Kevin Bell and Shelby Scholarship in the College of Veterinary Medicine

A conversation with Debbie Allen.

Why did you choose to create a scholarship at Auburn University?
I created this annual scholarship in the College of Veterinary Medicine as a 24th birthday gift for my son, Kevin Bell.

What would you want the recipients of this scholarship to know about the person for whom it is named?
If you want to do something badly enough, it can be done no matter the obstacles in your path. While Kevin had to deal with devastating physical handicaps, he graduated from Auburn University at the age of 19 with a degree in psychology and then at 21 he added a degree in Spanish.

Kevin had an aide dog, Shelby, who took every class Kevin took. Shelby was his constant companion who allowed him freedom—the ability to go out on his own. The AU Vet School took care of Shelby through the years.

Tell us about your Auburn story, favorite tradition, a “War Eagle!” moment, or what Auburn has meant to you.
When Kevin got ready to graduate in 2000, the Registrar’s Office asked if they could give his aide dog, Shelby, a diploma as well when they went across the stage. Kevin’s reaction was swift and sure—NO! When I said to him that Shelby had been in every class Kevin had taken and asked him why he didn’t want Shelby to receive a degree he said, “That dog slept through every class, I earned that degree!”

What do you hope your recipients gain through this scholarship?
If you want to get an education, you can overcome any obstacle in your way. It may be hard, it may be an arduous road, but it can be done. Kevin’s memory will live on through others who receive this scholarship and I hope they can give back to others as he did.