April 22, 2015 (Jackson) - Graduating students from Belhaven Houston will be honored at commencement on May 1, 2015. The Belhaven Houston Commencement will begin at 7 p.m. in the Christ Evangelical Presbyterian Church.

This year's commencement speaker is Dr. Rick L. Upchurch, Assistant Vice President of Adult Studies at Belhaven University. He oversees the non-traditional academic functions at Belhaven's eight campus sites. Before coming to Belhaven University, he served at National American University as Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness.

Dr. Upchurch has worked in Christian higher education since 1998, serving on various accreditation committees along the way. He has presented at the Higher Learning Commission for the North Central Association, Center for Research in Adult Learning (CRAL), Christian Adult Higher Education Association (CAHEA) and ACCESS, a national association of Christian distance education. His presentations have included curriculum development in adult degree completion programs, strategic planning for higher education, enrollment management, and key performance indicators. He has published: a Guidebook for Course Development and Evaluation, outlining a curriculum evaluation tool, which is being used in various schools across the country.

From 2009-2011 he co-facilitated the Huntington County Leadership Academy, in Huntington, Indiana. Dr. Upchurch served two terms as president of ACCESS, a national Christian distance education association. He has designed and implemented systemic improvements wherever he has served, demonstrating not only a grasp of system process, but also the ability to work collaboratively to achieve improvement.

Dr. Upchurch has been married for 39 years and he and his wife, Mary Margaret, have three children. He is an ordained minister in the Church of the Nazarene, where he served for 18 years in pastoral ministry. In addition to the book mentioned above, he has published Discipleship with James, Spiritual Warfare, and a Kindle book: The Principles of Life.