Commencement Activities Scheduled for Graduating Seniors

Graduating seniors, the time is here.

Belhaven University will host its commencement exercises on Saturday, May 9 at Thalia Mara Hall. The traditional ceremony will begin at 9:30 am. Adult, graduate and online students will be honored in a 2:30 pm ceremony. Ceremonies are ticketed events, and are not open to the general public.

Mrs. Robbie Hughes will be the featured commencement speaker. Hughes has been a delegate to the Republican National Convention and has been recognized as a Philanthropist of the Year by the Mississippi Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Her $4 million gift to the university helped to build the new University Village, which is set to open in the fall.

The Alumni Reception is scheduled for 5:30 pm on Friday in the Student Center lobby. The event is open to those who have returned their RSVPs. Graduates will also be recognized with a baccalaureate service on Friday night. The event will begin at 7:30 pm and take place at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Jackson.

 

Annual Singing Christmas Tree Scheduled for Weekend

In 1933, a group of faculty and students, led by music professor Mignonne Caldwell, had the idea to construct a wooden frame for the campus choir to stand on while performing traditional Christmas carols. Some 82 years later, that moment shines bright as America’s Oldest Singing Christmas Tree, a Belhaven University tradition.

This year’s performance, open to the public, takes place on December 5 and 6 at 7:30 p.m in the Athletic Bowl at the center of campus. This wonderful community event has been highlighted by the likes of Southern Living Magazine, and named among the top 20 events in the Southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society.

Ms. Bettye Quinn, Associate Professor of Education and Director of Elementary Education, has seen the event 77 of the 81 times it has taken place.

“I remember when I was three years old in 1937 and a family friend brought me to see the Belhaven Singing Christmas Tree for the first time,” recalled Ms. Quinn. “At the time, the tree was a group of 40 girls on a platform between the columns. They had on white robes and held bright lights that reflected into the lagoon. It was a glorious sight for a little child to see!”

Since then, the Singing Christmas Tree has taken on a few technological advances. A state of the art sound system is used and the candles remembered by Ms. Quinn have been replaced by LED lights. The 35-foot tall tree holds up to 100 men and women singers, and the LED lights change colors in various patterns and sequences according to the character of each Christmas carol.

Holidays, End of Fall Semester Approaching On Campus

The end of the fall semester is always a bittersweet time on a college campus. Football, soccer and volleyball seasons come to a close, students return home for Thanksgiving only to return for final exams, and then leave again for Christmas break. For seniors, graduation is right around the corner, for other students, a nice break awaits before returning for the spring semester.

Whether its the first or last semester for a student at Belhaven, this ia a busy time of final projects, papers and presentations, and of course final exams. Students returning in the spring should have already gone through Registration Week (it   was October 27-31), but there’s still time if you missed out. Students can contact their advisor and schedule a time to meet. Not sure who your advisor is? The Think Center is glad to help.

Thanksgiving Holidays are scheduled for November 26-28. All university offices will be closed, and no classes on campus will meet. Residence Halls will remain open for students that are not able to travel home for this short break.

Final Exams begin at 6:00 p.m. on December 3 and continue through December 9.  December 9 also marks the official final day of the Fall semester. Residence Halls will close at 5:00 p.m. on December 11, and will open again on January 11. Spring classes begin on January 14.

As the fall semester comes to a close, there are many events happening on campus. The Theatre Department is presenting its Annual Evening of One-Acts on November 20-21, and DOXA is performing its Dance concert on November 20-21 as well. The Dance Department will also present its Improv Jam on December 1.

The Music Department will be busy during the Christmas season. On November 22, Gloria in Excelsis! A Christmas Celebration takes place in the Concert Hall, and on November 24, the Best of Belhaven Concert is slated for the Concert Hall. This all leads up to the 82nd Annual Singing Christmas Tree, scheduled for December 5-6 in the Belhaven Bowl.

Blazer basketball is also in action as the semester comes to a close. The men’s squad takes on cross-town rival Mississippi College on November 25, and both the men’s and women’s teams play Brewton Parker on November 28 and Middle Georgia on November 29. The Lady Blazers host Concordia on December 6 to close out the 2014 home slate.

We would like to wish all of our students, families, faculty and staff a festive Thanksgiving holiday. As the Psalmist wrote, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Homecoming Preview

Homecoming weekend is a great weekend to spend time with friends and family and enjoy all the fun activities Belhaven has to offer.

Homecoming festivities kick off Friday morning with Discover Day. Prospective Belhaven students have an opportunity to tour the campus, meet with faculty and staff and enjoy a meal in the Dining Commons.

Also on Friday, The Class of 1964 celebrates their 50-year class reunion at the home of Patsy Skinner Bozeman. A panel of Biology alumni will offer expertise and guidance to current and future students in a panel discussion slated for Barber Auditorium. Both events are scheduled for 6:00 p.m.

The Belhaven cheerleaders will host a bon fire and pep rally Friday night at 8:00 p.m. on the football practice field. Coach Hal Mumme and team captains are scheduled to speak to the crowd.  And of course, smores will be provided!

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The festivities continue on Saturday with the 50-year Club Annual Fall Meeting, held in the Joy Lackey Room. New members to this prestigious group will be inducted. The Alumni Luncheon takes place at 11:00 a.m. at Wilson Hall, which will be formally dedicated at this time.

Join us as the Blazer football team takes on Reinhardt University at 1:30 p.m. at Newell Field. Stick around for halftime as the 2014 Homecoming Court will be presented.

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This weekend ends with dancing. Starting at 7:30 p.m., the Belhaven Community Dance Concert is held in the Center for the Arts. Come watch as Belhaven hosts local dance companies, ministries, and studios. Local performing groups featured in this concert include: the Ballet Magnifcat! Trainee Company, Power APAC Dance Ensemble and dance students from Mississippi School of the Arts. General Admission is $10 and $5 for seniors and students. Faculty and staff receive complimentary admission.

If students want to dance themselves, the traditional Homecoming Dance takes place at the Mississippi Children’s Museum (2145 Highland Dr, Jackson, MS 39202). The dance starts at 8:00 p.m., and the fun continues until midnight.

Going Viral

In this technology-driven world, staying ahead of the curve is more important that ever. Universities across the nation, including Belhaven, have invested resources into building engaging social media communities.

Social media can be a great equalizer in today’s competitive marketing environment. Belhaven’s social media efforts were honored as the top in the state (besting all private universities and the larger state universities) by the College Public Relations Association of Mississippi. Our Facebook page is one of the nation’s most engaging. But what happened one recent afternoon took Belhaven viral.

Construction crews have started on the $9 million University Village, which will be a state-of-the art, high-end apartment complex located in the middle of campus. One of the challenges that we knew we would face is how to get the heavy equipment to the construction site. On the afternoon of August 19, it became a little less challenging.

Construction crews were unable to make the turn without hitting the guard house. As the video shows, the guard house was completely destroyed.  After reviewing the video, and being thankful that no one was injured, we decided to release the video on our YouTube channel and our Facebook page.

The video have been watched over 85,000 times, including almost 50,000 in the first 24 hours! All of the local Jackson news stations, as well as national cable outlet MSNBC and stations as far away as North Carolina and Rhode Island picked up the video. We saw traffic on our website and our other social media channels grow as well.

Social media is now a very integral part of a university community. Our students are as likely to find us on Facebook as they are our website. In addition to our YouTube and Facebook pages, the university maintains official Twitter and Instagram accounts, @belhavenu .  If you are a member of a social media community, give Belhaven a like or follow and keep up with all the news and events happening from campus.

You never know, another guard house could be knocked down.