April 22, 2013 (Jackson) - Graduating students from Belhaven University will be honored at the Jackson Commencement Ceremony on April 27, 2013. Two ceremonies will celebrate the accomplishments of students at Thalia Mara Hall on 255 East Pascagoula Street in Downtown Jackson. The undergraduate ceremony will be at 9:30 a.m., then at 2:30 p.m. the adult, graduate and online students will hold their graduation activities.

Dr. Billy Kim will be the commencement speaker for the morning graduation ceremony. Dr. Kim is a broadcaster, pastor and influential speaker as well as an international Christian statesman who has advised former presidents of South Korea. Dr. Kim built an international media network at Far East Broadcasting Company-Korea where he serves as Chairman of the Board and he became the first Asian to serve as the president of the 40 million-member Baptist World Alliance.

He earned his B.A. and M.A. at Bob Jones University. After completing his studies in the U.S., Dr. Kim returned to Korea and founded the 17,000 member Central Baptist Church in Suwon, Korea where he served for 47 years as Senior Pastor. He now serves as Pastor Emeritus of Suwon Central Baptist while leading the Antioch congregation at Won Chun Church in Suwon.

Dr. Kim was the interpreter for Billy Graham in the famous Seoul Crusade of 1973 where over one million persons attended. In 1992, he was decorated by the President of South Korea for his effective efforts in changing the relationship between Korea and the countries of China and Russia. Dr. Kim has received a total of 16 honorary doctorates in recognition of his significant contributions in advancing the Kingdom of God around the world. Dr. Kim is married to Trudy Stephens Kim and is the father of three children: Joseph, John, and Mary Kay.

Mayor Harvey Johnson, Jr. will be the commencement speaker for the afternoon graduation ceremony that will include Belhaven’s adult and graduate students. Johnson received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Tennessee State University and a master’s degree in political science from the University of Cincinnati. Johnson was awarded an honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, from Tougaloo College.

Johnson served as the founding Executive Director of the Center for University-Based Development at Jackson University. In 1997, Johnson made history by being elected Jackson, Mississippi’s first African-American mayor. In 2001, Jackson voters again chose Johnson for a second four-year term as mayor.

Prior to being elected, Johnson dedicated much of his time and expertise to helping economically depressed small towns. As the founder and executive director of the Mississippi Institute for Small Towns, a nonprofit agency, he helped a number of towns in the Mississippi Delta in meeting their housing, community development and infrastructure needs. His professional attributes include more than 25 years of experience in the field of planning and community development. He also has served as assistant professor of political science at Jackson State University, where he taught graduate level courses in public administration and directed the Center for Technology Transfer. He was a Captain in the United States Air Force, and he is a former member of the Mississippi State Tax Commission and the Mississippi Gaming Commission.

Johnson is married to Kathy Ezell Johnson, and they have two adult children, Harvey, III and Sharla. He is a member of Hope Spring Missionary Baptist Church.