Rwandan Belhaven student gives back to his country

Belhaven, along with more than a dozen other US universities, hosts several of Rwanda’s brightest students through an exchange program. But what about Rwandan students who are interested in a good university education, but don’t have the English scores to qualify for entrance into a US university? Belhaven student Anselme (Nathan) Mucunguzi has started a foundation to help 25 rural Rwandans prepare for entrance exams each year. The brilliance of the foundation, called Inspire Scholars Foundation, is that it does not waste money. Each summer, ISF’s team (made of Rwandan students pursuing a university education abroad) goes to Rwanda to select 25 highly motivated eleventh grade students attending schools located in rural areas. During each school break, they organize an intensive English course for the selected students. Each course is taught by teachers whose native language is English. ISF’s first English course is scheduled for the 9th to 20th  of December 2013.

Mucunguzi’s foundation was recently featured in a story at The New Times Rwanda.  Click here for the full story.

To give to the foundation, go to their website Inspire Scholars Foundation

Belhaven Students Launch Video Game for iPhone


From the Clarion Ledger:

Video games are not just for kids anymore, and app games like Angry Birds and Candy Crush on Facebook have opened the doors of gaming for an older generation and women.  With that in mind a couple of Belhaven University arts majors are taking their love of art and video games and diving into the growing market of mobile gaming.

Chadwick Harman and Joey Nelms, who are seniors at Belhaven and Logan Grandberry, who attends Southern Mississippi University, started Cryogenic Studios and they hope their debut title will be available for download this month.

Cryogenic’s puzzle game “Rails”, can be played on any Apple or Android device, which includes smartphones and tablets.  Harman, is the president and founder of Cryogenic and he describes his company’s initial effort.

“You’re a wheel and you pick-up little orbs and it gets harder-and-harder to collect the orbs as you go,” Harman said. “It’s a very low commitment game, you can sit down if you have two or three minutes, play a level or two.”

For these full-time students this is not some mid-term assignment, but their first taste of real world business. The trio does their best to balance their business and school, and they say they are fortunate Belhaven has provided them with plenty of resources and support.

“There’s some direct influence of people actually working on the projects, as-well-as people being mentors for us through the projects,” Nelms, Cryogenic’s CEO, said.

The aspiring entrepreneurs found that a good way to break into the video game industry is through smartphones and tablets.

“The whole mobile sector has opened video-gaming up to everybody,” Harman said. “My mom plays videogames. I thought that would never happen.”

“Mobile projects aren’t as in-depth or complicated as the big XBOX titles,” Nelms said. “Those things take five years, with 400 employees and a few million dollars.”

By contrast, “Rails” was produced with about 10 people and a few thousand dollars. With “Rails” about to hit app stores they still have their sites on XBOX and Playstation, and taking their art to the blank canvas those consoles provide.

“We’re taking it much more from a creative standpoint of story-telling of art making,” Nelms said. “We take it from the standpoint of art-making, not game-making.”

Their next project is already in the works and it tells the story of Lenny, a mail delivery robot.  It’s an adventure game that the Cryogenic crew hopes will be available for download on XBOX Live in spring 2014. That is the same time Harman, Nelms and Grandberry are scheduled to graduate, and they are excited about transitioning from full-time students to full-time video game developers.

Tuesday Evening Concert

Belhaven’s Music Department will present the faculty voice recital of Dr. Christopher Shelt entitled A Teacher with His Students. Dr. Shelt, Professor of Voice, Church Music and Choral Activities, will take the stage with selected students past and present on Tuesday, March 5 at 7:30 p.m. in the Center for the Arts Concert Hall.

As a teacher and performer, he finds great joy in sharing his love of music with others and this concert will be a celebration of the teacher-students relationship. The concert will feature ensemble singing from many genres and styles.

Admission will be complimentary and the doors will open at 7:00 p.m.

The Mindset of the Class of 2016

The annual “Mindset List” of  Beloit College is always an interesting way to understand the world of this year’s new students.  Some of the items on this year’s list include”

• For this generation of entering college students, born in 1994, Kurt Cobain, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Richard Nixon and John Wayne Gacy have always been dead.

• Michael Jackson’s family, not the Kennedys, constitutes “American Royalty.”

• If they miss The Daily Show, they can always get their news on YouTube.

• Bill Clinton is a senior statesman of whose presidency they have little knowledge.

• They have never seen an airplane “ticket.”

• They have always lived in cyberspace, addicted to a new generation of “electronic narcotics.”

• The Biblical sources of terms such as “Forbidden Fruit,” “The writing on the wall,” “Good Samaritan,” and “The Promised Land” are unknown to most of them.

• For most of their lives, maintaining relations between the U.S. and the rest of the world has been a woman’s job in the State Department.

• They can’t picture people actually carrying luggage through airports rather than rolling it.

• There has always been football in Jacksonville but never in Los Angeles.

• A significant percentage of them will enter college already displaying some hearing loss.

• Women have always piloted war planes and space shuttles.

• They have lived in an era of instant stardom and self-proclaimed celebrities, famous for being famous.

• Billy Graham is as familiar to them as Otto Graham was to their parents.

• Probably the most tribal generation in history, they despise being separated from contact with their similar-aged friends.

• Before they purchase an assigned textbook, they will investigate whether it is available for rent or purchase as an e-book.

• NBC has never shown A Wonderful Life more than twice during the holidays.

• They know many established film stars by their voices on computer-animated blockbusters.

• They watch television everywhere but on a television.

• Astronauts have always spent well over a year in a single space flight.

Jackson Campus to be Closed THURSDAY

The Jackson campus will be closed all day tomorrow, Thursday August 30.

Both classes and administrative offices will be closed.  Day and evening classes will not meet on Thursday at the Peachtree Campus or the LeFleur Campus.

Evening classes WILL meet tonight – Wednesday.

Tomorrow all campus buildings will be closed except for the Student Center and the residence halls.

We expect to return to a normal schedule Friday, but will be monitoring the weather and will make that decision late Thursday afternoon.


Belhaven football’s two seasons – story I shared in chapel

This morning I had the joy of preaching in our first chapel of the school year, using as my text, our theme verse of the year:  Ecclesiastics 3:1  To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.

Illustrating how we need to learn to adjust to the seasons, I told this story about our 2006 football season. I had several requests for the story, so posting it here.


It’s football season!  Around the world that means soccer – where football is played with your feet. But for our 82 international students, you need to know the goal of North American football is to just stay on your feet.

In the United States, if there is one well-defined season for many, it is football season, because this game is so unique to our culture.

But did you know that in 2006, our Belhaven football team played two seasons?  It was one of the most remarkable things I’d ever seen.

That year I did something I’ve never done, before or since, as a college president – I asked a coach if I could talk to their team about their season.  I trust our coaches and so my job is to support them and stay out of their way.

But that year, in the middle of the week after the fifth straight loss of our football team, I happen to be speaking for a luncheon event, and our coach was in the audience to be supportive.  But I could see his mind was elsewhere, and if I was facing his problems, my body would have been elsewhere.

He was facing many challenges at the same time – at home, with his wife diagnosed with a rare life-threatening disease, they had brand new baby, and he was taking on his first season as head coach.

So when I saw him that day, he looked like he just needed someone to lean on.  So I broke one of my golden rules of administration and asked to talk to his team.

Though the years I’ve gotten used to making a speech on a moments notice on about almost any topic, but that day I really didn’t know what I was going to say when I saw them on the practice field that afternoon.

And you know, when you stand in the middle of 100 sweaty big football players in full pads, it is an intimidating place to be and I just prayed for God to give a word that might help.

And as I looked into their eyes, I didn’t see football players we watch on Saturday, but I saw guys who will become husbands, fathers, men who will be employees and employers, football players who will soon be community and church members – and I said something like this:

“Guys, this season is no longer about football, instead, it is about the rest of your lives.  What you do with the second half of this season will set your course.  You can place blame for a bad season, you can get mad, you can call it unfair, you can give up, and make excuses for this frustrating season.

Or you can pull together, look ahead with hope, do well what you’re trained to do, dig down deep to make a fresh start to overcome the tough circumstances, and commit it in a fresh way to God.

Because how you adjust, right now, to this tough season, is going to determine how you deal with the rest of your life when other tough times come.”

And I went on to suggest they consider that day the start of a new season, and begin that Saturday with a 0-0 record for the season.

Now after a speech like that, you’d think they would have lifted me on their shoulders….or thrown me in the lake.

But instead, there was no reaction – zero.  The coach said break, and they broke, and I walked off the field thinking, don’t ever break one of your golden rules of administration again.

I don’t know what the coaches did after that, but that Saturday, they beat Union by 3 points, and I heard one of our players on the radio say after the game that they were approaching this game like the first game of a new season.

The next week ran over West Virginia Tech, and the third week the solidly beat Lambuth who has gotten the best of us too many times.

By the start of the forth week, they were a team on fire.

But when you’re playing an away game, down by 4 points with only 20 seconds left and 62 yards between you and the goal line, you’ve got to believe God smiled on us for three games, and that’s good enough.

But when our desperation pass bounces off one player and into the arms of our fastest receiver ….

This is on our forever highlight reel . . . (video here)

By the fifth game, our team had gone from the lowest of the lows to the highest of the highs.  But they found themselves low again as they were down by 15 points going into the fourth quarter and we assumed the run of winning was over.

But 20 of our unanswered points in the final 15 minutes are more than just good play calling.

And at the end of the final game, which was homecoming, it was a great time of celebration as the team held up their “undefeated second season” shirts after an easy win.

Good seasons and bad seasons are part of life – in football, careers, relationships, finances, opportunities, and even faith.  There are times when it just seems to be going our way, and other times when we feel like too much is stacked against us.

So learning to not just accept the seasons, but adjust our outlook in the seasons is critical – because, the scripture says, there is a time and a purpose under heaven.

When you see a tough season as a time to grow, rather than just a time to gripe, God will use it to strengthen you and prepare you to be used of Him in ways far greater than you can imagine.