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Bethel Prepares for Bellefeuille’s Inauguration

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MISHAWAKA--The inauguration of Barbara Bellefeuille, Ed.D, will take place in the Everest-Rohrer auditorium on Saturday, Sept. 10, at 10 a.m. 

“All of campus is invited, and the students especially, will be receiving reminders in chapel and email that will happen next week,” Brent LaVigne, vice president of institutional advancement, said.  

LaVigne said there will also be local government and collegiate officials present, including the mayor of South Bend and the president of Notre Dame.  

For students and faculty who are not able to attend the event, there will be a live stream available via the chapel link that students would normally use for live-streamed chapel.  

“I think it’s a great time to celebrate our president,” LaVigne said. 

There will also be a dessert reception for students, faculty and staff on Monday, Sept. 12, from 3:30-5 p.m. 

Bellefeuille has been with Bethel for 10 years, starting out as the vice president for academics. When she started here, she loved the message and the connection that Bethel had, and she said that remains true as she prepares for the upcoming ceremony. 

“Inaugurations are pomp and circumstance, it’s kind of like a graduation ceremony,” Bellefeuille said. “You graduate whether or not you go to the ceremony, that’s not the officialness, the official is you finished. Academics has always been about a little bit of pomp and circumstance, maybe it mimics more of a U.S. presidential inauguration. What it does, it brings the community of Bethel together.” 

Bellefeuille said one thing it has been important for her to focus on what the inauguration means for Bethel as a community as she prepares for the ceremony. 

“Personally, I’m kind of uncomfortable with an inauguration, it seems self-focused,” Bellefeuille said. “But it's not. It’s about Bethel. An inauguration is an opportunity for an institution to bring community leaders, government leaders, other delegates from other institutions and really focus on the institution and these people are encouraging the institution. For that reason, it is important to me.” 

Bellefeuille said that her vision for Bethel centers around a carefully chosen word. 

“We have a structure of what we are going to do, and that is going to be structured around the word faithfulness,” Bellefeuille said. “Faithful to our purpose, faithful to our people--which includes students--faithful to this place, this place that we call Bethel.” 

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