CLEMSON, S.C. – Hartsville, South Carolina physician Thomas James “Jimmy” Bell, Jr. is being honored by the Clemson Alumni Association with the Distinguished Service Award, the highest honor that the association bestows on former Clemson Tigers.
Bell was a pre-med student at Clemson University, graduating summa cum laude in 1965. He continued his education at the Medical University of South Carolina, graduating in 1969 with a Doctor of Medicine degree.
As a Clemson student, Bell received the Norris Medal, an award presented to the best all-around graduating senior at Clemson. He was president of his sophomore and junior classes and the student body president during his senior year. Bell received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, was a Sigma Tau Epsilon Award honoree and a member of the Clemson Tigers Football team where he served as an alternate captain, defensive safety and quarterback. In 1964, Dr. Bell was named to the Academic All-ACC team and was inducted into the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame representing District three for football performance, academic achievement and campus leadership. A member of Tiger Brotherhood and Blue Key, he was awarded the Air Force ROTC Scholastic Award and was a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Phi Eta Sigma and Sigma Tau Epsilon.
After graduating from medical school and completing a rotating internship at Charlotte Memorial Hospital, Bell entered the U.S. Air Force where he served his country and completed his family medicine training at the U.S. Air Force Pediatric Clinic. He was also the U.S. Air Force Practice Clinic Director. In 1972, he began practicing medicine at Family Practice Hartsville in Hartsville, South Carolina where he continues to practice today.
In service to his alma mater, Bell has served on the Clemson Alumni Council and the Clemson University Board of Visitors. He is a member of the President’s Club and the Annual Major Gift Club as well as an IPTAY Life Donor and an IPTAY Representative in Darlington County. He served as the president of the Clemson Alumni Physicians Society and is a member of Block ‘C,’ Clemson’s letterman’s association.
Bell has made an impact in his local community through his volunteerism on the City Council of Hartsville, as chairman of Darlington County Emergency Medical Services, and Coker College Team Physician and Board of Trustees member. He has volunteered as a physician at the Free Medical Clinic of Darlington County and has traveled on a mission trip to Trinidad with First Baptist Church for six summers serving six medical clinics.
For his dedication to his community and his profession, Bell was awarded the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina’s highest civilian honor, by Governor Nikki Haley. He has received the Pioneer Award for Rural Health Service in South Carolina, the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award from Coker College, which he had also received as a student at Clemson and has served his community as a family physician for more than forty-seven years.
The prestigious Clemson Alumni Distinguished Service Award is based on three main criteria: personal and professional accomplishments; dedication and service to Clemson University; and devotion to community and public service. Members of the Clemson family nominate potential winners, who are then selected by the Clemson Alumni Association as outstanding alumni, public servants and examples to others.
Bell and his wife, Nancy, have three children. A son, Thomas James Bell III ‘91, (deceased), and wife Mary Gwinn; daughter, Elizabeth Bell Quinn ‘94 and her husband Terry; and daughter, Andrea Bell Trader ‘96 and her husband Derek ’95. They have four grandchildren, Matthew, Lizzie, Abby and Mia.’ He currently resides in Hartsville, South Carolina.
The Clemson Alumni Association, an open-membership, nonprofit organization since its inception in 1896, connects members of the more than 161,000-strong Clemson Family, inspiring pride, celebrating achievement, providing service and strengthening relationships with Clemson University and with each other. For more information, visit Clemson.edu/alumni.
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