Rules for Writers

Known as the master wordsmith, William Safire died last week.  He was a former speech writer for Richard Nixon, and author of the New York Times column, “On Language”

Some of his clever “rules for writers” included:

  1. If any word is improper at the end of sentence, a linking verb is.
  2. Verbs have to agree with their subjects.
  3. And don’t start a sentence with a conjunction.
  4. Proof read carefully to see if you words out.
  5. Remember to never split an infinitive.
  6. Do not put statements in the negative form.
  7. If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
  8. The passive voice should never be used.
  9. Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to their antecedents.
  10. Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.
  11. Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.
  12. Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague.

Significant Advance for Belhaven Athletics

After two years of evaluation, work, and preparation, Belhaven College is changing to a new athletic conference within the NAIA – the Southern States Athletic Conference which offers 14 conference supported sports for our athletes.

Our long-term conference, the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference, includes schools who offer a limited number of sports – it is primarily a basketball focused conference.

Our membership in the GCAC has left  many of Belhaven’s team competing in the independent category in the quest to compete for a berth to the national tournament for their sport, and without the opportunity to compete for a conference championship. Further, a number of schools in the GCAC are public institutions who do not share our same academic entrance requirements or financial framework.

In contrast the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) members are primarily private schools who offer a wide array of sports.  This will give Belhaven an opportunity for all our teams to compete for conference championships and win bids to national tournaments.  Being a 16 member conference, the SSAC receives two automatic bids to most national championships.

Four other schools from the GCAC will be moving to SSAC with us:  Loyola University (New Orleans), William Carey University (Hattiesburg), Spring Hill College and University of Mobile (both in Mobile).  We will be joining with two current SSAC members, Auburn University Montgomery and Faulkner University (both in Montgomery), to make up the west division of the SSAC.

The schools in the east division include: Berry College, Brenau University, Brewton-Parker College, Columbia College, Emmanuel College, Lee University, Shorter College, Southern Polytechnic University and Southern Wesleyan University.

The SSAC will serve all our sports except football – we will remain in the Mid-South Conference for football only.

The link to the full press release from the conference can be found here:  SSAC Approves Major Expansion to 16 Institutions

Scott Little, our Vice President for Student Affairs and Athletics has done a marvelous job of leading us through this process and working with both the current and new conference, as well as the other schools’ ADs.  I’ve been keeping in close touch with the other presidents and found wonderful harmony as all believe the SSAC is a strong move for our athletic programs – making the SSAC one of the premier conferences in the NAIA.  We are also convinced that GCAC will continue to remain strong as they now have room to add schools who offer basketball and only a few other sports.

We will complete the current academic year in the GCAC, and begin in the SSAC next fall.

Here is a map of all the schools in the conference:

Picture 6

Yellowstone National Park

This was such a busy summer, I didn’t get a chance to get out of town the entire time.  So a week ago, I did break away for four days of fishing in Yellowstone National Park.

It is one of my favorite places in the world, and although the fish didn’t cooperate all that much, I had a marvelous time being in the wilderness.

Ken Burn’s series on the National Parks is on PBS right now, and is not to be missed.  These park are truly the unspoiled artistry of God, as the Lord designed the world to be.

Below is a picture from my trip.  I was fishing where a large herd of buffalo came up behind me (no, those are not cows).  Since so many people stopped to take picture of the buffalo, I had them get one for me too.  This was on the Firehole River, where the water is  warm from the geysers all along the river’s edge.  It is a great river for fishing late in the day because the water is 20 degrees warmer than the other rivers.


Celebrating In Korean

Isn’t it great how God works without being slowed down by the limits of distance, culture, and language we assume to hold us back?  And we get to see more of God’s reach because of the technology tools of today.

In Korea we have a sister Christian College who is seeking to do the same type things as Belhaven, but reaching a population we could never reach because of the language barrier and the distance.  They are serious about building a biblical foundation in every curriculum, and preparing graduates to serve the world in the name of Christ – just like Belhaven.

And God is blessing them, just as He is blessing us.

If you attended the events at the start of school for our faculty and staff, you know that our special guest was the president of Sungkyul University in Korea. Dr. Jeong came to initiate our sister school partnership with them following up on my visit to their campus in June.

Last week Sungkyul celebrated their 47th anniversary and asked us to send a video.

One of the Korean students in our graduate program, Kookie Kim, was my translator, as I was able to share a greeting with them. And then we had a number of our students say “congratulations” in Korean.  (Kookie taught them how.)

At the end of the video, Kookie and I came back on, and I said “congratulations” in Korean, and then she said it in English.

Here is a picture our Korean friends just sent from that event when they showed our video.

Sungkyul University

Elizabeth Spencer, Class of ’42

One of our most famous graduates is author Elizabeth Spencer, class of 1942.  She has written numerous novels and articles, and has been recognized widely for her work.

We are proud of her distinguished career, and also proud that Belhaven College is the only Christian College offering a bachelors degree of fine arts in creative writing.  That growing program is led by Dr. Randy Smith.

This week we had Mississippi Public Broadcasting on campus shooting a piece about Elizabeth for their writers series

Follow the three links above to find out more.


Just the Facts

I had some interesting statistics come my way recently.  So often we forget how many, and how deeply, people need to understand and live in the grace of Jesus.

OneHope found 91% of youths in Costa Rica say they do not believe they will go to heaven despite claiming to have accepted Jesus Christ. In Spain, 74% say they do not want to be a virgin when they marry, and in Russia, 42% report having tried to commit suicide. (Christian Post 7/29/09)

American teens who say they definitely believe in God or a higher power declined from 54% to 37% between ’84 and ’08, while the percentage of atheists rose from 6% to 16%. The percentage of teens uncertain about God remained stable at 31%. (The National Post 4/7/09)

While more Americans describe themselves as “non-religious” today, the percentage who believe in God remains stable at 93%. Researchers believe the group that is growing is what they call “unchurched believers.” If you think of organized religion as having two parts – the organized part and the religious part – the church-leavers quarrel is with the organized part. (Pastor’s Weekly Briefing 8/14/09)

Josh McDowell claims only 9% of young Christians in America say there is absolute truth, only 3% higher than the general youth population. (Christian Post 7/13/09)

About 1 out of every 3 scientists in the U.S. professed believing in God in a recent Pew Research survey, in comparison to 83% of the general American public. (Christian Post 7/16/09)

H1N1 Campus Wide Plan

It was reported yesterday that 55% of colleges campuses have reported H1N1 flu cases, with many campuses reporting outbreaks that range from a handful to hundreds of cases on a single campus.  The attack rate in Mississippi is 43 in 10,000 students among colleges and universities..

We have developed a campus wide plan to respond to this flu. The details of the plan are below.

The significant policy shift included in the plan is that we have adjusted the attendance requirement for those who catch the flu…

STUDENTS with the flu will be given excused absences for class, which will not count toward their accumulated absences.

EMPLOYEES with the flu will not count their missed work days against their annual sick days.

The bottom line is that if you are sick with this flu it is important that you are not around others on campus – we love you, but we don’t want you to give it to others, so resident students need to be isolated, commuting students need to stay home, and employees should not come to work.

Belhaven College Pandemic Influenza H1N1 Plan


  • To preserve the health of the campus community and the safety of the campus environment in the event of a pandemic.


  • To prevent the emergence of an infectious cluster on our campus
  • To control the spread of an infection on campus if it emerges at Belhaven College.


1. Create a Culture of Cleanliness

  • Signs: Signs promoting cleanliness have been placed in residence halls and around campus.
  • Brochures: Every resident student, faculty, and staff member has received a brochure that promotes fighting the flu and specifically the H1N1.  Extra copies are available in the health center and the office of student life.
  • Resident Directors & Resident Assistants will hold mandatory hall meetings to teach H1N1 prevention.
  • Hand Sanitizer Stations: We have added hand sanitizer units at several locations on campus, including all high traffic areas.

2.  Promote Seasonal Flu Vaccine

  • The seasonal flu vaccine will be available at a discounted price for all students, employees, and employee families.
  • On September 17th  – 18th (Thursday & Friday) from 1 – 4p and September 24th and 25th 1 – 4p (Thursday & Friday) students, employee and families will be able to receive a flu shot at a discounted rate of $10.  Extra staff from UMC will be available during these two days to assist with administering the shots.
  • Flu Shots will be available at any other time that the health center is open (M, Tu, Th, F: 1 – 4p) at the normal price of $15.
  • This flu shot is for “the regular flu” and not H1N1 since a vaccine for it has not yet been released.
  • The H1N1 vaccine that is expected to come out in late October and will be made available  to the campus as soon as possible.


1.  Testing

  • If student exhibits flu like symptoms the health center staff can administer a flu test at a cost of $15.  The health center staff will monitor who needs tests (symptoms: 100.5 temperature, nausea, body aching, etc).
  • The test results will be able to detect whether a patient has the flu virus.  If the test is positive the health center will notify the office of student life and the student will be required to go into isolation.

2.  Isolation

  • Students that live locally or their parents/legal guardian are able to pick up will be required to go home.
  • If students are not able to go home Belhaven will provide housing on campus and the director of food services will arrange meals to be delivered with the assistance of student life staff.   Females: Isolated Gillespie wing.   Males: Alumni House
  • Students must stay in isolation until 24 hours past fever breaking and must have written note from doctor stating that they are no longer contagious before they come back on campus.
  • Excused Absences:  Students will have excused absences with doctor or Belhaven health clinic confirmation of H1N1 virus.

Faculty & Staff:

1.  Prevention

  • Faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to not only live out the “culture of cleanliness” but encourage our students to do the same.
  • Faculty and staff, as well as their families are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the flu shot promotion times at the discounted rate of $10 on the special days, or $15 at other times.

2. Testing and Isolation

  • If faculty or staff member exhibits flu like symptoms the health center staff can administer a flu test at a cost of $15.
  • If faculty or staff test positive for the flu they will be required to stay at home but that absence will not be counted as part of their annual sick days.