Bell, Cornell A. | Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections
Cornell A. Bell was director of the Purdue University, Business Opportunity Program for 37 years until his retirement in 2006 Bell was born in Evansville, Indiana.. He received a Bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1947 and a Master's degree in education in 1952, both from Indiana University. He received his doctoral degree in education from Purdue University in 1972. He worked as a chemist for Stauffer Chemical Co., taught science classes at Pulaski School in Gary and served as guidance counselor, assistant principal and principal at Gary Froebel School and Gary Tolleston High School before taking the position at Krannert School of Management at Purdue University in 1969.
As director/chairman of the Business Opportunity Program, which was designed to create a more diverse student body, Dr. Bell helped recruit hundreds of graduate and undergraduate students to the West Lafayette campus. He was also active with the Graduate Management Admission Council nationally to increase diversity in schools of business throughout the country. He distinguished himself in education with his personal involvement and dedication in helping provide opportunities to hundreds of students through the Business Opportunity Program. The Business Opportunity Program began with 11 student participants in 1968 and, under Dr. Bell's leadership and guidance, it grew to include 500 minority undergraduate students and more than 300 minority graduate students.
His efforts were widely recognized. He received the Special Boilermaker Award from the Purdue Alumni Association in 1987 for his contributions to the quality of student life at Purdue. He received the M. Beverley Stone Non-Academic Counseling Award in 1990, recognizing him as an individual who shows personal concern, gives unselfishly of time, and who shares love through outstanding service to Purdue students.
He also received the Indiana Bell Award in 1991 and the Harold T. Amrine Visionary Award in 1994. Indiana Gov. Evan Bayh honored Dr. Bell with a Sagamore of the Wabash, the highest award given by the governor, in 1996. That year, in recognition of his extraordinary efforts, the Business Opportunity Program was renamed the Cornell A. Bell Business Opportunity Program. Dr. Bell provided guidance as a role model for hundreds of students from high school to graduate school. He died on March 20, 2009 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.