Steno Pad in Hand

How Beverly Bell ’54 and ’56 decided to come to Moravian College for Women is an interesting one. So is the reason she holds both the secretarial degree and the four-year B.S. in business administration.

Her story began with her family’s move to Allentown in 1946 from Ventnor, N.J., when Bev was in seventh grade. Her Sunday School teacher was Miriam Boyer, who took a special interest in the Bell family.

In ninth grade, Bev began to hear about the college-prep course in high school. “I’m not going to college. I’m not college material. I want to be a secretary!” she told her parents and Miriam. She did not change their minds, but she was allowed to switch to the general course. Bev applied to Allentown Business School but it had closed temporarily (for financial reasons). Miriam then informed her about Moravian’s secretarial course. And knowing of Bev’s interest in sports, Miriam told her about the physical education program at Moravian. “Well, let’s check it out,” Bev said.

“I like shiny new modern things,” she continued, “so my heart sank when I saw those ancient buildings. But I decided to go there, and it turned out that I loved it.” Bev recalls that Miriam wrote Dean Josephine Curtis: “Bev’s grades are not indicative of her abilities, but I know she will not let you down.”

“When I entered Moravian in September 1952, my interest in sports led me to a wonderful Christian gym teacher, Libby Lawterwasser, who got my life straightened out with the Lord,” she said. As part of Libby’s small Scripture group, Bev met weekly with her to pray and go over Bible verses. Bev stayed in contact with Libby until her death in August 1959.

Completing her two-year secretarial course in 1954, she met Miriam in church that summer. Miriam asked where she was working. “Working! I’m not working! I’m going for my degree!” she said. She adds now: “I thought I was going to have to pick up Miriam off the floor.”

Bev obviously enjoyed her next two years at Moravian, graduating in 1956 with her bachelor’s degree. She also played softball, volleyball, basketball, and field hockey, though it took her three years to try the last “because I just couldn’t see people coming at me with sticks and whacking me around the ankles,” she said. She liked volleyball so much that she joined a church league after graduation.

Dean Curtis contacted Alma Albright ’40 at Bethlehem Steel, and Alma hired Bev to work in the central transcribing bureau until she was transferred to the college relations department. This was a division of management development. For almost 29 years, Bev kept track of the recruiters who went to more than 100 colleges every year and brought in potential metallurgical and chemical engineers, accountants, and sales representatives. And she helped them through the “Loop course,” a circuit of the works that let them all see how “the Steel” operated.

Secretarial work was everything she thought it would be, and she says she loved her career at the Steel. But she’s enjoying retirement equally. She has sat for babies, dogs, and cats, has been a companion to an older lady who needed help, and plays in a ladies’ golf league. And of course she keeps in close touch with her friends from the Class of 1956. You can always find mentions of their activities in the Class Notes section of the Moravian College Magazine.

—Helen Desh Woodbridge ’54,
with additional material from Judith Green

Bev Bell in her Moravian College for Women dink at the Moravian Academic Women tea in May 2005, with Ruth Overfield Fidorack ’41 in the wonderful flowered hat.

Photo: Joan Lardner Paul