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Acadian Archives/Archives acadiennes

University of Maine at Fort Kent • 23 University Drive, Fort Kent, ME 04743

About Marcella Bélanger Violette

photo of Marcella Bélanger Violette when graduating for her doctorateMarcella Bélanger Violette was born and raised in Van Buren, Maine. She married Elmer Violette and became the mother of five children (Dennis, Marc, Paul, Louise, and Tom). She highly valued education receiving her B.A from The College of New Rochelle and an M.A. in French and English from Boston University. In 1953 she earned her Ph.D. from L'Université Saint Louis Maillet, Edmundston, N.B. Marcella was the first St. John Valley woman to receive a doctoral degree. Her dissertation entitled "French Influence in the St. John Valley" would become part of her life's work to celebrate and promote her Franco-American and Acadian heritage. In addition to her advocacy of the culture and language of the St. John Valley, she was a teacher and lecturer on family life and the role of women in society.

Marcella served on several state and local committees including: State Commission on Higher Education, Status of Education in Maine, State Study Committee on Financing of Post Secondary Education, University of Maine Committee on Human Equality, Maine Legislative Advisory Commission on Maine-Canadian Relations, Acadian Archives/ Archives Acadiennes Advisory Committee (University of Maine at Fort Kent), Advisory Board of the St. John Valley Bilingual Program (Title VII), Advisory Council to "Wellspring" - an Aroostook County Humanities Project (University of Maine at Presque Isle), Director of "Heritage Vivant", and the Van Buren District High School Parents Advisory Council.

Marcella conversing with a Catholic priestShe was active in the Roman Catholic Church including the Finance Council of the Catholic Diocese of Maine, Diocesan Human Relations Services, Delegate to "Call to Action" Conference, President of Northern Maine Council of Catholic Women, Chair for 15 years of the Parish Christian Family Movement, and Religious Education Teacher.

Elmer and Marcella Violette dressed in traditional Acadian garbIn addition, she participated in the National Institute of Education Conference on Multicultural Education, was a consultant for the Maine State Library project "Chez-Nous" the Saint John Valley, was a member of the New England-Atlantic Provinces-Quebec Association, and received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Maine at Fort Kent.

Marcella Bélanger Violette not only lived a life of public service but has provided a valuable resource in her collection of scrapbooks for generations yet to come. These scrapbooks provide a rich account of a vibrant St. John Valley, an Acadian people proud of their heritage, a people yearning for access to education, a people with strong family and religious beliefs. Through the hard work of her family to reproduce these scrapbooks in archival format, Marcella's love of "her Valley, her People" continues on.