MISHAWAKA—On Jan. 25, Board Chairman Randy Lehman announced that Vice President for Academic Services Barbara Bellefeuille, Ed.D., will be filling the role of interim president for Bethel University effective June 1.
Bellefeuille was approached about the interim presidency in early January, and though she received no pressure to make a hasty decision, she quickly was at peace with accepting the position.
“Being that it’s an interim presidency, that has a little different feel,” Bellefeuille said. “A presidential position should appropriately go through a full search, particularly assuming it’s someone coming from outside . . . full searches for a president take at least a year, it’s an absolute miracle if they don’t.”
Bellefeuille said her decision was driven by her love for Bethel.
“It basically came down to my love and care for this institution,” Bellefeuille said. “You want this transition to go extremely well, and you want, as much as possible, to continue without interruption on this campus. I was happy to step into that role.”
During her interim presidency, Bellefeuille will assume all the presidential responsibilities until a new president is selected, likely in the spring of 2022. As for her current position, Bethel is planning to hire a new vice president for academic services before June 1, and Bellefeuille will not be returning to that position. Her plans following the interim presidency are still to be decided, but she said she does hope to remain at Bethel.