Jackson Campus Graduation 2015December 9, 2015 (Jackson, Miss.) - Belhaven University will honor its December graduates during commencement on Saturday, December 12, 2015. The Jackson Commencement Ceremony will start at 9:30 a.m. in Thalia Mara Hall, 255 East Pascagoula Street.

Dr. Jerry Young, President of National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. and Pastor of New Hope Baptist Church, will be the honored commencement speaker this year. His service began at Mt. Tennia Baptist Church in Lamont, Miss. and then extended to serving as pastor of St. John Baptist Church and Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, both in Greenville,Miss. Dr. Young has faithfully led the vibrant congregation of New Hope Baptist Church since 1980. He is the founder and headmaster of New Hope Christian Pre-School and New Hope Christian Elementary School, together serving 300 plus students.

An avid scholar and life-long learner, Dr. Young attended Nugent Center High School in Bolivar County and went on to attain an Associate of Arts in Social Science from Coahoma Junior College. He received a Bachelor of Science in Sociology and Social Welfare from Rust College. He then earned a Master of Divinity and a Doctor of Ministry from Reformed Theological Seminary.

Dr. Young has led his congregation to embrace a vision for ministry and missions. Under his watchful care, he has led New Hope to experience growth physically, spiritually and influentially for the cause of Christ. To date, the ministry is comprised of over 3,000 members and 44 ministries. As a mission- driven institution, New Hope excels in ministries and missions, from as close as the church's backyard all the way to Honduras and Africa.

Active in the community, Dr. Young has served on several local, state and national boards and has been awarded numerous prestigious honors and awards. In addition, he is a regularly invited guest to speak/lecture at the various schools, colleges, and school districts throughout Mississippi and across the nation. A highly-skilled and sought-after minister, Dr. Young has had the opportunity to preach in pulpits across the country and has breached several racial and denominational lines, touching them with the transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Presently, Dr. Young serves on the Board of Trustees at Belhaven University as well as his alma mater, Rust College. He is the immediate past President of the General Missionary Baptist State Convention of Mississippi, Incorporated. He was elected as the 18th President of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. during the convention's 134th Annual Session held in New Orleans. He served two terms as the 2nd vice president over the Southwestern Region, and he has served the convention for over 15 years.

Dr. Young is married to Mrs. Helen Akins Young. They are the proud parents of two daughters, Dr. Jerlen Nelson and Kelli Elizabeth (Benjamin) Hart. Adding to their life's joy are their three granddaughters and one grandson.