“I know the importance of a good education and I know firsthand that a great education can be obtained at Coker,” says Gloria Bell, a graduate of Coker College’s class of 1974 and current member of Coker’s Board of Trustees.
Bell, now retired, spent nearly 37 years with the accounting department of Sonoco, ultimately becoming the Vice President of Internal Audit, a role that involved auditing various plant locations to ensure they were compliant with company policy and proper internal controls were in place and operating effectively.
“I know the importance of a good education and I know firsthand that a great education can be obtained at Coker.”
When reflecting on her time spent at Coker, Bell says, “I supported many of the activities around campus, but I wasn’t an active member, which is something I regret.”
Bell wasn’t as involved in campus activities as she would have liked because she was busy taking a heavy course load, participating in work study and working several jobs around town so that she could graduate from Coker in just three short years. She did this so she could ease the financial burden put on her parents by having two children in college at the same time.
Through her current role on Coker’s Board of Trustees and past role as the Board’s treasurer, Bell greatly enjoys reviewing student organization and club presentations. It allows her to interact with students at board meetings, watch them showcase their talents and learn more about what’s going on around campus. In addition to her work on the Board of Trustees, Bell is also a frequent speaker at Coker events.
“So many of my favorite memories at Coker come from the faculty,” says Bell. “The instructors really made learning fun.” Professors Oates and Wilhelm are two business and accounting professors that Gloria fondly remembers. “Not only were they good instructors,” she says. “They were almost like a mom away from home.”
Bell once had an assignment from Professor Wilhelm to create her first practice set in bookkeeping. The project involved pretending as though she was running her own company, writing her own checks and paying bills on record. The project was to be completed over the course of a couple of weeks.
“I remember the excitement Professor Wilhelm had when sharing the assignment,” Bell says. “I was so charged that I stayed up all night and completed the entire assignment!”
“When I look at the DeLoach Center, I know that there are a few bricks that I helped to buy.”
Bell says a large part of her enthusiasm came from the way the project was presented to her. This was the defining moment when she knew accounting was for her.
Bell recognizes that the opportunities Coker provides both inside and outside of the classroom are essential to student growth, and she’s particularly proud of the way Coker students have been reaching out to and playing a larger role in the Hartsville community. Bell has continued this tradition of service, and was recently awarded the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award in recognition of fine humanitarian qualities.
“I would challenge every alum to begin their first year out of college making a financial donation to Coker,” says Bell. “Start your contribution at whatever level you can and then work to do more as time goes on. And for those of us who have already been blessed by Coker and our careers, let’s not forget to take time to sit down and write a check. Join me in giving back to our wonderful school.”
Bell has contributed to the Steinway Initiative and the DeLoach Center.
“When I look at the DeLoach Center, I know that there are a few bricks that I helped to buy,” she says. “It’s a good feeling because you see the fruits of your donation.”
Written by William Henry, alumni relations intern
Edited by Elizabeth Coxe Hubbard, content marketing specialist