Belhaven Honored at “Higher Education Appreciation Day” by State Government Leaders

Two of our brightest stars were recognized at the State sponsored Higher Education Appreciation luncheon today.  Congratulations to Prof. Rose Mary Foncree, and senior, Allison Kalehoff.  They made us proud.

The awards were presented by Lieutenant Governor of Mississippi, Tate Reeves.

The speaker was William Bennett, former Secretary of Education, and best selling author.

Belhaven to Host Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts

From the Clarion Ledger

The Mississippi Arts Commission revamps its Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts ceremony this year, marking its 25th anniversary and streamlining it for radio and TV.

The hour-long ceremony, 1 p.m. Thursday at the Belhaven University Center for the Arts, is free and open to the public, as is a reception following at the neighboring Junior League of Jackson. The ceremony will be carried live on Mississippi Public Broadcasting Think Radio and taped to air at 8:30 that night on MPB.

Country music star, multiple Grammy winner and 1999 Governor’s Award recipient Marty Stuart will host the event and his Fabulous Superlatives will serve as its house band.

The five 2013 award recipients are: blues entertainer Bobby Rush, for lifetime achievement; Eddie “Chank” Willis, one of the main architects of the Motown sound, for excellence in music; playwright Beth Henley, for excellence in literature; Bay St. Louis Little Theatre for arts in community; and theater educator and Telling Trees Project founder Kathryn Lewis.

“Honestly, this show is really about the recipients, and that’s what we wanted to focus it more on,” said Susan Liles, Mississippi Arts Commission public relations director. Presenting the awards at a more performance-oriented venue, the 800-seat Belhaven University Center for the Arts, is also part of that move. In previous years, programs stretched from two to two-and-a-half hours long.

Liles said the Fabulous Superlatives will perform opening tributes to each recipient, and a couple of special performances are planned, too, including from Bobby Rush. Poetry Out Loud national champion and two-time state champ Kristen Dupard, now a freshman at the University of Southern Mississippi, will also be part of the ceremony.

Doors open at noon Thursday for the event.

FREE Tickets – Arts Galore

We are headed into the best season of Belhaven University as so many of our Arts schedule major performances during the second half of the spring semester.

Did you know you can get FREE TICKETS?  

Admission is free for ALL Belhaven students, faculty, staff,

AND your family.

And the majority of our performances are free to the public as well.  And for the dance and theatre productions that require tickets, the prices are not that high and you’ll get to experience some top level performances.

It begins this week with our spring musical . . . here is the schedule of some of the highlights:

The Drunkard – a musical
February 21 – March 2 – Thursday – Saturday, Wednesday – Friday, 7:30 pm, Blackbox Theatre
Saturday Matinees February 23 and March 2, 2:00 pm

Music and Lyrics by Barry Manilow, Adapted by Bro Herrod Based on the world-famous melodrama by W.H.S. Smith
Directed by faculty member Stewart Hawley Based on a 19th century melodrama, this light-hearted musical tells the story of the virtuous Mary, the dastardly landlord Mr. Cribbs and Edward’s journey dashing from the clutches of drunkenness. With vaudeville bits and campy musical interludes, this show will send the whole family home humming “Do You Wanna Get Saved?”

Senior Dance Concerts
Bitsy Irby Visual Arts and Dance CenterStudio Theatre
Wednesday, February 27, 7:30 pm and Friday, March 1, 7:30 pm – Concert A
Thursday, February 28, 7:30 pm and Saturday, March 2, 7:30 pm– Concert B

Graduating BFA students proudly present creative original senior projects exhibiting the culmination of their dance studies. Come experience the passion and maturity evident in these inspiring young performers and choreographers. Free to the public.

Faculty Voice Recital – Dr. Christopher Shelt: A Teacher with His Students
March 5- Tuesday, 7:30 pm, Concert Hall

Dr. Christopher Shelt, a teacher-performer professor of 14 years at Belhaven University sings an entertaining concert with selected students from his studio, past and present. It promises to be an evening that celebrates the teacher student relationship with ensemble singing from many genres and styles. Free to the public.

Faculty Piano Recital – The Sachs Piano Duo
March 19 – Tuesday, 7:30 pm, Concert Hall

Dr. and Mrs. Sachs (The Sachs Piano Duo) offer a duo/duet/solo recital of repertoire including I Got Rhythm Variations by George Gershwin, Concerto for Two Keyboards in C Major, BWV1061 by J. S. Bach, Fantasy in F Minor, Op. 103, D. 940 by Franz Schubert, a “monumental” work by P.D.Q. Bach and some “finger buster” etudes. Free to the public.

Belhaven Strings & Chamber Orchestras
March 22 – Friday, 7:30 pm, Concert Hall

Come and enjoy a colorful and beautiful showcase of string solos, string chamber groups, and the Belhaven String Chamber Orchestra that features our University’s outstanding string students performing in a variety of settings.Free to the public.

Belhaven University and Jackson Community Symphonic Band, Jazz Ensemble and Percussion Ensemble Concert
March 23 – Saturday, 7:30 pm, Concert Hall

Excitement through sound is in store for you as the full range of instrumental timbres, color, and energy flow under the baton of Dr. Paxton Girtmon and Mr. Owen Rockwell. Free to the public.


Faculty Voice Recital – Dr. Rebecca Geihsler, soprano
March 26- Tuesday, 7:30 pm, Concert Hall

Dr. Rebecca Geihsler, accompanied by BU Staff Accompanist Mr. Tyler Kemp, will present a solo voice recital including works by Mozart, Debussy, Wolf, Blumenkrantz, and featuring Lori Laitman’s “I Never Saw Another Butterfly,” a song cycle for voice and saxophone based on poetry written by children at the Terezin ghetto during World War II. Free to the public.


Shipwrecked! An Entertainment: The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (As Told by Himself) by Donald Marguiles
April 2-6- Wednesday – Saturday, 7:30 pm
Saturday Matinees at 10 am and 2 pm
Theatre 151

Based on the story of the real life Louis de Rougemont, a self-proclaimed explorer who became famous for the story of his adventures in the islands of the south Pacific published in The World Wide Magazine at the turn of the century. After his story is called into question, the magazine quipped, “Truth is stranger than fiction/ But De Rougemont is stranger than both.” This highly theatrical presentation of his life’s stories celebrates the child-like wonder of magical storytelling. Directed by senior theatre major Anna Rebmann. Free to the public.

Spring Dance Production
Visual Arts and Dance Center
Friday, April 5, 6:30 pm
Saturday, April 6, 1 pm and 6:30 pm
Thursday, April 11, 11 am
Friday, April 12, 6:30 pm
Saturday, April 13, 1 pm and 6:30 pm

A fun-filled choreographic production for the entire family by the Belhaven University dance faculty performed by the Belhaven University Dance Ensemble. Complimentary admission for Belhaven Faculty/Staff/Students and immediate families.

Orchestra Concert
April 6- Saturday, 7:30 pm, Concert Hall

Come and enjoy an evening of symphonic orchestra music. The program includes works by such great composers as Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Bizet, R imsky-Korsakov, and Grieg. Dr. Paxton Girtmon and Mr. Song Xie share the baton! Free to the public.


Belhaven Theatre Festival 2013
April 8-13

A full week series of theatrical events – from featured guest artists, student performances, staged readings, senior recitals, class showcases, workshops and presentations. The full Festival schedule to be announced in the spring; contact the Theatre Box Office for information.  Free to the public.

Choral and Vocal Arts: Jazz Vibrations
April 13- Saturday, 7:30 pm, Concert Hall

Assisted by the Belhaven University Jazz Ensemble, the 80 voices of the Belhaven Concert Choir and Belhaven Chorale, along with soloists and small ensembles take to the stage for an evening of jazz and jazz influenced styles. Dr. Christopher Shelt conducts the Belhaven Concert Choir, Chorale, soloists, and small ensembles. Free to the public.

Best of Belhaven II
April 15- Monday, 7:30 pm, Concert Hall

The Music Department presents the most outstanding performances of the semester on one concert. Musical variety and excellence are the gifts from our student performers to you.  Free to the public.


Prayer for Dr. Newt Wilson

Our friend Newt Wilson and his wife Becky need the prayers of our Belhaven family.

Newt served as president from 1986 to 1995, and now serves on our Board of Trustees.  He was also dean at Belhaven, a faculty member, and began at Belhaven as student.

I talked with Becky earlier this evening and she shared with me that Newt’s condition is serious but hopeful – they need our focused prayer.

Newt has autoimmune hepatitis and they are hopeful that he will receive a liver transplant.  They will meet with a specialist at Tulane Medical School in two weeks, but first, they need to stabilize Newt’s severe abdominal infection.

Their immediate concern is that Newt will be able to begin eating solid food again, and the antibiotics will eliminate the infection in order to clear the way for the possible liver transplant.  He is expected to be released from the hospital on Friday, but that will be determined by how he progresses in the coming hours.

Newt and Becky have given their lives for Belhaven University and right now, need our prayers.  I hope you’ll join with me in supporting them in prayer during this difficult challenge.

Appointment of New Leader for the Lausanne Movement

I have served for many years on the board of Lausanne, and also as an officer of the movement, serving as Treasurer.

Doug Birdsall, who has led Lausanne, will begin a new ministry role as president of the American Bible Society.  Doug is a long time personal friend, and is a friend of Belhaven having been our commencement speaker and receiving an honorary doctorate from us.  He has done an outstanding  job leading the movement.

I was privilaged to serve as chair of the search committee to find Doug’s replacement and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome God has brought together for us all in the evangelical world.

Below is the announcement, including my quote about another great friend of Belhaven Dr. Michal Oh, who will be our new Lausanne Executive Director / CEO.

Selection of Younger Leader Hands The Leadership Baton To The Next Generation

LONDON, 5 February 2013 – The Lausanne Movement announced today it has appointed Dr. Michael Oh, a 41-year-old Korean-American, serving in Japan, as its new Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, effective 1 March.

“Michael is a cross-cultural bridge-builder, from East to West and across generations; he knows the overall Movement well and understands the complexity of this leadership calling,” said Ram Gidoomal, Chair of The Lausanne Movement Board of Directors, regarding the unanimous selection confirmed last week by the Board. “He will be able to build on the firm foundation that Doug Birdsall and the global leadership of Lausanne have established, to the glory of God.”

Oh is president and founder of Christ Bible Seminary in Nagoya, Japan, a vibrant and growing seminary in Japan, which is making an impact among young Christians seeking a renewed vision for the next generation of Christianity in Japan. He has been involved in Lausanne since 2004, serving as keynote speaker and part of the planning team for Lausanne’s Younger Leaders Gathering in 2006, and as a member of the Lausanne Board since 2007. He will be formally installed at The Lausanne Global Leadership Forum in South Asia in June.

Oh succeeds outgoing CEO Rev. S. Douglas (Doug) Birdsall, who becomes the president of American Bible Society on 1 March.

“Michael is an exceptionally gifted younger leader who will serve the Movement with vision and passion in the years to come,” Birdsall said. “As a reflective practitioner, he embodies the essence of the ‘spirit’ of Lausanne – humility, friendship, study, prayer, partnership, and hope.”

Birdsall further indicated that he believes Oh understands the value of Lausanne’s rich history, and as a younger leader has demonstrated the ability to inspire and enlist a new generation of men and women around the globe who share Lausanne’s commitment to “the whole church taking the whole gospel to the whole world”.

“Lausanne is in good hands, and the future is filled with promise,” Birdsall added. After passing the baton of leadership to Oh, Birdsall will continue to serve in leadership with Lausanne as an Honorary Chair.

“I am humbled by this appointment as I follow in the footsteps of the legacy that God started in the Movement through godly leaders like Billy Graham, Leighton Ford, Gottfried Osei-Mensah, Paul Cedar, and my predecessor, and friend, Doug Birdsall,” Oh said. “My own development as a leader, along with countless other younger leaders within Lausanne, has been significantly impacted by the mentorship of Doug, the Lausanne Board, and other Lausanne leaders. Lausanne is getting younger, stronger, and more representative of the rich diversity and depth of the global church. Mobilizing and connecting global younger leaders for world evangelization will be a great joy and priority as I take the leadership of Lausanne.”

Oh’s appointment was welcomed by leaders in Japan who expressed pleasure that Oh will live in Japan while serving Lausanne. “We are committed to expanding the network of support and prayer among churches in Japan for Michael. As a board member of the Japan Evangelical Association, I know that General Secretary Kenichi Shinagawa has shared a longtime friendship with Michael. I am strongly encouraged that, upon hearing the news of his friend’s new appointment, Rev. Shinagawa has indicated his willingness to lead the Japanese Church in our serving together for the advancement of the kingdom of God,” stated Rev. Dr. Satoru Kanemoto, Chair of the Japan Lausanne Committee.

The Search Committee that recommended Oh was chaired by Dr. Roger Parrott, president of Belhaven University, who said the Committee was very impressed by the overall quality of candidates it considered, indicating how much Lausanne has grown in global breadth and depth. “I found in Michael a penetrating vision for world evangelization, a richness in his understanding of the complexities of our world both globally and locally, and a godly humility in service and passion for Christ that is contagious,” stated Parrott. Rev. Esme Bowers, Chair of African Enterprise of South Africa, and a member of the Search Committee, said, “Michael’s appointment is part of Lausanne’s ongoing commitment to identify and equip new and younger leaders in mission and evangelization around the world.”

Dr. Lindsay Brown, Lausanne International Director, is encouraged about the future because of Oh’s selection. “I look forward to working in partnership with Michael with the goal that ‘all the earth may hear His Voice,'” Brown said. Brown has committed to continue serving as International Director until 2015 to assist in the leadership transition.

Educational and Family Information
Oh has a Doctor of Philosophy with a specialization in Cultural Anthropology and Education (University of Pennsylvania), a Master’s Degree of Arts with a concentration in East Asian Studies (Harvard University), a Master’s Degree of Divinity with an emphasis on Missions (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) and a Master’s Degree of Science (University of Pennsylvania).

Michael and his wife, Pearl, have been married 18 years and have five children.

Movement Background
Lausanne is a global Movement that mobilizes evangelical leaders to collaborate for world evangelization. It grew out of the 1974 International Congress on World Evangelization convened in Lausanne, Switzerland by Rev. Billy Graham and Bishop Jack Dain. The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization (October 2010) in Cape Town, South Africa brought together 4200 Christian leaders, representing 198 countries. The resulting Cape Town Commitment ( serves as the blueprint for the Movement’s activities. Lausanne is convening four to five Consultations each year around the issues articulated in The Cape Town Commitment. More information is available at

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For further information, please contact Naomi Frizzell,, +1.904.262.5202.

Bravo! Bravo, Dr. Stephen Sachs

Saturday night rhe Mississippi Symphony Orchestra presented “Mozart by Candlelight,” to an overflow house at our Center of the Arts.

Dr. Stephen Sachs, Professor of Piano and Music Department Chair, was the featured pianist for Mozart’s masterpiece Piano Concerto No. 24 in C Minor.  The standing ovation following his performance brought an encore from Dr. Sachs as well.

It was a magnificent performance!

The Mississippi Symphony Orchestra also includes key players who serve on our faculty: Mr. Song Xie, Associate Professor of Music;  Mrs. Nancy Bateman, Adjunct Cello professor; Mrs. Sybil Cheesman, Adjunct Flute professor.

The orchestra performed Mozart’s first,  Symphony No. 1 in E Flat Major (written when he was eight years old), and his Symphony No. 34 in C, known as “The Linz Symphony.”

Bob Pennebaker Serves National Art and Design Board

Professor Bob Pennebaker, chair of our Visual Art Department, has been appointed by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) to it’s board of ethics. The members include:


Mary Colleen Heil, Chair (2013)
Pennsylvania College of Art and Design

Bob Pennebaker (2015)
Belhaven University

Sally Struthers (2014)
Sinclair Community College

NASAD is the national organization that accredits the 322 universities who have met their standard of excellence.  Belhaven has held NASAD accreditation for many years.

This accrediting body works with Visual Arts, but here are mirror organizations in each of the other primary Arts:  Music, Theatre, and Dance.

Belhaven University is one of only 30 Universities in America whose four primary Arts programs are all independently accreddited.