Belhaven Memphis/Desoto Graduation 2019April 24, 2019 (Memphis) - Belhaven University Memphis/DeSotowill honor its graduating students May 3, 7 p.m. at LaBelle Haven Baptist Church, 4800 Highway 305 North in Olive Branch, Miss.

The Reverend Dr. Paul T. Criss will be the special commencement speaker this year. He has been the dean at Belhaven University's Memphis and DeSoto campuses since 2013. In 2019, he was appointed regional dean for Belhaven University's Eastern and Mid-South regions, overseeing the academic life of five campuses in Atlanta, Chattanooga, Dalton, DeSoto, and Memphis. Additionally, Dr. Criss serves as faculty at Belhaven and teaches business, leadership, history, Bible, and worldview.

Dr. Criss holds a Bachelor of Arts in Bible and Music from Central Bible College, a Master of Music from Arkansas State University, a Master of Divinity from Memphis Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Philosophy from The University of Memphis. He holds membership in several academic honorary societies: Phi Mu Alpha, Sigma Beta Delta, and Alpha Sigma Lambda, serving as Lambda Xi chapter council for Belhaven University.

He has 25 years of instructional experience and 18 years of higher education leadership/administration experience. Dr. Criss has held positions as adjunct instructor for Bethel University, assistant professor for Crichton College, director of academic development and tenured professor for Visible Music College, and president of Praxis Bible College. He has been active in working with both undergraduate and graduate traditional, online, and adult learners.

Dr. Criss has been an ordained minister for 20 years and has been the bi-vocational pastor of New Salem Church since 2001. Additionally, he serves the community as director of the North East Shelby County Community Choir, treasurer of the North Lakeland Community Association, and charter organization executive for Cub Scout Pack 453, Chickasaw Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Dr. Criss has been a rotarian since 2014 and has served the North East Shelby County Rotary Club as president nominee (2015-2016), vice-president/president elect (2016-2017), president (2017-2018), past-president (2018-2019), and currently is a board member (2019-2022). He is the club's liaison to the Belhaven University Rotaract Club and has the privilege of serving as District 6800's rotaract chair and coordinator of the Rotary Leadership Institute. Dr. Criss is a dedicated family man residing in Lakeland, Tennessee with his loving wife, Susanne (Susie), and their children, Sophie and Tommy.

For additional questions about graduation, contact Tony Peterson or call 901-767-8977.