When he was just sixteen, Len Bell '47 enrolled at Bowdoin. It was during the summer after his junior year at Lewiston High School, and he enrolled at such a young age through a special agreement between the College and Maine schools. "It was wartime," Bell explains. "There weren't too many of us—civilian students —on campus." Everyone on campus, including Len and classmates Shepherd Lee, Burt Moore, Leonard Gottlieb, Warren Court, Bob Morrell, and others, ate all their meals together at a fraternity house.
Bell was business manager of the Bowdoin Orient, and he co-chaired the College's first Red Cross campaign. When more students started arriving after the war ended, he helped re-start the fledgling football program. "It was a makeshift schedule," Bell remembers, "really just games against Bates and Colby." Bell and a classmate ran the hot dog concession stand, which helped him pay back his parents for part of the cost of his Bowdoin education.
After graduation, Bell moved back to Lewiston and established Bell Manufacturing Company. After a career in the business and retiring as President of the company, Bell became a general partner of Private Investments in Boston. Throughout that time, he also was active in numerous national Jewish organizations and political campaigns, both locally and nationally.
Both Len and his wife Phyllis, who attended McGill University, recognize Bowdoin's importance to Len's professional and personal development. "It literally changed my life," Bell says. Hoping to extend this same opportunity to others, particularly students from Maine, the Bells established the Phyllis and Leonard Bell Scholarship Fund in 2007. The Fund provides financial aid for Bowdoin undergraduates, with a preference for needy Maine students.
Len and Phyllis have lived in Highland Beach, Florida, since 1984. They have two daughters and three grandchildren.