Why A Well-Rounded Liberal Arts Education Matters


By Mr. Daniel Shaw, Belhaven University Professor and Admission Counselor 

I’m an accounting major—why do I have to study literature? So runs the common question. In fact, a student of mine posed it to me just last week. Every honest student asks this question in one form or another—even those who love literature. I’m not shocked by it because, even after earning two degrees in English, I continue to ask myself the same thing. Aren’t there more productive ways to spend one’s time?

The difficultly in answering the questions is simply deciding where to start. But first there is usually a bit of pride that needs exposing, and I have no qualms in turning the question around: “Why shouldn’t we study literature?” Why shouldn’t we have to grapple with the fundamental questions of our own humanity?  Why shouldn’t we be forced to recognize that we are part of a much larger story?

Literature has, among many others, a humbling effect. It shows us that we are not the center of the universe and, happily, that we are not the first person to experience triumphs or confusion or loss. I say “happily” because there is sympathy to be had and self-pity to be lost. But ultimately it leaves us longing for one who can truly “sympathize with our weaknesses, […] who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.”

Good literature asks, “What is man?”  Scripture poses the same inquiry. However, it does not stop there but adds, “that you are mindful of him.” Literature shows us that, in one sense, we are indeed small and insignificant. That is reason enough to read. But the good news is that there is a God, all-powerful and transcendent, who nevertheless remains very much mindful of us.

Alumni Invited to Participate in 84th Singing Christmas Tree


The 84th edition of the Belhaven University Singing Christmas Tree is scheduled for December 2-3 at 7:30 p.m. in the newly completed Belhaven Bowl Stadium.

The event, which is billed as the nation’s oldest outdoor singing Christmas tree, has been a staple on campus since 1932. Thousands of students have participated over the years, and this year, they are being invited back to relive the joy of singing on the tree!

The brand new Belhaven Bowl Stadium gives the University an opportunity to expand the number of voices heard during the singing Christmas tree. Seats around the tree can comfortably accommodate up to 250 alumni singers.

The Belhaven Singing Christmas Tree began 84 years ago

The Belhaven Singing Christmas Tree began in 1932.

Interested alumni can participate by simply completing this form and let us know which of the following rehearsal times you can attend.

Day rehearsals are at 12 p.m. on November 28 – December 2 
Night time rehearsal are at 7 p.m. on November 28 – December 1

Thousands of students have sang on the tree over the years.

Thousands of students have sang on the tree over the years.

Alumni will sing a select number of songs during the concert, and only one rehearsal is required to take part in the singing Christmas tree again. Don’t forget to sign-up for the alumni reception at 6:00 p.m. in the Dr. Billy Kim International Center foyer before each performance. If you need additional information, contact Mr. Christopher Phillips at singingchristmastree@belhaven.edu or 601-974-6497.