Bethel University to hold Inauguration for President Barbara K. Bellefeuille, Ed.D.

Lissa Diaz

Bethel University will inaugurate Barbara K. Bellefeuille, Ed.D., as its eighth president on Saturday, Sept. 10, at 10 a.m. in the Everest-Rohrer Chapel/Fine Arts Center – Auditorium on Bethel’s campus. Bob Laurent, Ph.D., former Bethel University professor, and current teaching pastor at Granger Community Church, will speak. Luminos, an a capella group started by Bethel University alumni, will perform. This event is free and open to the public.

“We are thrilled to celebrate the inauguration of our eighth president, and first female president, Dr. Barb Bellefeuille. The Bethel University Board of Trustees and Inauguration Committee has been excited not only about who our president is and the skills she brings, but the opportunity to highlight the 75-year impact of Bethel University through its alumni, staff and faculty. All are welcome and invited to celebrate God’s faithfulness to our university and our president at the inauguration,” says Brent Lavigne, Ph.D., vice president for institutional advancement and chair of the inauguration committee. 

A celebratory lunch, by invitation only, for delegates and special guests, will take place following the inauguration, in the Dining Commons, with a guest musician.

A reception for Bethel faculty, staff and students will be held in the Everest-Rohrer Rotunda on Monday, Sept. 12, from 3:30-5 p.m.

For more information, visit our inauguration page.

About President Bellefeuille

Barbara K. Bellefeuille, Ed.D., was officially named the eighth president of Bethel University on March 9, 2022, after serving as interim president of the university for nine months. She is the first female to serve in the university’s highest leadership role.

Bellefeuille first came to Bethel University in 2012, spending almost nine years as Vice President for Academic Services, before becoming interim president on June 1, 2021. 

As interim president, Bellefeuille enriched a culture of academic excellence, spiritual flourishing and innovation at Bethel, with a specific focus on centering the campus around Christ. She boosted morale on campus, amid lingering impact from COVID-19, strengthened the relationship with the Missionary Church, and connected with students. She initiated new traditions, such as the Igniting the Pilot Lights tree lighting ceremony, and a scriptural focus for the year of John 3:30, “He must increase, I must decrease.” Additionally, she, along with the advancement team, secured a $1 million gift from the Mely and Rick Rey Foundation Inc. Bethel also experienced its most successful Giving Tuesday to date under Bellefeuille’s leadership.

As a former vice president at Bethel, Bellefeuille oversaw all academic-related functions of the university, including hiring and developing faculty, reviewing and implementing academic programs, and creating a vision for meeting the challenges facing higher education. During her tenure, she guided the development of new academic majors for both on-campus and online programs (e.g., computer science, cybersecurity, marketing, worship arts). A proven senior administrator, she undertook two major curricula reviews and led the university through a lengthy and successful accreditation renewal process with the Higher Learning Commission (2017). She also helped design and launch an innovative national extension program housed in churches, Bethel University Extension Studies (BU-X), in 2020, which is exceeding expectations.

During the 2020 pandemic year, she led a significant and successful revamping of the academic calendar, classroom procedures and communication processes for faculty, students and academic administration. In recognition of her academic leadership, she served for the two years as Chair of the Commission of Chief Academic Officers of the national Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).

Bellefeuille has more than 30 years of experience in higher education. Prior to coming to Bethel, she spent 21 years at Toccoa Falls College in Toccoa Falls, Ga., with roles including vice president of academics and professor of teacher education and department chair, as well as Acting CEO. She has also participated in the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities Women’s Leadership Development Institute. She earned a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from Virginia Tech, a master’s in educational administration from Reformed Theological Seminary and a bachelor’s in biblical education from Columbia International University.

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