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Joe Bell and his wife, Judy, were recognized during the Homecoming football game last fall. Joe graduated from the University in 1963 as its first African American to complete a degree. In honor of his legacy, The Black Alumni and Friends Chapter of the Northwest Alumni Association recently established the Joe Bell Black Alumni and Friends Scholarship. (Photo by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

Joe Bell and his wife, Judy, were recognized during the Homecoming football game last fall. Joe graduated from the University in 1963 as its first African American to complete a degree. In honor of his legacy, The Black Alumni and Friends Chapter of the Northwest Alumni Association recently established the Joe Bell Black Alumni and Friends Scholarship. (Photo by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

July 15, 2022

Black Alumni and Friends Chapter establishes scholarship in honor of University’s first African American graduate


The Northwest Missouri State University Alumni Association’s Black Alumni and Friends Chapter recently established the Joe Bell Black Alumni and Friends Scholarship in honor of Joe Bell, the first African American graduate of Northwest.

“We  felt it necessary to honor the contribution and legacy Mr. Joe Bell has had not only to Black and Brown students on campus but to the Northwest community at large,” Abdul Kaba Abdullah, the president of the Black Alumni and Friends Chapter and a 2002 Northwest graduate, said. “This scholarship connects past students to future students and will serve as a reminder of the many sacrifices and debts paid by Mr. Bell to allow African American students access to higher education on the campus of Northwest Missouri State.”

Bell completed a bachelor’s degree in health and secondary physical education while minoring in industrial arts. In addition to playing with the Bearcat football team, Bell’s degree paved his way to a teaching career that spanned 37 years and a coaching career that lasted 26 years.

Northwest celebrated his legacy at the University during its Homecoming activities last year, during which he served as grand marshal.

Recipients of the scholarship shall be of the African diaspora and enrolled full-time with a minimum 2.0 GPA. Recipients also must demonstrate active involvement in a University-affiliated organization. Financial need will be leading criteria.

Established in 2017, the Black Alumni and Friends Chapter is dedicated to promoting interests, needs and relationships of African American alumni and students at the University in addition to serving as a source of ideas, recommendations and information relative to the well-being and progress of Northwest’s African American alumni and students.

For information about supporting the Joe Bell Black Alumni and Friends Scholarship or giving to Northwest in other ways, contact the Office of University Advancement at 660.562.1248 or advance@covenhouse.com.



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