Alumni News


Start making plans now to attend Homecoming November 8th-9th. If you’re interested in your class reunion, please contact Frank Laws, Director of Advancement and Alumni Relations at (601) 968-8978 or flaws@belhaven.edu.


The 2019 Alumni Awards Nomination Form is now available online, and you can nominate any one of your classmates. The winners will be announced in June.


Belhaven President Dr. Roger Parrott awarded longtime educator Ms. Bettye H. Quinn ‘58 an honorary doctorate during the University’s commencement exercises May 4, 2019.

With a combined 61 years of teaching experience, Associate Professor of Education Bettye Quinn has established a legacy of teaching that has influenced thousands.

Today, she continues to have a major impact on the many Belhaven students who sit under her tutelage. Quinn earned a Bachelor of Arts from Belhaven College in 1958 and a Master of Education from Mississippi College in 1961. She completed further graduate work at Mississippi State University.

She taught eight years with Jackson Public Schools before coming to Belhaven in 1966 to teach education and psychology courses. She has over 53 years of experience in teaching elementary education at a college level. In addition to teaching at Belhaven, she was an adjunct faculty member for Mississippi State University and the University of Mississippi at the R & D Center, where she taught education courses for ten years.

Since 1955, Quinn has worked at Mississippi Baptist Medical Center’s Emergency Department, volunteering each Christmas Day. Through the years, Ms. Quinn has earned the title of state president for Alpha Delta Kappa, Mississippi Department of Classroom Teachers, Mississippi Association of College Teachers of Education, and the Association of Childhood Education. She has also carried the title of national secretary for Kappa Delta Epsilon Education Sorority.

Her many awards are evidence of her dedication to the teaching profession. Some of her awards include: Outstanding Young Education National Winner, Mississippi Economics Council Star Teacher, Alpha Theta Professor of Year, Belhaven College Alumnus of the Year, Belhaven College Board of Trustees Professor of Year

Headwae Award, Legacy of Learning, and Belhaven Leadership Council Faculty of the Year. In 2002, Belhaven honored her by naming the Bettye Quinn Alumni House and Welcome Center. She has been a member of Wells Methodist Church for 73 years and has taught Sunday school at the church for 65 years.


MAY 4, 2019

Dr. Elizabeth Amanda (Mandy) Bailey ’01

Dr. Elizabeth Amanda (Mandy) Bailey received the 2018-2019 Forrest County School District Administrator of the Year Award. She is the principal of Dixie Attendance Center in Hattiesburg, MS.

Mandy received her Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education from Belhaven in 2001. She received her Masters, Specialist, and Doctor of Education degrees from William Carey University in Hattiesburg, MS.

Debra Smith, M.S. ’09

In August 2018, Debra graduated from Walden University with a Ph.D. in Public Health with a concentration in Community Health Education. Since 2014, she has worked as a Program Management consultant for long-term hurricane recover with Innovative Emergency Management (IEM).


Sonia Ponce ’14

Sonia Ponce resides in Lockport, IL and is in her fourth year of teaching. She teaches 3rd grade and has taught elementary Spanish for 1st-5th graders for three years. Sonia teaches at a Christian school. In Oct. 2017, the American Association of Christian Schools (AACS) published her article on Classroom Extensions. In 2014 she earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Belhaven, she holds a K-6th teaching license and a reading endorsement for grades K-12th. She loves continuously implementing creative ideas into her classroom.

Jason Copeland ’15

Jason has greatly enjoyed his career as an ICU nurse since graduating from nursing school three years ago. After careful consideration over the past few months, he decided to pursue training and a degree in Nurse Anesthesia. A year after graduation he earned a leadership role as a Resource Staff Leader in the surgical ICU at Vanderbilt. After being in this role for more than a year he frequently served as charge nurse or help all. He also teaches nurse resident ICU classes for pulmonary artery catheters and paralytics. During his time at Vanderbilt Jason also earned his certification in ECMO and is currently the “super user” for the surgical ICU. He says since graduating from Belhaven he has learned an unbelievable amount of information and skills necessary in his field, and he would not be where he is today without the foundation that Belhaven Nursing has taught him.

Jordan Elizabeth (Cockayne) Short, BSN ’17

On November 17, 2018 Jordan married Robert Forrest Short at Christ United Methodist Church. The couple is at home in New York, NY, where the bride is a registered nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit at Mount Sinai Hospital.




Ervin Paul Martin from Portland, Oregon, born January 12, 1947, passed away in Key Largo with his family at the age of 72, on Thursday March 28, 2019. He is survived by his daughter Paula Fede, his son Eric Martin, four grandchildren, brother Lonnie Martin, and sister Sharon Martin.

He was a highly decorated Vietnam Marine Corps Veteran who achieved, to name a few, five purple hearts and the prestigious silver star medal. He was a US Marshal in San Francisco, CA where he met his late wife, Janice Brown. He was the Director of Emergency Services for the State of Alaska and headed the clean-up efforts in the famous Exxon Valdez oil Spill of 1989. He moved to Mississippi in 1995 and received his PhD of Philosophy in Human and Organizational Systems from the Fielding Institute of Santa Barbara, California. He taught at Belhaven University for the business department, where he developed academic curriculums for both public administration and criminal justice.

His reputation as a professor proceeded him. He believed in the pursuit of knowledge. He was one of the most unique professors and left a lasting impression with everyone he met from the grocery clerk, to his students, to his family. He would refer to everyone he met as “brother” and “sister”. He was unpredictable, kept you on your toes because you never quite knew how he would respond. He had a wonderful sense of humor and knew how to make people laugh.

He was a protector and a provider to his family. His family could depend on him when they needed him and knew they could always count on him to get things done. He never sweat the “small stuff.” His kids remember him as a god-fearing man and also had the ability to put the “fear of God” in you when you got out of line. He had a strong relationship with God and was strong in his Christian faith. He was fearless in all things and loved expressing his opinions about life, philosophy, and politics.

He lived one of the most exciting and interesting lives that few have the privilege to say they lived. He enjoyed spending his last days in the Florida Keys, living in “paradise” each of his retirement days in relaxation building puzzles and reading his books. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends, and colleagues.




You can give online, by mail: Belhaven University, 1500 Peachtree Street, Campus Box 158, Jackson, MS 39202, or by phone (601) 968-8719.

We must raise $150,000 by June 30th to provide much needed scholarships for the next wave of students. Please join other alumni and friends with your gift of $25, $50, $100 (or more) to the Keep the Waters Flowing Campaign. With your help, we will provide a Christ-centered education to a deserving student.

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