SAVANNAH – Mercer University President William D. Underwood recently announced a $150,000 commitment to the University from Mercer School of Engineering alumnus G. Holmes Bell IV, P.E., CEO and chairman of Savannah design firm Hussey, Gay, Bell & DeYoung.
The gift brings the University a step closer to its goal of expanding its School of Medicine M.D. and Ph.D. programs in Savannah.
"This is an extraordinary commitment from one of Mercer's most loyal supporters," Underwood said. "It builds on the Bell family's history of generosity to Mercer. This latest gift, which supports the expansion of Mercer School of Medicine's Savannah facilities, is a testament of our alumni's commitment to Mercer, and I am deeply grateful."
The project consists of the renovation, design and construction of more than 60,000 square feet of space on the campus of Memorial University Medical Center. Once completed, it will house medical and clinical education, including simulation rooms, an auditorium, medical library, classrooms and student support. The facility is expected to be occupied in the fall of 2015.
"Mercer is unsurpassed in the quality of its graduate and undergraduate education, and I strongly support the University's goal to make that extraordinary experience available to more students than ever before with this expansion of programs in Savannah," Bell said. "I hope my commitment will inspire other alumni, friends and families to support the funding for these critical projects."
Already among Mercer's donors, the Bell family previously gifted one of Macon's most historic buildings, a 10,000-square-foot Greek Revival pictured on the Allman Brothers Band's debut album cover, to the University. The Bell House, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was gifted to the University in 2008 to benefit its School of Engineering and School of Music by the Bell family in memory of Amanda Hancock Morris Bell. The facility opened last month as the new home of Mercer's Robert McDuffie Center for Strings, following a yearlong extensive renovation.
In addition to serving as CEO and chairman for all Hussey, Gay, Bell & DeYoung companies, Bell also serves as general partner of the Bell Family LLLP, which owns and operates more than 250,000 square feet of Class A office and industrial space in the Carolinas and Georgia.
A native of Savannah, Bell holds two degrees – a Bachelor of Arts in history from Hampden-Sydney College and a Bachelor of Science in environmental engineering from Mercer's School of Engineering. He is a graduate of Leadership Savannah and Leadership Georgia and a member of Mercer's School of Engineering National Engineering Advisory Board (NEAB), Georgia Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, SAGIS Savannah Board, Young Presidents' Organization (YPO), along with several other local organizations. He is also a former member of the Memorial Health Foundation Board and Savannah Music Festival Board.
A top ENR 500 Design Firm, Hussey, Gay, Bell & DeYoung (HGBD) has provided professional engineering and architectural services in Georgia and South Carolina for more than five decades. With full operations in Savannah and Atlanta, Georgia, and Charleston and Columbia, South Carolina, the firm provides full design service in the fields of transportation, drainage, civil, water and wastewater systems, solid waste, site development, master planning, landscape architecture, geotechnical engineering, environmental engineering and surveying, architecture, and planning services in addition to program management.
About the Mercer University School of Medicine (Macon, Savannah and Columbus)
Mercer University's School of Medicine was established in 1982 to educate physicians and health professionals to meet the primary care and health care needs of rural and medically underserved areas of Georgia. Today, more than 60 percent of graduates currently practice in the state of Georgia, and of those, more than 80 percent are practicing in rural or medically underserved areas of Georgia. Mercer medical students benefit from a problem-based medical education program that provides early patient care experiences. Such an academic environment fosters the early development of clinical problem-solving and instills in each student an awareness of the place of the basic medical sciences in medical practice. The School opened a full four-year campus in Savannah in 2008 at Memorial University Medical Center. In 2012, the School began offering clinical education for third- and fourth-year medical students in Columbus. Following their second year, students participate in core clinical clerkships at the School's primary teaching hospitals: Medical Center, Navicent Health in Macon; Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah; and The Medical Center and St. Francis Hospital in Columbus. The School also offers master's degrees in family therapy, preclinical sciences and biomedical sciences and a Ph.D. and Psy.D. in clinical medical psychology.