Truman has received a $50,000 grant from the Bell Family Foundation of San Francisco, Calif., to establish an endowed scholarship program for students studying computer science.
The gift was made to honor the late Lola Gordon Bell, a 1923 graduate of Northeast Missouri State Teachers College, and Sharon Bell Smith, a 1961 graduate, respectively the mother and sister of the foundation’s founder, C. Gordon Bell of San Francisco. The Lola Bell and Sharon Bell Smith Computer Science Scholarship will be awarded to computer science students with financial need, leadership abilities and graduate school potential.
Lola Bell taught fourth grade at the Kirksville Normal School (Greenwood) and later, until the age of 90, to homebound students. Sharon Bell Smith is a retired teacher living in Bethany, Mo.
Gordon Bell was raised in Kirksville and became interested in electrical engineering by repairing appliances and wiring homes while working with the family business, Bell Electric. He earned Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in electrical engineering from MIT and was an early employee of the Digital Equipment Corporation, eventually serving as the vice president of research and development.
An entrepreneur and investor, some of Bell’s career activities have included serving on the faculty of Carnegie-Mellon University as well as being the first National Science Foundation assistant director of the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate. He was also a public policy advisor and researcher at Microsoft Research. George H.W. Bush awarded him the National Medal of Technology in 1991.
Bell co-founded the Computer Museum in Boston, Mass., and is a founding board member of its successor, the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif.
In the fall of 2013, Bell returned to Kirksville to meet with Truman computer science students and faculty.