Wingate Faces

Greg Bell

9/5/2013
Written by Kellen Williams (Marketing & Communications Intern)

Dr. Gregory Bell recalls being asked by a former Wingate College classmate, “Did I have you?” He laughed and politely said, “No, you had my dad.” Bell understood the confusion, because between 1984 and 1988, “there were two Bells on campus,” he said. His father taught history and sociology; Dr. Bell teaches math. Surprisingly it was not because of his father’s job that he started teaching, nor that he did so at Wingate, but it was because, as he said, “God has a sense of humor.”

Bell grew up in the town of Wingate and planned to go somewhere else after graduating from Forest Hills High School. He looked at other colleges, but he didn’t like them. He ended up deciding on Wingate College, not because that was his plan, but because “God has a sense of humor.”

History was Bell’s favorite subject. When he started school at Wingate, he decided to double major in math and history. “History was fun, but I thought math would get me a job,” he said. He figured if he majored in only history, his only job choice would be teaching, and he “absolutely wouldn’t be a teacher.”

Bell graduated in 1982 and went on to get a master’s degree at the University of South Carolina. “When I got there I had to answer a question; ‘Do you want financial aid?’” Through answering this question and through God’s sense of humor, Bell started teaching as a graduate assistant.

In the Fall of 1984, Bell accepted a temporary teaching position at his alma mater. He has been at Wingate ever since, with the exception of one year during which he was completing his doctorate at the University of Illinois. While it may have been God’s sense of humor which brought him to Wingate, it was the students that made him stay. “I didn’t want to give them up,” Bell said. “They make it worthwhile.” He enjoys his students and his colleagues and enjoys watching the campus grow.

Tucked back in his basement office, Dr. Bell may have what he described as “the best view on campus.” His office overlooks the outdoor amphitheater, the Stegall administration building and the promenade. Looking out his window, he can see the changes the school has made. He admitted “the physical changes jump out first...it was pretty when I attended, but it’s gorgeous now.” He has also watched Wingate grow academically; when he started as a freshman, the college had its first senior class as it transitioned to a 4-year college.

Dr. Bell combines his majors in teaching a History of Math class. Although history was his hobby, he admitted, “Math is fun, and I have access to all the history books I would like.” Math is now more than a job, teaching is more than financial aid, and Wingate is more than a college. It was not his plan to come back or to stay for as long as he has, but “Again,” he joked, “God has a sense of humor.” God is not the only one.