Bill MoakMay 13, 2016 (Jackson, Miss.) - Belhaven University has appointed longtime communications professional Bill Moak head of its communication program. His hiring coincides with the University's shift to a stronger emphasis on public relations, journalism and web communications.

"This position brings together three things I love: teaching, the art and science of communication and an opportunity to work in a mission-oriented place in which people can grow spiritually, as well as academically,” said Moak. “I believe we can create something really special from what is already an outstanding program."

Moak plans on working with communication professionals for future learning opportunities. Simultaneously, he will be working to develop new directions and initiatives, which will help attract more students from around the world.

Associate Provost Dr. Dennis Watts said, “Bill brings a wealth of experience in journalism and public relations in both for profit and non-profit sectors to the benefit of our Belhaven students. He has already been looking for ways to strengthen the program and give students every tool they need to succeed in their learning as well as careers.”

While attending Bogue Chitto High School and Southwest Mississippi Community College, Moak began to develop his writing skills and learned that he had a gift and passion for the written word. It was at Southwest that he published his first news stories in The Pine Burr, Southwest's student newspaper. Following the advice of a wise journalism teacher at Southwest, Moak enrolled at Ole Miss, where he earned his bachelor's in journalism and developed his writing skills at the Daily Mississippian newspaper until he graduated.

After working as a daily newspaper reporter for two years at the Enterprise-Journal in McComb, Miss., Moak returned to school at the University of Southern Mississippi, where he earned his Master of Science in Communication and completed an internship at Mississippi Power Company. For the next 11 years, he worked as a public relations representative for several organizations, until he accepted a position of President/CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Mississippi, where he spent the next decade.

During his varied career, Moak's work has won several awards, and he has been recognized by his peers. His honors include recognition as Rookie of the Year by the Public Relations Association of Mississippi (PRAM) and recognition as a Senior Practitioner by the Southern Public Relations Federation (SPRF). He earned Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) in 1996 from SPRF, and served as President of the Mississippi Hospital Association's Society of Healthcare Marketing and Public Relations. During his tenure as President of the BBB Serving Mississippi, his peers elected him as Southern Regional Governor and as a member of the national BBB Executive Committee.

Moak has served in leadership positions for a number of organizations, including president of the Madison-Ridgeland Rotary Club in 2007-2008, during which time he was recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow and received a Rotary Service Award. Other organizations have included the Mother's Milk Bank of Mississippi (founding board member); the Mississippi Council on Economic Education (board member, executive committee); and Boy Scout Troop 15 in Madison, Miss. (assistant scoutmaster and troop treasurer). In 2013, he was named as a brotherhood member of the Order of the Arrow, Scouting's service organization.

Today, Moak works as a newspaper columnist, writing a consumer column at the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss. He has served as adjunct faculty for Belhaven and Tulane Universities, teaching courses in business writing. He recently wrote his first book, entitled Don't Eat the Cat Food!

He and Lori (his wife of 25 years) attend Broadmoor Baptist Church in Madison, where he has served as a deacon since 1993. He currently serves on the worship ministry media team, and has served in a number of ministries in the past including Sunday school teacher, choir member and hospitality team driver. He and Lori are proud of their sons Daniel and Caleb. Daniel (20) is currently studying civil engineering at Ole Miss, and is an Eagle Scout. Caleb (15) attends Madison County schools, where he plays trumpet in the school band.