 1895, but with the help of Jackson citizens, the college reopened in the fall of 1896 at the same site. Fitzhugh served as president until his death in 1904, upon which his heirs sold the college to Doctor J. R. Preston, who operated the school until it was again destroyed by a fire in 1910. Preston then donated the title of the college to the Presbyterian Church, marking the beginning of Belhaven's religious affiliation.2
In September, 1911, the school was reopened by The Central Mississippi Presbytery as Belhaven Collegiate and Industrial Institute at the current site on Peachtree Street in the historic Belhaven Neighborhood. It was then merged with The McComb Female Institute. Dr. R. V. Lancaster became the third president as the two institutions merged. In 1915 the Board of Trustees changed the school's name to Belhaven College. During these years improved curricula guidelines and student services were established. Dr. W. H. Frazier succeeded Lancaster as president from 1918–21, and during his tenure enrollment grew to 230 students.2
In 1921, the Reverend Guy T. Gillespie of Lexington, Mississippi, began a thirty-three-year presidency during which Belhaven was first accredited, an endowment fund begun, and scholarships made available. In 1939, Belhaven was merged with the Mississippi Synodical College, which had been opened in 1883. This date was adopted by the Board of Trustees as the official founding date of Belhaven as it represented the oldest founding date of all of the institutions which were eventually absorbed into the college. In 1954, the Board of Trustees voted to allow the enrollment of male students, making Belhaven a fully co-educational institution. Dr. McFerran Crowe succeeded Gillespie as President and over the next six years he expanded and upgraded the faculty, while also reorganizing and modernizing business operations.2 The first singing Christmas tree in the world debutted at Belhaven in 1933.
From 1960 to 1961, Dr. Robert F. Cooper served as acting president until the board selected Dr. Howard J. Cleland to replace him. Under Cleland's seventeen-year tenure an ambitious expansion program resulted in six major new buildings, while enrollment and the college budget tripled. In 1965, a faculty member was fired for being gay.3 In 1972, the Synod of Mississippi officially transferred ownership of the college to the board of trustees, making Belhaven a fully independent college. In March, 1978, Doctor Verne R. Kennedy became the first Belhaven alumnus to serve as the chief executive of Belhaven College. In his eight years as president he reaffirmed the commitment to Christian service and the covenant relationship with the Presbyterian Church, and installed a more efficient administrative structure. In June 1986, another alumnus of Belhaven, Dr. Newton Wilson, became president. His nine-year term saw the greatest growth in the history of the college, from just over 600 students to more than 1,100.2
By 1995, over 80 percent of Belhaven's faculty held doctoral or equivalent degrees. The college also extended its outreach in nontraditional venues, with expanded course offerings for adult and evening students. Dr. Daniel C. Fredericks served as acting president in 1995. In January 1996, Doctor Roger Parrott became the tenth president of the college, with about 1,300 enrolled students. Under his leadership, Belhaven has added seven major buildings, a variety of new undergraduate academic majors and graduate programs, intercollegiate football, campuses in Memphis, Orlando, Houston, Chattanooga, and Atlanta, online programs, the "Christian Worldview Curriculum", and earned national accreditation in all four of the major arts (Music, Theater, Visual Arts, and Dance). The size of the student body has nearly tripled during his tenure.2
Today, many faculty and staff members are drawn from various Presbyterian denominations, primarily the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Presbyterian Church in America, and the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. The college receives both financial support and students from these three denominations as well.
Belhaven University offers Bachelor's Degrees in twenty-seven different major areas of study including Accounting, Art (Visual Arts), Arts Administration, Biblical Studies and Ministries, Biology, Business Administration, Chemistry, Classical Education, Communication, Creative Writing, Dance, Elementary Education, English, Graphic Design, History, Humanities, International Studies, Mathematics, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Social Services, Sports Administration, Sports Medicine and Exercise Science, Sports Ministry and Theater. Pre-Professional Programs are also offered in Christian Ministry, Medicine, Dentistry, Law, Nursing, and Medical Technology.4
Students graduating with a high grade point average (GPA) may receive Latin Honors during graduation, including Cum Laude for a GPA above 3.4, Magna Cum Laude for a GPA above 3.7, and Summa Cum Laude for a GPA above 3.9. Students who have transferred to Belhaven and who have earned a GPA of 3.4 or higher but have not earned more than sixty-four hours of credit at the university may graduate "with honors", although this is not considered a Latin Honor.6 Belhaven University students may be invited to participate in Belhaven's Honors College during their Freshman or Sophomore year provided they have a GPA of 3.5 or higher and an ACT score of 27 or higher or an SAT score of 1220 or higher as well as the sponsorship of at least one professor.7
The five most popular majors among 2009 graduates were Visual and Performing Arts (22%), Business, Management, Marketing, and related support services (17%), Health and Physical Education/Fitness (11%), Education (9%), and Psychology (8%).8
Belhaven is currently in the process of introducing a major in Nursing. The plan is for a complete nursing major to be in effect Fall 2014. 9
Belhaven is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Departments offering specific majors are further accredited as follows: The Department of Music is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music, the Department of Art is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, the Department of Dance is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD), and the Department of Theater is accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Theater.10
Belhaven University, through its School of Business Administration, has the following degree programs accredited by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education: Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.), Master of Science in Leadership, Master of Science in Management, Bachelor of Science in Accounting, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Bachelor of Business Administration, and Bachelor of Science in Management.10
Belhaven University teams are known as the Blazers. The university is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC), while competing in the Mid-South Conference for football. The Blazers formerly competed in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC). Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer and tennis; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball.
The football program, established in 1998 under head coach Norman Joseph, remains the largest and most popular sports team on campus. The Belhaven Blazers are the mascots for all teams and Belhaven's colors are Green and Gold. In 2014, Belhaven named legendary coach Hal Mumme as its new head football coach. Mumme replaced Joseph Thrasher, who coached the Blazers for five seasons.
The Men's Soccer team won the 2012 NAIA National Championship compiling a record of 19-4-1. Men's soccer also won the national title in 1982, and Charlie Rugg led the men's tennis team to the 1983 NAIA National Championship. 11
The Belhaven University Board of Trustees approved Belhaven to apply to join NCAA Division III. The plan is for Belhaven to play its last year 2014-15 in NAIA. Belhaven's competition in the American Southwest Conference will start Fall 2015. 12
Belhaven University is nationally accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design,13 the National Association of Schools of Music,14 the National Association of Schools of Dance15 and the National Association of Schools of Theater,16 making Belhaven one of only 33 colleges and universities accredited in the all four of the major arts (Visual Arts, Music, Dance and Theater). Belhaven is also the only Christian university in the United States offering a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in Creative Writing.
Belhaven has gone through various name changes over the years. Four major name changes have taken place, although the name "Belhaven" has been common to them all. The school was originally founded as "Belhaven College for Young Ladies" in 1894. After the original location burned in a fire in 1910, Belhaven was reopened as "The Belhaven Collegiate and Industrial Institute" in 1911 at its current location on Peachtree Street in the historic Belhaven Neighborhood in Jackson, Mississippi. In 1915, the Board of Trustees further changed the school's name to "Belhaven College". In December, 2009, President Roger Parrott announced that the Board of Trustees had voted unanimously to change the name from "Belhaven College" to the current name of "Belhaven University", effective on January 1, 2010. Among the reasons cited for the name change were the addition of several new graduate programs of study and a total enrollment of more than 3,000 students across four locations, including over 500 graduate students.2
- John Brady, former head basketball coach, Louisiana State University, and current head coach of Arkansas State University.
- Tramaine Brock, current NFL cornerback for the San Francisco 49ers. 17
- Elizabeth Spencer, author of The Light in the Piazza. 18
- Joel Bomgar, founder and CEO of Bomgar, a leading remote support solution.
- Joey Stroble, CEO of Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance.
- T. Andrew Mattiace, Owner and General Managing Partner for The Mattiace Company, one of the South's largest commercial real estate firms.
- Jeremy Nelson, President and Chief Investment Officer for Pinnacle Trust.
- Andrew Camenisch, Noted artist known for his work as lead sculptor for the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
- John Howard, Men Like That: A Southern Queer History, Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1999, p.128
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- U.S. New & World Report - Best Colleges - Belhaven University