Meet Bethany Ellis, Wellesley’s New Director of Athletics and Chair of PERA

Bethany Ellis watches a game from the stands.
Photo provided by Macy Lipkin ’23
September 11, 2019

Bethany Ellis, Wellesley’s new director of athletics and chair of the Department of Physical Education, Recreation, and Athletics (PERA), talks about summer fun, cars powered by vegetable oil, and the importance of wellness for every Wellesley student.

Q: What was the best thing you did this summer?

Bethany Ellis: I spent a week in Bar Harbor/Acadia, Maine, with my spouse and three kids (8, 5, and 1). We hiked, biked the carriage roads, and explored the area. It was equal parts exhausting and wonderful!

Q: You started at Wellesley in July, joining us from Boston University. What are you looking forward to most about working at the College?

Ellis: I’m excited to get to know the students and be witness to the success that they will achieve, not only during their time at Wellesley, but as they impact the world in a variety of ways. I am certain that I will never cease to be amazed at the energy, potential, and compassion that those drawn to Wellesley will ultimately give.

Q: What do you want every student to know about what you do on campus?

Ellis: I’d like every student to understand how much personal wellness impacts their goals. It’s the type of thing that people feel that they “get,” but it so often takes a back seat to competing priorities and the day-to-day hustle. I want students to leave Wellesley armed with a repertoire of strategies and activities that they can use over the course of their lives to stay healthy and centered.

Q: Tell us a random fact about yourself.

Ellis: How about three random facts?

Q: That works. Tell us three random facts about yourself!

Ellis: I used to own a 1985 Mercedes 300 Turbo that ran on vegetable oil (for fuel). I was a national tumbling champion when I was 6 years old. I grew up on a corn farm in Illinois.

Q: When you aren’t cheering for the Blue, where would we find you?

Ellis: Most likely, I would be chasing my kids or attending one of their activities. We also love to travel as a family and ski, and we are a house of readers!

Q: Like the class of 2023, you’re a first-year. What’s your goal for year one?

Ellis: My primary goal this year is simply to get acclimated, get to know people, and properly assess the status of the department and how it operates. I am fortunate to be following in the footsteps of someone (Bridget Belgiovine) who made a very positive impact on the department and campus. I am excited to become more integrated into the workings of campus and develop a vision for PERA’s next decade.