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Southwestern names EMS program in honor of longtime trustee Terry Bell

SYLVA – For more than a quarter century, Southwestern Community College was a huge part of Terry Bell’s life.

During his lengthy career as a Macon County Schools educator and administrator, he completed his Firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician training through Southwestern.

And from 1995-2019, he served on SCC’s Board of Trustees – the last seven as chair.

To recognize Bell’s leadership, contributions and longtime affiliation with the college, Southwestern has renamed its Emergency Medical Science program in his honor.

“Mr. Bell was on the Board of Trustees when I accepted this role (in 2011), and I’ve always been grateful for the leadership he provided for our college,” said Dr. Don Tomas, SCC President. “He’s a lifelong educator who fully appreciates the value of a community college education, and he’s extremely deserving of this honor.”

Bell worked for almost 50 years for Haywood County and Macon County Schools. He was an instructor, principal at three different schools and an assistant principal at Franklin High Schools.

Simultaneously, he used his SCC training and credentials to serve as an emergency medical technician and volunteer firefighter in Macon County.

After retiring in 2009 as Chief Operations Officer for the Macon County School System, he continued to work in a special consultant capacity as Director of Human Resources at Macon County Schools until retiring in 2021.

“Southwestern Community College means a lot to me, and I’m very proud of the impact it continues to make on Western North Carolina and the people who live here,” Bell said. “I’m honored that the administration here wanted to do this.”

For more information about Southwestern and the programs it offers, visit, call 828.339.4000 or visit your nearest SCC location.

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