Belhaven University to Celebrate Graduating Class of 2023

spring commencement 2023

March 29, 2023 (Jackson, Miss.) - Belhaven University's 2023 Spring Commencement is April 29, 9:30 a.m. at the Mississippi Coliseum.

All traditional, adult, graduate, and online students will gather for one graduation ceremony, celebrating the Belhaven University Class of 2023. The ceremony will be available via livestream on the Belhaven University Facebook page or YouTube channel.

Belhaven University Provost Dr. Bradford Smith will be the commencement speaker this year. Smith is retiring as Belhaven's Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs after having served the University in various capacities over the past nine years.

Prior to coming to Belhaven, Smith's career path included working as a civil engineer for CH2M/Hill Consulting Engineers, director of strategic innovation for World Vision International's Center for Mission Advanced Research and Communication, and a licensed clinical psychologist, combining private practice with local and international university teaching for 22 years.

For the past 25 years, Smith has had a passion for mobilizing mental health resources for all. In 2014, he founded Belhaven's Institute for International Care and Counsel (IICC) and serves as its director. In that capacity, Smith convened a statewide Summit on the Church, Health & Mental Health on the Belhaven campus in 2016.

He currently directs the Rural Pastors Initiative-- a five-year program to provide mentoring and best practices training funded by a major grant from the Lilly Endowment. In 2019, he was appointed by the Mississippi Attorney General to the state's Mental Health Task Force. Later that year, he received the Excellence in Mental Health First Aid Community Impact Award by the Mississippi Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Health.

In the international context, he served as the senior associate for Global Mental Health and Trauma for the Lausanne Network. He was the first cross-cultural and international track leader for the Christian Association of Psychological Studies (CAPS).

He co-authored the 2017 book Global Mental Health and the Church and Global Mental Health: Expanding the Transforming Mission of the Church for InterVarsity Press. Smith has also co-edited the Journal of Psychology and Christianity's special issue on "Psychology in the Global Context."

Smith obtained a B.S. in Engineering at Tufts University and then a M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He earned two doctorate degrees, one in clinical psychology from University of Massachusetts - Boston and the other in education from Claremont Graduate University.

He has been married to Dr. Amy Rex Smith, retiring Dean of the School of Nursing, for 49 years. Their son and daughter-in-law have one son and live in the Boston area.