Raj Bellani ends his era at the Hubbard Center, accepts position at Denison University

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Photo courtesy of DePauw University

DePauw announced Thursday evening that Rajesh "Raj" Bellani, dean of experiential learning and career planning at the Hubbard Center, will be leaving DePauw at the end of June to fulfill the position of Assistant to the President at Denison University.

“It was a unique opportunity to work with a former supervisor, who is now President at Denison, Adam Weinberg. I received a call from him and he asked me to consider an opportunity with him,” Bellani said on the phone Thursday evening. “I’ve known him for seven years, worked with him for six. It was a unique opportunity to work on cabinet at Denison and to implement a unique plan.”

Although a unique opportunity, this decision didn’t come with ease.

“It was difficult for me to accept because I love DePauw and the Hubbard Center and, of course, the students and alumni,” he said.

Bellani came to DePauw in 2012 after working at the Rhode Island Institute for Design and Colgate College. He has dedicated his last four years at DePauw to improving the Hubbard Center for Student Engagement. For many, the Hubbard Center will be Bellani’s lasting legacy.

“The Hubbard Center is like his baby,” said senior and Student Body President Craig Carter on the phone Thursday night. “Whenever you think about the Hubbard Center, you think Raj.”

Bellani sees it a little differently.

The center is much larger than one person,” he said. “This center has institutionalized the commitment and the message that every student should have a plan of action for a life of direction. That’s what Kathy [Hubbard] has done for us, I cannot thank her enough for her support, and Dr. Casey.”

He continued to list many more names for their support: the Coquillette family, the St. John family, Kathy and Al Hubbard, the Darnall family, the Neville family, the entire alumni base and trustees, among others.

Throughout all of his time and hard work at DePauw, Bellani will miss the students the most.

“The students are just amazing individuals here,” he said. “I’ve had lots of conversations with them. The best part of my job is just talking with them and helping them and seeing them in town. That will be the most difficult part because my new job will not have as high student contact as I did at DePauw.”

Although students have faith in the Hubbard Center staff, many are shocked and saddened by this news.

“The thing I’ll miss most is his personality. He’s lively. You don’t meet people high up in professionalism with a super vibrant personality,” Carter said. “I’m still in shock. He came in with my class and now he’s graduating with our class.”

“Raj has been an influential mentor to me in my past three years at DePauw,” said junior Elizabeth St. John. “In my time working with him closely on many projects, he has inspired me to take advantage of every second of the day through his drive, confidence and passion for what he does. I cannot thank him enough for all that he has done for me. I look forward to continuing a relationship with him even when we're both are no longer at DePauw."

Bellani said that President-elect Mark McCoy and Vice President of Academic Affairs Anne Harris will start the search to fill Bellani’s position after his departure on July 1. But for now, he’s “committed to the graduating class and will make sure everything is in place for the next academic year.”

“I’ve learned that DePauw provides a transformational education experience for its students,” he said. “They are confident individuals, committed individuals, who will succeed in ways they don’t even know yet. And to me, that is the transformational education that DePauw provides. This school does it in the most phenomenal way possible. I attribute that to the faculty. The faculty, the teaching they provide, is second to none—that is what provides the transformational education. The [Hubbard] Center just packages it.”

Although DePauw will go on without Bellani, just as it will go on without Casey, students will always remember Bellani for his diligent commitment to helping students.

“You will never be able to replicate Raj,” said senior Grant Walters. “He’s such a big part of the Hubbard center. I truly believe he has left DePauw better than he found it.”