Bethel University’s 74th Commencement Set for May 1, With Ceremony for Class of 2020 April 30

Lissa Diaz

This year, more than 315 students plan to participate in Bethel University’s two 2021 commencement ceremonies, which will be held Saturday, May 1, in the Wiekamp Athletic Center on Bethel’s campus. The 10 a.m. commencement includes adult programs, Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) completion and graduate programs. The 5 p.m. commencement includes all traditional undergraduate programs, Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) and Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).

“We are thrilled to be able to have an in-person graduation ceremony this year, and we’ve been working with our county health department to make it a reality,” says Barb Bellefeuille, Ed.D., vice president for academic services.

Graduation activities also include a nurse pinning ceremony, and a traditional walk through Bethel’s campus at the start of the commencement ceremony. COVID-19 precautions, including face coverings and physical distancing, will be observed throughout the ceremonies. For more information about the weekend’s graduation activities, visit our commencement page

Class of 2020 welcomed back, with opportunity to walk
The class of 2020 will be welcomed back to campus for the 73rd commencement ceremony to be held on April 30, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. in the Wiekamp Athletic Center. Of 363 2020 graduates, 115 will be returning to walk. These graduates will now be given the opportunity to process through campus as the first class to pass through Commencement Gate in the Krake Courtyard of our new Van and Jean Gates Welcome Center.

“This class was the first to graduate from the school following the change from college to university and we felt it appropriate to give them the opportunity to celebrate just prior to our Class of 2021,” says Emily Sherwood, director of alumni and donor relations. “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they were unable to experience a traditional ceremony. We are excited to be able to offer that to them now.”

Each alumnus will be given two guest tickets and those attendees will be seated in physically distanced groups of two. All graduates and guests will be asked to wear a face covering and follow safety protocols. More information can be found on our Class of 2020 page.

Both Friday’s and Saturday’s commencement ceremonies, as well as the Nursing Pinning Ceremony, will be simulcast for online viewers on our home page

About the speaker
The speaker for all ceremonies will be alumna Heather Gilbert ’02, J.D., CI/CT, SC:L. Gilbert is the President and Managing Attorney of Gilbert Law PLLC. She is a Plaintiff’s attorney representing individuals of protected classes, primarily deaf and hard of hearing individuals, with discrimination claims against employers, public accommodations, government entities, and/or other entities. Through her work and the courage of her brave clients, Gilbert’s cases have established landmark advances at the federal level for persons with disabilities. Gilbert also has a thriving and growing estate planning practice for preparing trusts, wills, powers of attorneys and health care directives.

Prior to practicing law, Gilbert worked as a certified sign language interpreter in various capacities but primarily in the legal field and for state and federal courts. In addition to practicing law, Gilbert is an adjunct professor at Mitchell Hamline teaching in the Expert Witness Academy, Advanced Advocacy, Transactions and Settlements, Deals and Dispute Resolution, and Lawyer as Business Owner.  She is a frequent presenter for attorney continuing education on topics including employment law, Americans With Disabilities Act, representing deaf clients, and law practice management. Gilbert achieved the Super Lawyers Rising Star each year from 2014 to present and serves on the Ramsey County Bar Association Board of Directors. Gilbert recently pioneered MasterMind Lawyers, a coaching and accountability collaboration advancing solo and small firm practice. While there is not always a lot of free time for Gilbert, you may spot her, every once in a while, in a musical theater production. Gilbert resides in St. Paul, Minn., with her husband Daniel Gilbert and their three school-aged children.

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