Who is Miss Fanny Bright?

There is no official answer to that question that I could find.  There are many different theories as to who (or what) that may be.

James Lord Pierpont (1822-1893)–related to the J.P. Morgan of corporate finance fame–wrote and published the song under the title “One Horse Open Sleigh.”  Although it is now associated with Christmas, it was meant for the American Thanksgiving holiday.  There is a plaque  in the center of Medford Square in Medford, Massachusetts that claims it as the “birthplace” of “Jingle Bells.”  And, apparently, it is thought that the song was inspired by the town’s sleigh races during the 19th century.  


All this and still no answer to “Who is Miss Fanny Bright?” BUT, on December 5 and 6 at 7:30 you can hear Belhaven folks sing “Jingle Bells” among many other favored Christmas songs.  You may even hear (as has been sung before):

“A day or two ago
I thought I’d take a ride
And soon, Miss Bettye Quinn
Was seated by my side.”

It will make you smile!  Make plans to attend the 82nd Belhaven Singing Christmas Tree this year.  And, go ahead and make your gift to The Belhaven Fund for Student Scholarships in order to receive your very own commemorative Singing Christmas Tree Ornament.

Upcoming Belhaven events and why you should attend!!


Fall Dance Concert is here!!

This year will showcase the choreography of dance faculty and guest artists from the Belhaven University Dance Ensemble at the Bitsy Irby Visual Arts and Dance Center Studio. Styles will include classical and contemporary ballet and contemporary modern dance.

Performance dates include:

Friday, November 7, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 8, 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Friday, November 14, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 15, 7:30 p.m.

General admission for the performance will be $10. Admission for seniors and non-Belhaven students will be $5. Admission will be complimentary for Belhaven faculty, staff, students and immediate families.

Why should you attend?  Because our students are making a difference in the lives of others!

Korea 2014 Dance at Hospital Korea 2014Dance at retirementcenter Korea 2014Cynthia Newland, Associate Professor of Dance and Chair of the Dance Department said, “I am looking forward to our department offering the University and community the occasion to experience high quality art created by artists who continue to make an impact in secular and sacred arenas. Our students are blessed to be given the opportunity to work with artists in the greater field of dance. These guest artists work on our students’ behalf to make connections to the world of dance, fulfilling the mission of the university.” 

Our dance students have an impact that reaches beyond the Jackson Metro area. During the Belhaven University Dance Department’s 5 weeks (May-June 2014) tour three faculty members and nine students traveled throughout South Korea. Faculty members Cynthia Newland and Laura Morton drove the Korea Dance Ensemble nearly 3,000 miles, traveled to 13 cities and performed at 33 venues. The aims of the trip were successfully accomplished as the Ensemble brought the truth and hope of Jesus Christ through the art of dance to both Christian and non-Christian. The group offered dance teachings and performance to a variety of settings including K-12 schools, colleges and universities, churches, theaters, a retirement center and hospital.

What motivates you to support Belhaven?

I received an appeal from RUF (Reformed University Fellowship) in the mail last night.  I opened it and read with great care of the things happening in that organization.  There was a little tug on my heart and I told my husband, “we should give to that.”  Then we reminisced for a bit about our personal RUF experiences.

There is a tug on my heart when I remember the impact Belhaven had on my life.  The Lord used this place and the Faculty therein to change my life for the better.  It pulls on my heart strings and I am motivated give.  I give to Belhaven because I believe in her mission, the Faculty and the execution of her training.

It is my job to raise awareness and money for Belhaven.  While some would hem-and-haw over that, I really enjoy my job.  I love the people.  I love the process.  I love Belhaven for what she is.  And that motivates me to give. What motivates you?

Homecoming 2014 Schedule of Events

Schedule of Events

Thursday, October 16, 2014
5:00pm Women’s Soccer vs. University of Mobile
(on campus)
7:30pm Men’s Soccer vs. University of Mobile
(on campus)
Friday, October 17, 2014
8:00am Discover Day Admission Program
A day for prospective Blazers and their families to enjoy the campus!
Contact the Office of Admission for more info at 601.968.5940, or admission@belhaven.edu
6:00pm Class of 1964 Fifty Year Reunion
(Patsy Bozeman Skinner Home) – The Class of ’64 will reunite to share wonderful memories and renew treasured friendships.  RSVP to Beth Whitney or call Becky Wilson @ 601.669.1365
6:00pm Biology Panel
(Barber Auditorium)  For more information, please contact Al Chestnut or Beth Whitney. 
Saturday, October 18, 2014
9:30-10:30am Fifty Year Club Annual Fall Meeting
(Joy Lackey Room, McCravey-Triplett Student Center)
11:00am-1:00pm Alumni Luncheon
(Newt and Becky Wilson Hall on Riverside) – This year, we will dedicate the Wilson Hall in memory of Newt and in honor of Becky during our luncheon. It will be picnic style so dress casually!  RSVP to Beth Whitney 
1:30pm Blazers Football vs. Reinhardt University
(H.T. Newell Field)
7:30pm Belhaven Community Dance Concert
(Center for the Arts)

What Belhaven Means to Jackson–in 1934

Bear with me.  I know this post is long, but so worth it.  This was published in 1934:

“Jackson cannot be imagined without our beloved Belhaven in its midst, radiating not only to the limits of our city, the limits of our state, but the limits of the Southland, its beautiful influence is felt.  Here we find not only conditions and facilities for the training of the mind and of the aesthetic nature, but as well of the moral and spiritual side of young womanhood.  It will be almost impossible to estimate the great worth which Belhaven gives to the community.

Let us look at some of those activities;  first of all Belhaven is a Christian institution.  The fundamental stone in its foundation lies in its teaching and acting The Word of Christ.  The alumnae of Belhaven go out into all corners of the state to take their place in the religious work of their communities. The motto of Belhaven is ‘Not to be ministered unto, but to minister’ and the member of the Belhaven community carry this motto into Jackson in large measure.

The cultural side of Jackson also is nourished by the Fine Arts Department of Belhaven; The School of Music is a source of much pleasure to the music lovers of the community.  Its Glee Club travels throughout the state every spring bringing Belhaven’s message of goodwill to others.  The Art Department of Belhaven pictures its scenic beauty in living canvasses.  Exhibitions are held every year at the College.

Belhaven’s influence is felt again through the message it sends into print.  Poetry, equal to that of the greatest masters of old, gladdens the hearts of the literary minded of Jackson.  Its student publications are interesting, not only to the Alumnae of the College, but others in Jackson…

Some one has said that ‘the strength of a building is no greater than its foundation.’  As we look backward to its beginning, surely Belhaven has built well, proof which comes by a glance, not alone at the beautiful buildings which have arisen to take the place of the old inadequate equipment but from the very beautiful character of those who have led our girls so splendidly along the path, so critical a time, from youth to womanhood.

The high standards of the College from its arising Phoenix like, form its ashes of the long ago, have reflected the sound scholarship, the educational wisdom, the deep spirituality of her leaders.”

While 80 years have passed since this publishing, many things still ring true for Belhaven and her contribution to the city of Jackson.  Belhaven’s campus still possesses the beauty which is referred to in this writing.  The cultural side of Jackson is still being influenced by Belhaven’s Fine Arts Department–plays, musical performances, art exhibitions, THE SINGING CHRISTMAS TREE (see the last post)–open to the public, for the greater good and enjoyment of the community.  And, not in the least of importance, is the “character of those who have led our girls so splendidly along the path, so critical a time, from youth to womanhood.”  We can insert “students” for girls and “adulthood” for womanhood and the sentence remains a testament to Belhaven’s Faculty and staff.

Prepare for Christmas…and help a student!

According to commercials, Christmas is “just around the corner.”  Yet, as I write this, it feels like it’s 100 degrees outside!

But we have good reason to consider Christmas in September–the upcoming Singing Christmas Tree!  This year marks the 82nd Annual Singing Christmas Tree and to commemorate that, we have commissioned a special Singing Christmas Tree ornament.  Belhaven’s Singing Christmas Tree is the first and oldest outdoor singing tree event in the country.  I have loved this project–I was a part of the Singing Christmas Tree for years!  Now I enjoy the excitement my children possess while watching the tree.  This ornament was fashioned after an actual picture of a Belhaven Singing Christmas Tree.



For a limited time, any gift of $82 or more to The Belhaven Fund for Student Scholarships will mean an ornament for your Christmas tree this holiday season.  Eighty-two alumni and friends celebrating the 82nd Singing Christmas Tree through an $82 gift to The Belhaven Fund for Student Scholarships could mean a semester of classes for a deserving student.  Plus, your gift will be tax deductible.*  To secure your Belhaven Singing Christmas Tree ornament, make your gift today through our online giving form or email Beth Whitney at bwhitney@belhaven.edu.

*Tax receipts will show the gift minus the cost of the ornament.


A perspective on communication

“The shrill and harsh tones that so often encumber Christian speech need to be tempered with a humility that listens deeply to and a grace that sympathizes profoundly with the diversity of people, ideas and experiences one encounters. Unless we can see and feel the ambiguity and complexity of our world’s experience within our own selves and within our own experience, we will have nothing to say to them. And it is in this context of authentic engagement with an uncertain and often perplexing world, riddled with suffering, conflict, confusion, and strife, that we reaffirm the singularity of our devotion to the world’s true Lord, who alone will lead the entire cosmos to the time when all wrongs will be made right, and all hurts will be healed.”

–Richard Liantonio, On The Road To Emmaus

The wonders of Belhaven professors are spoken of over and over again in my department.  We hear it from alumni, friends of the University, residents in the Belhaven neighborhood and current students.  I can speak to the truth of that from my own experience as well.

Liantonio uses the words “shrill and harsh” to describe some Christian speech.  I appreciate his articulation of this type of communication because once upon a time that was my voice.  It is sad, but true.  And, it hurt.  The fool in me believed that I could argue someone into the faith…if I could just deliver to them the truth, if I could give irrefutable evidence of God, then they would have no option but to come on over to my corner of the ring.  Let me tell you, that was a sad and lonely corner.  And, yet, my professors at Belhaven showed nothing but grace and humility in exposing my folly.   My own salvation came not from the voice of ridicule and sternness, but through the love that came from patient and sincere speech.

The Key to Success

“If you believe the new Gallup-Purdue Index Report, a survey of 30,000 American college graduates on issues of employment, job engagement, and well-being, it all comes down to old-fashioned values and human connectedness.”

–Scott Carlson, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Every week my desk sees the delivery of a large paper entitled, The Chronicle of Higher Education.  Last week there was an article that caught my eye:  “A Caring Professor:  the Key, All Too Rare, in How Graduates Thrive.”  The article indicates that in job placement, engagement, and success, relationships with professors makes the difference.  University students with significant relationships with professors, advisors, and college staff had a greater sense of purpose and relational skills useful in their occupational outcomes.

Every graduating class receives a “New Alumni Participation Survey” from our office.  In one question, the new graduate is asked, “What do you remember most about your time at Belhaven?”  It never fails that the answer is relationships–faculty that care, students that engage with one another, and an environment that fosters the sharing of ideas.

So I say, “Congrats, Belhaven!”  You are ahead of the curve, and the Gallup-Purdue Index Report is just now asking the right questions!

Take Me To Church

I listen to a good deal of music.  More work gets done that way, so I am busy bopping along to OK GO as I write this.

In the past few weeks, a song entitled “Take Me To Church” has come across my shuffling playlist.  There is one poignant line that sticks out to me:  “I’ll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife.”  Often, this is how people feel about church–it was an experience of judgment and pain rather than hope and safety.  We are comfortably situated right smack-dab in the middle of the Bible belt,  and we tend to overlook the idea that there are those around us who are unchurched.  And at Belhaven, we are privy to see this truth as it is fleshed out in the lives of some students.  Many lost and hurting souls who feel abandoned by the church find themselves at Belhaven in class with peers and professors who care about them, who ask about them, and, more importantly, who pray for them.

I have had two interactions in the last few weeks wherein a student or graduate was commending Belhaven for her magnificent Faculty.  To quote one, “I had lost my hope in the church until coming to Belhaven.  One particular professor demonstrated to me that hope does still lie in the people that make up the church.  I have returned.”

Our identifier is “Our Standard is Christ.”  Dr. Roger Parrott, President of Belhaven, said, “Jesus prayed, taught, mentored, and loved in ways that connected eternal life with earthly life.”   At the end of the day, what it boils down to is that we are created to be in relationship–with God and others.  The personal investment of Belhaven Faculty in their students bridges that gap for many students.  Praise the Lord for such faithfulness!

What makes Belhaven unique?

In a recent conversation about the last blog, someone asked me, “What  makes Belhaven any different from any other small Christian college?”  The question pulled me up short of a sufficient answer.  Would not they say the same things…”the Faculty care about me” or “the people are like a second family”?  So, I fell asleep wrestling with those questions.

What I finally came to was this:  Belhaven is greater than the sum of all her parts.  Belhaven is made up of caring Staff and Faculty.  Her people perpetuate her good name and significant history.  Her quality and standards reflect a sincere love for Christ.  The Belhaven family, flawed and all, is an extension of our lives (home, church, etc.).  I asked myself (probably aloud as I tend to often talk to myself), “What made Belhaven unique for me?”

Simple.  Her people:  Dr. Wynn Kenyon.  Dr. and Mrs. Martin.  Angela Willoughby.  Dr. Al Chestnut.  Monica Thomas.  John Mark Whitney (insert smiley face).

The campus has always been pretty.  The food has always been sufficient (now, it’s a down-right smorgasbord).  And every class will define their time differently, “Oh, remember when we …fed the ducks down at the lake…danced in the fountain…walked through the gardens on campus…created a fine rendition of Fiddler on the Roof…wore hats and hose…studied/worked/lived in the Pub…competed in Green and Gold day…held May Day festivities…”

My point is made.  What made Belhaven unique for you?