Belhaven University

Belhaven University ("Belhaven" or "BU") is a private Christian liberal arts university located in Jackson, Mississippi, founded in 1883. The university offers traditional majors, programs of general studies, and pre-professional programs in Christian Ministry, Medicine, Dentistry, Law, and Nursing.

Belhaven has extended its reach geographically and to adult and evening students at satellite campuses for graduate and undergraduate studies in Atlanta, Chattanooga, Dalton. Houston, Madison, Memphis, Orlando, and online programs.

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."[2]

Belhaven University
Belhaven University seal
Former names
Belhaven College for Young Ladies
Belhaven Collegiate and Industrial Institute
Belhaven College
MottoNon Ministari Sed Ministare (Latin)
Motto in English
Not To Be Served But To Serve
PresidentRoger Parrott
Location, ,
ColorsGreen and Gold
AthleticsNCAA Division III
Belhaven University Main Logo


Jones S. Hamilton
Confederate veteran Jones S. Hamilton, whose mansion gave the name to Belhaven University
Belhaven University Stone Sign
Belhaven University stone sign

Belhaven University was founded in 1883 through the merger of the Mississippi Synodical College and The McComb Female Institute. In 1894, the college opened in its current location in Jackson, Mississippi on Peachtree Street in the historic Belhaven Neighborhood.[3]

Belhaven University Fountain
Belhaven University fountain
Belhaven University December 2018 4 (McCravey-Triplett Student Center)
McCravey-Triplett Student Center

The school opened in the residence of Colonel Jones S. Hamilton, a Confederate veteran who became a millionaire after the war through investments in railroads run by convicts he leased.[4] The school took the name Belhaven in honor of Hamilton's mansion, which was named after his ancestral home in Scotland.[5]

In 1921, the Reverend Guy T. Gillespie of Lexington, Mississippi, began a 33-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, a college in Holly Springs, Mississippi which had been opened in 1883.[6] 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.

A major fire devastated the college on August 9, 1927 when lightning struck the school's only building. The columns that stand in the middle of campus are the approximate site of the fire. Today, Fitzhugh and Preston Halls are the remnants of the main building destroyed in the fire.

In 1954, the Board of Trustees voted to allow the enrollment of male students, making Belhaven a fully co-educational institution. The school added men's basketball and men's tennis as intercollegiate sports in 1956. 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.[3] The first singing Christmas tree in the world debuted at Belhaven in 1933.

From 1960 to 1961, Dr. Robert F. Cooper served as acting president until the board selected Dr. Howard J. Cleland, then principal of nearby Murrah High School, to replace him. Under Cleland's 17-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.[7] 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.[3]

Dr. Verne R. Kennedy followed as President, and was the first Belhaven alumnus to serve as the school's chief officer. Kennedy reaffirmed the college's commitment to Christian service and its relationship with various Presbyterian denominations. Under Kennedy, Belhaven joined the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.

By 1995, over 80 percent of Belhaven's faculty held doctoral or equivalent degrees. 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 quadrupled during his tenure.[3]

The school maintains a close church connection. 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.

Name changes

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 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. 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.[3]


Belhaven University offers Bachelor's Degrees in 27 different major areas of study.[8] Master's Degrees are offered in Business Administration, Leadership, Public Administration, Teaching, and Education, among others.[9]

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%).[10]

Fine arts

Belhaven University is nationally accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design,[11] the National Association of Schools of Music,[12] the National Association of Schools of Dance[13] and the National Association of Schools of Theater,[14] making Belhaven one of only 36 colleges and universities accredited in the all four of the major arts (Visual Arts, Music, Dance and Theater).


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. 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.[15]

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.[15]


Belhaven University teams are known as the Blazers. The university is a member of NCAA Division III, primarily competing in the American Southwest Conference (ASC). The Blazers formerly competed in the NAIA. Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, track & field, and tennis; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, soccer, softball, track & field, 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 journeyman 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 had also won the national title in 1992.

Charlie Rugg led the men's tennis team to the 1983 NAIA National Championship.[16]

Notable alumni


  1. ^ NAICU – Member Directory Archived November 9, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Vision, Mission and Statement of Faith for Belhaven University". Retrieved 13 January 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e "History of Belhaven University". Retrieved 13 January 2015.
  4. ^ Olinsky, David M. (1997). Worse Than Slavery: Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice. New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 43. ISBN 9780684822983. OCLC 36812900.
  5. ^ "Collection Title: Hamilton (Jones S.) Pamphlet". McCain Library and Archives. University of Southern Mississippi. Archived from the original on 2015-09-05. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  6. ^ Waibel, Paul (2000). Belhaven College. Mount Pleasant, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing Company. p. 32.
  7. ^ John Howard, Men Like That: A Southern Queer History, Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1999, p.128
  8. ^ "Undergraduate Degree Program: Belhaven University". Retrieved 13 January 2015.
  9. ^ "Belhaven University Adult Completion Degree Programs in Jackson, Orlando, Houston, and Memphis". Retrieved 13 January 2015.
  10. ^ "Belhaven University". Retrieved 13 January 2015.
  11. ^ "Member Lists". Archived from the original on 29 September 2006. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-08-18. Retrieved 2006-09-23.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "Dance Department". Retrieved 13 January 2015.
  14. ^ "Theatre Department". Retrieved 13 January 2015.
  15. ^ a b "Belhaven University Regionally Accreditation". Retrieved 13 January 2015.
  16. ^ "Belhaven University". Retrieved 13 January 2015.
  17. ^ "Joel Bomgar". Mississippi House of Representatives. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  18. ^ "San Francisco 49ers: Tramaine Brock". Archived from the original on 2014-01-02. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
  19. ^ "Opinion - When saying you're black and being black are two different things". Washington Post. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  20. ^ "Black like me?". 11 June 2015. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  21. ^ Pearce, Maria L. La Ganga, Matt. "Rachel Dolezal's story, a study of race and identity, gets 'crazier and crazier'". Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  22. ^ "Rachel Dolezal's Book In Full Color Presents No Good Reason For Her Assumed Blackness". 29 March 2017. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  23. ^ "Mary McCravey". The Clarion Ledger. March 29, 2009. Retrieved May 26, 2017 – via
  24. ^ "Elizabeth Spencer - Writer,". Retrieved 13 January 2015.
  25. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-04-04. Retrieved 2017-04-02.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

External links

Coordinates: 32°19′11″N 90°10′10″W / 32.319829°N 90.169392°W

Angie Thomas

Angie Thomas (born 1988) is an American author, best known for writing the young adult novel The Hate U Give. Her second young adult novel, On the Come Up, was released in February 2019.

Belhaven Blazers

The Belhaven Blazers are composed of 15 teams representing Belhaven University in intercollegiate athletics, competing in the NCAA at the Division III level and are members of the American Southwest Conference.

Belhaven Blazers football

The Belhaven Blazers football program is the intercollegiate American football team for Belhaven University located in the U.S. state of Mississippi. The team competes in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and are members of the Mid-South Conference. Belhaven's first football team was fielded in 1998. The team plays its home games at The Belhaven Bowl Stadium in Jackson, Mississippi. The Blazers are coached by Blaine McCorkle.

Bess Phipps Dawson

Bess Phipps Dawson (1916-1994) was an American painter.

Brian Zbydniewski

Brian David Zbydniewski (/Zeb-ah-new-ski/; born September 15, 1981) is a professional American football quarterback who is currently a free agent. Zbydniewski played college football at Belhaven University after attending prep school at Choctawhatchee High School located in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. During his collegiate career, Zbydniewski set numerous single-game, season, and career passing record.

Clint Rotenberry

Clinton G. Rotenberry Jr. (born January 12, 1953) was a former American politician and businessman.

Born in Mendenhall, Mississippi, Rotenberry went to Belhaven University and is the owner of Rotenberry Realty in Mendenhall, Mississippi. Rotenberry served in the Mississippi House of Representatives from 1992–2007.

Elizabeth Spencer (writer)

Elizabeth Spencer (born July 19, 1921) is an American writer. Spencer's first novel, Fire in the Morning, was published in 1948. She has written a total of nine novels, seven collections of short stories, a memoir (Landscapes of the Heart, 1998), and a play (For Lease or Sale, 1989). Her novella The Light in the Piazza (1960) was adapted for the screen in 1962 and transformed into a Broadway musical of the same name in 2005. She is a five-time recipient of the O. Henry Award for short fiction. She currently lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

George Grant (author)

George Grant (born 1954 in Houston, Texas) is an American evangelical writer, and a Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) pastor.

He was a church planter and pastor in Texas for ten years. He then served as an assistant to D. James Kennedy at the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church and taught at Knox Theological Seminary. Following his move to Tennessee in 1991, Grant founded the King's Meadow Study Center and Franklin Classical School in Franklin. He is the author of more than 60 books and hundreds of articles. He is currently involved in church planting in Middle Tennessee and serves as the pastor of Parish Presbyterian Church in Franklin, Tennessee.

Joel Bomgar

Joel Bomgar (born 1980) is an American businessman and politician. He is the founder of Bomgar, a tech company. He serves in the Mississippi House of Representatives.

Jones S. Hamilton

Jones Stewart Hamilton (April 19, 1833 – January 21, 1907) was an American sheriff, state senator, businessman and Confederate veteran who became a millionaire through investments in railroads run by convicts he leased after the war. His mansion is the namesake of Belhaven University.

Joseph Thrasher

Joseph Thrasher is an American football coach and former player. He is currently the head football coach at the Hartfield Academy in Flowood, Mississippi. Previously Thrasher served as head coach at Bacone College from 2006 to 2008 and Belhaven University from 2009 to 2013.

Marie Hull

Marie Hull (1890-1980) was an American painter. Her work was exhibited in the United States and Europe. In her home state of Mississippi, October 22, 1975 was designated as "Marie Hull Day". Some of her paintings are in the permanent collection of the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson, Mississippi.

Mary Hawkins Butler

Mary Hawkins Butler (born December 12, 1953) has served since 1981 as the Republican Party mayor of Madison in suburban Jackson, Mississippi. Commonly known as "Mayor Mary", she is serving her ninth consecutive four-year term. First elected to office at age twenty-eight, she is among the longest-serving mayors in the United States.

Butler was an alderman prior to her election as mayor. She earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Belhaven University in the capital city of Jackson. In 2010, she graduated from the FBI Citizens Academy Program.

Butler ran unsuccessfully for state auditor in the 2015 elections against incumbent Stacey E. Pickering of Laurel in the Republican primary.

Mary Katherine Loyacano McCravey

Mary Katherine Loyacano McCravey (April 1, 1910 – March 27, 2009) was an American landscape and still life painter. She won the Mississippi Arts Commission's Governor's Excellence in the Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2004.

O. Palmer Robertson

Owen Palmer Robertson (born August 31, 1937 in Jackson, Mississippi) is an American Christian theologian and biblical scholar. He taught at Reformed Theological Seminary, Westminster Theological Seminary, Covenant Theological Seminary, Knox Theological Seminary as well as at the African Bible Colleges of Malawi and Uganda. He also served as principal of the latter institution. Robertson was the first elected male SGA president of Belhaven College (now Belhaven University) in 1957.

Robertson is perhaps best known for his book The Christ of the Covenants. His definition of a biblical covenant being "a bond in blood, sovereignly administered" has been widely discussed.Robertson lives in Uganda with his family: his wife, Joanna, and his sons Elliot, Daniel, and Murráy.

In 2008, a Festschrift was published in his honor. The Hope Fulfilled: Essays in Honor of O. Palmer Robertson (ISBN 1596381159) included contributions by Bruce Waltke, Richard Gaffin, George W. Knight III, Simon J. Kistemaker, Robert L. Reymond, and Morton H. Smith.

Paul Jennings Hill

Paul Jennings Hill (February 6, 1954 – September 3, 2003) was an American minister convicted for the

anti-abortion motivated killing of physician John Britton and Britton's bodyguard James Barrett in 1994. Hill was sentenced to death by lethal injection and was executed on September 3, 2003.

Rachel Dolezal

Nkechi Amare Diallo (born November 12, 1977), born and still commonly known as Rachel Anne Dolezal is an American author, multimedia artist, former college instructor, and former NAACP chapter president. Dolezal is known for claiming to be a black woman while being of European ancestry and having no known African ancestry.

Dolezal was president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) chapter in Spokane, Washington from 2014 until June 2015, when she resigned in the midst of controversy over her racial identity. Dolezal received public scrutiny when her white parents publicly stated that she was passing as black. The statement by Dolezal's parents followed Dolezal's reports to police and local news media that she had been the victim of race-related hate crimes; however, a subsequent police investigation had failed to substantiate her allegations. Dolezal had also identified herself as mixed-race on an application and had claimed that an African-American man was her father. In the aftermath of the controversy, Dolezal was dismissed from her position as an Instructor in Africana Studies at Eastern Washington University and was removed from her post as Chair of the Police Ombudsman Commission in Spokane over "a pattern of misconduct." Later in 2015, Dolezal acknowledged that she had been "born white to white parents", but maintained that she self-identified as black.

The Dolezal controversy fueled a national debate in the United States about racial identity. Dolezal's critics stated that she committed cultural appropriation and fraud; Dolezal and her defenders asserted that her self-identification is genuine, even though it is not based on race or ancestry. In 2017, Dolezal released a memoir on her racial identity entitled In Full Color: Finding My Place in a Black and White World.

Dolezal was charged by the State of Washington with felony theft by welfare fraud and second degree perjury in May 2018. The matter was settled in a diversion agreement; Dolezal agreed to repay the welfare funds and to perform community service.

Ted Baehr

Millard Robert E. Theodore Baehr (born 1946) is an American media critic and Chairman of the Christian Film and Television Commission, a division of Good News Communications, Inc. He is publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Movieguide, a website and biweekly journal that evaluates motion pictures and other entertainment products from a conservative Christian perspective on suitability for family consumption. He also hosts nationally and internationally syndicated Movieguide radio and television programs. The organization's mission is

to redeem the values of the mass media of entertainment, according to biblical principles, by influencing industry executives and artists and by informing and educating the public about the influence of the entertainment media and about how to train their families to become media-wise, so they can choose the good and reject the bad.

Tramaine Brock

Tramaine Brock Sr. (born August 20, 1988) is an American football cornerback for the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Belhaven University and the University of Minnesota before signing with the San Francisco 49ers as an undrafted free agent in 2010.

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