Students and their families gathered for the 126th year of Belhaven College’s commencement exercises, held on December 13, 2008 at Thalia Mara Hall. The commencement ceremonies were highlighted by Lieutenant Governor Phil Bryant, who was the commencement speaker. He was elected Mississippi’s Lt. Governor with an overwhelming 59% of the vote in November, 2007. Phil Bryant is known for his work promoting state accountability, family values, and technology.

Belhaven honored Ms. Emma McCain, a former Belhaven student and patron of arts and education, with an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree. Ms. McCain is well known for her support of the arts in her hometown of Meridian, Mississippi, where she is often called the “patron saint for the arts.” She is also a recipient of the 2008 Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, as well as the 2008 Belhaven Alumni Community Service Award.