News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

October 26, 2007

The Woods installs first male president

TERRE HAUTE — Beth Behrs sang a song with special meaning during her father’s installation Friday as the 15th president of St. Mary-of-the-Woods College.

Behrs, 21, joined Woods faculty member Michael Boswell in singing “The Prayer,” a song about going on a new journey and asking for God’s guidance and protection. Her father, David Behrs, became the Woods’ first male and first lay president on July 1.

The song began with the words: “I pray you’ll be our eyes, and watch us where we go … And help us to be wise, in times when we don’t know; Let this be our prayer, when we lose our way … Lead us to the place, guide us with your grace.”

David Behrs’ other daughter, Emily, 15, also participated with a reading from the New Testament.

The Woods’ new president, 48, said that having his daughters sit on the Cecilian Auditorium stage with him and participate in his installation ceremony “was a little overwhelming … It made it so special.”

The ceremony began with a procession that included Woods’ representatives, the mayor of Terre Haute and delegates from several other colleges and universities who wore their academic regalia. Community representatives and many Sisters of Providence also attended.

Speakers congratulated Behrs and welcomed him as the new college president.

Jeanette Wrin, co-chairwoman of the college’s staff steering committee, told Behrs, “We have already recognized great leadership qualities in you. Some adjectives that might describe you are enthusiastic, thankful, committed, dynamic, caring and open.”

Mary Barrett, chairwoman of the college board of trustees, said that during the presidential search, Behrs quickly rose to the top among a pool of talented applicants.

“We were impressed and inspired by his intellect, his energy, his sense of purpose, his knowledge of our institution and his reverence for our traditions,” Barrett said.

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    March 12, 2010