August 12, 2013 (Jackson) - We are pleased to introduce 15 new faculty members to Belhaven University’s growing family. These professors come from a variety of backgrounds and have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with students. Please join us in welcoming these new faculty members.

Mr. Howard Bahr, Visiting Writer, for the next year will share his writing expertise teaching in the Creative Writing department. Howard received both his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Mississippi and is a prolific, published author.

Mrs. Kym Chavez, Dean of Faculty (Chattanooga), was Director of Training/Employment Development at the Volkswagen Academy for the past six years. Kym received her B.S. from Indiana University and her M.B.A. from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.

Dr. Rebekah Chiasson, Assistant Professor of Education, has taught in the Pre K-12 school system for nine years at the elementary, middle and high school levels. Becky received her B.S. and M.S. from William Carey University and her Ph.D. from The University of Southern Mississippi.

Dr. Paul Criss, Dean of Faculty (Memphis), served as the start-up president for Praxis Bible College prior to coming to Belhaven. Paul received his B.A. from Central Bible College, his M.Mus. from Arkansas State University, his M.Div. from Memphis Theological Seminary and his Ph.D. from the University of Memphis.

Mr. Cornelius Denson, Jr., Assistant Professor of Graphic Design, brings sixteen years of experience in the visual communications profession with him to Belhaven. Cornelius received his B.F.A. from Mississippi State University and has completed his M.F.A. from the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Dr. Ken Elliott, Dean of Faculty (Jackson), has served as Assistant Professor/Library Director at Reformed Theological Seminary for twenty years. Ken has his B.A. from Belhaven University, his M.A. from the University of South Florida, his M.Div. from Reformed Theological Seminary and his Ph.D. from Mississippi State University.

Dr. Ed Garrett, Assistant Professor of Sports Administration, brings his experience as a college athletic director, Olympics manager and sports ministry staff member with FCA. Ed received his B.A. from Point Loma Nazarene University, his M.A. from Colorado Christian University, his M.A. from the University of Phoenix and his Ph.D. from the University of the Rockies.

Dr. David Hand, Professor of Education and Director of Graduate Teacher Education, has served as Dean of the Undergraduate/Graduate School of Education at both Oral Roberts University and at Lincoln Memorial University. David received his B.A. and M.A. from Oral Roberts University and his Ed.D. from Oklahoma State University.

Dr. Warren Matthews, Professor of Business Administration (Houston), has been an adjunct at Belhaven for the past four years and brings prior experience as an economist and policy analyst in Washington D.C. Warren received his B.A. and Ph.D. from Texas A&M University.

Dr. Marylou Parrott, Associate Professor of English, earned her Ph.D. and M.A. in English from the University of Maryland, and received her B.A. from Eastern Nazarene College with majors in English and French. She previously served on the faculty of Mid-America Nazarene College and taught at the University of Maryland.

Ms. Kim Priesmeyer, Associate Professor of English (Houston), is returning full time to Belhaven after being adjunct at North Harris Montgomery Community College. Kim received her B.S. from Ball State University and her M.A. from the University of Houston.

Mrs. Ginger Roark, Assistant Professor of Accounting, is a CPA with thirty years of experience in corporate accounting and has served for the past ten years as adjunct at Belhaven. Ginger received her B.A. from the University of Mississippi and her M.B.A. from Mississippi College.

Dr. Larry Ruddell, Dean of Faculty (Houston), has been the Associate Professor of Business Administration at Belhaven for the past three years and adjunct prior to that. Larry received his B.A. from Davidson College, his M.A. from The Ohio State University, his M.Div. from Westminster Theological Seminary and his Ed.D. from the University of Houston.

Mrs. Gigi Turner, Assistant Professor and Chair of Graphic Design, is the owner and principal graphic designer for Gigi Turner Graphic Design and has served as a Belhaven adjunct for the past four years. Gigi received her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from The University of Southern Mississippi and has many years experience in graphic and web design.

Dr. Leslie Walker, Specialty Instructor in Chemistry, for the past five years has been a Research Technician, Graduate Student and a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Leslie received her B.S. from Mississippi College and her M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Mississippi Medical Center.


Belhaven University stands among select Christian colleges and universities and has been repeatedly named one of “America’s 100 Best College Buys." The University offers 30 academic majors across a full spectrum of disciplines as well as a variety of graduate programs. In addition, Belhaven has achieved the distinction of being among only 30 universities nationally accredited in each of the major arts – music, theatre, visual art and dance. All programs are taught from a Christian worldview perspective and are guided by the mission to prepare students academically and spiritually to serve Christ Jesus in their careers, in human relationships, and in the world of ideas.

Belhaven University serves over 3,700 students offering undergraduate and graduate degrees on its residential campus, an online degree program, and graduate and adult degree programs in Jackson, Memphis, Orlando, Houston, Chattanooga, and Atlanta.