William Bell (Miles College)
Bell, a graduate of Paine College in Augusta, Georgia, Columbia University in New York, and Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee, was hired at Miles in 1908 to teach Greek and mathematics. He was named president of the college in 1912, but left to accept the position of Dean at Lane College a year later. In 1917 he returned to Miles while also serving as Army YMCA secretary. In 1919 he became secretary of the Interchurch World Movement. He went back to Paine College as field secretary in 1930, and then was appointed secretary of education for the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church in 1934. After two years in that position he returned to Miles as president, serving until his death in 1961.
Bell was known as a capable and meticulous, but aloof, leader. He guided the institution from the brink of bankruptcy following the Great Depression and constructed the foundation for later expansion.