John Ellison - Interdisciplinary Studies
John "Jay" Ellison is no stranger to academic success. A lecturer and assistant dean at Harvard University who has two master's degrees and a PhD, he has found fulfillment in life through his scholastic pursuit, loving family, and unwavering faith in God. Dr. Ellison has worked with tireless persistence to attain all he has, and his work began at Southeastern.
When Dr. Ellison made the decision to enroll at Southeastern, he was a married man with a newborn son. Living in Atlanta, he worked as a city police officer. Dr. Ellison knew the path a college education could create was one he wanted to follow and soon enrolled at the age of 25. He wanted to pursue an academic career that would allow him to continue to study the Bible and strengthen his relationship with God. This search led him to Southeastern.
As a married student with a family to support, Dr. Ellison said he didn't expect college life to be a breeze. He often found it difficult to navigate between academia and family life, but was determined to continue his studies. Working full time as a bodyguard to support himself and his family, Dr. Ellison was able to excel in his academic studies, his family life, and his strengthening faith. Though there were frustrating times, the solid base of education he was receiving at Southeastern made the situation worthwhile.
Dr. Ellison had always been interested in Bible study and Scripture, but it wasn't until he took a Southeastern class dealing with ancient Greek that he discovered his second passion- languages. Taught by Irvin Ziemann, the class material and student-teacher relationship became a huge influence on Dr. Ellison's future academic interests.
He found a mentor in former Southeastern Bible professor Dr. William Barnes, the professor Dr. Ellison said got him hooked on biblical languages. Dr. Barnes was a Harvard graduate whose first year teaching at Southeastern coincided with Dr. Ellison's first year as a student. He and Dr. Barnes developed a special connection, driven by mutual love of biblical languages.
Independent studies over the summer months and hard, dedicated work during academic terms awarded Dr. Ellison an undergraduate degree in three years. Upon the recommendation of his mentor, Dr. Barnes, he was accepted to the Harvard Divinity School, where he received his first master's degree in scripture and interpretation. Dr. Ellison was then accepted into a PhD program that enabled him to earn both a doctorate and a second master's degree through the study of Middle Eastern languages.
Dr. Ellison now works as a lecturer on Near Eastern languages and civilizations at Harvard University. In addition, he is an assistant dean at Harvard College, the undergraduate school of the university.