April 23, 2014 (Jackson) - Graduating students from Belhaven University will be honored at the Jackson Commencement Ceremony on May 3, 2014. Two ceremonies will celebrate the accomplishments of students at Christ United Methodist Church on 6000 Old Canton Road in Northeast 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.

Senator Thad Cochran will be the speaker for both commencement activities. Cochran earned a B.A. degree at the University of Mississippi with a major in psychology and a minor in political science. He then graduated from the University of Mississippi Law School and was admitted to the Mississippi bar in 1965. Cochran also studied international law and jurisprudence at Trinity College, University of Dublin, Ireland. He served in the United States Navy from 1959-1961. After graduating from law school, Cochran joined the firm of Watkins & Eager in Jackson, where he was made a partner in the firm.

Cochran was involved in campaigns for state and local candidates throughout his life. In 1972, Cochran was elected United States Congressman for Mississippi’s Fourth District. After winning re-election to the House in 1974, he was elected by his colleagues to represent the Southern states on the House Republican Policy Committee. He was re-elected to the House of Representatives again in 1976.

In 1978, Cochran was elected to the United States Senate, becoming the first Republican in more than 100 years to win a statewide election in Mississippi. He has since been re-elected five times and is currently serving his sixth term in office.

Cochran has a wide-ranging legislative record that reflects the needs of Mississippi and the nation. A conservative philosophy has guided the Senator’s policy decisions. He has supported measures to reduce spending, control debt and create an environment that fosters job creation and economic growth in Mississippi and the nation. He has also been a proponent of measures to maintain a strong national defense. For Mississippi, Cochran has maintained a focus throughout his career on promoting economic development and educational opportunity.

As a member of the Senate, Cochran has served as chairman of the Senate Republican Conference; chairman of the Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee; and chairman of the Appropriations Committee. In the current 113th Congress, Cochran has been selected to serve as Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee. Senator Cochran is a senior member on the Senate Committee on Appropriations, and is Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. Cochran also serves on the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration. During previous Congresses, Cochran served on the Senate Ethics Committee, the Judiciary Committee, the Labor and Human Resources Committee, and the Committee on Indian Affairs. He has also served on the Joint Committee on the Library.

Cochran has been awarded honorary degrees from Kentucky Wesleyan College, Mississippi College, Blue Mountain College, the University of Richmond, Tougaloo College and will receive an honorary degree from Belhaven University at this year’s commencement. Thad is married to Rose Clayton, and they have two children and three grandchildren. He is a member of Northminster Baptist Church in Jackson.