Before B. B. Bell, General, United States Army (Retired) and UTC Distinguished Alumnus, delivered the spring commencement address to approximately 900 graduates on Sunday in McKenzie Arena, he was awarded an honorary doctoral degree, only the third bestowed at UTC since 1969.
The conferral of honorary doctoral degrees provides a special opportunity for a campus to recognize persons of outstanding accomplishment. In recognizing such persons, the University identifies women and men who can serve as role models for our students, faculty, alumni, and all citizens of the state of Tennessee, according to Chancellor Roger Brown.
“General Bell, you have distinguished yourself throughout your career, and by doing so, you have brought distinction and recognition to this campus. And so, it is with great honor that on behalf of The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, I bestow the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters to you, General B.B. Bell,” Brown said as he conferred the degree.
Bell, a native Tennessean, retired in 2008 following 39 years of military service. He graduated from the University of Chattanooga in 1969 with a degree in Business Administration. After graduation, Bell was commissioned in the Army as a participant in the University’s ROTC program and designated a Distinguished Military Graduate. He served fifteen years deployed overseas during both peace and war times.
As a two star general, he commanded the Army’s Armor Center at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and later, as a three star general, he commanded the Army’s Third Corps, headquartered at Fort Hood, Texas. As a four star general, General Bell commanded the United States Army in Europe, as well as NATO’s Land Component Headquarters in Heidelberg, Germany. Subsequently he served as the Commander of United States Forces in Korea, as well as commander of all Allied Forces in Korea.
Bell is a veteran of the Balkans Campaigns in southern Europe as well as the Iraq Desert Storm Campaign where he served as General Norman Schwarzkopf’s Executive Officer. He is a lifetime member of the New York based Council on Foreign Relations, has a master’s degree from the University of Southern California, and holds two honorary doctorate degrees.
He was named UTC Distinguished Alumnus in 2003. He is married to Katie Fields Bell of Chattanooga. Their son, Buck, lives with his wife, Jennifer, and daughter, Jinny in Tampa, Florida.