For ASU alums Jerry and Ruth Bell, service comes above self

Celebrating Black Philanthropy Month at W. P. Carey

August 24, 2023

Ever since Jerry Bell was a child, he was instilled with the value of philanthropy.

“I could tell you many stories of when I was growing up, my mother asking me questions like, ‘Jerry, don’t you want to share this?’ or ‘Jerry, do you think they would be happy if you included them?’" Bell said. "No one can tell me that she didn’t mold us with kind hearts and thoughts of sharing." Portrait of ASU alums Jerry and Ruth Bell. ASU alums Jerry and Ruth Bell.

Throughout his time as a student at Arizona State University, where he played football for four years before going on to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for six years, Bell never forgot his mother’s words. And along the way, he met his wife Ruth, also an ASU alum, who shared his passion for giving back.

Recently, the couple established the Jerry and Ruth Bell W. P. Carey Black Student Success Scholarship for any students engaged with the Black Business Student Association or a similar association that supports Black students at ASU.

“Being able to help Black students achieve the opportunity to obtain a college degree is personally very important to me,” Ruth said. “We had friends as undergrads who dropped out because they were unable to meet the financial commitments of tuition, room and board.”

Jerry has also seen firsthand some of the barriers that limit Black student success. “It must be difficult to overcome being continually minimized,” he said. “Black students can use all the assistance they can get, and they will definitely get as much help from us as we can provide.”

The couple is passionate about education as a conduit for future success, and believes that the investment of a scholarship does not stop maturing at graduation, but continues to build up students and their communities for years.

“Success is watching them grow professionally, start and raise their families, establish themselves within their community and then watching them develop a philanthropic project to give back when the time is right,” Jerry said.

The couple is excited for the opportunity to support Black success at W. P. Carey.

“We tend to focus on service above self and are so impressed with the strides ASU has made in welcoming and supporting Black students,” Ruth said. “To reengage in this way after a great undergraduate experience is really exciting.”

In addition to the new scholarship at W. P. Carey, the Bells support two scholarships at the University of South Florida in Tampa. They are also passionate about elevating the status of women, youth development, health care access, voter registration and the arts.

“To me, philanthropy includes the giving of time, talent, money and other resources, such as service or other tangible items,” Ruth said. She and husband Jerry demonstrate that through volunteer service and nonprofit board memberships in addition to their scholarships.

“Philanthropy is our opportunity to give back all the blessings that we have received,” Jerry said.

And W. P. Carey students will benefit from that ethos for years to come.

To learn more about how you can support W. P. Carey as an alumnus, visit

Molly Loonam

Copywriter, W. P. Carey School of Business

From Montenegro to Kyrgyzstan, ASU students devote their summers abroad

ASU World Innovator Study Abroad Program gives students life-changing experiences

August 24, 2023

Summer can be a time for leisure, but participants of the ASU World Innovators (AWI) Study Abroad Program decided to utilize the time to gain valuable internship experience. Ten students interned at institutions remotely and around the world — from Jordan to Morocco, Montenegro, Kyrgyzstan and India. 

The AWI program, hosted by Arizona State University's Leadership, Diplomacy and National Security Lab, gives students the opportunity to hone in on their professional interests and engage directly with top foreign policy and national security experts.  Two people smiling and pointing to a sign on a wall that reads "Lix|Cap Advisory Capital." Rory Wilson (right), a public service, public policy and sociology student, interned in Morocco this summer. Photo courtesy Rory Wilson Download Full Image

Rory Wilson, a public service, public policy and sociology student, spent her summer in Morocco interning with consulting firm Lixia Capsia Gestonis, or LixCap

Wilson’s primary focus was making the company’s “website more accessible and informative for current and potential clients and investors/funders (and) helping develop additional ways to build engagement through marketing, such as creating a central pitch deck and social media posts.”

Wilson’s favorite part of the experience? 

“Learning about each person’s journey, how they have overcome adversity, their passions and (how) their impact on their community has opened the opportunity for me to share the same with them as well,” she said. 

She’s looking to apply the lessons learned during her time abroad back at home and within the ASU community.

“If I can have such profound yet civil conversations with people I barely know, even though we disagree on things, then I can do the same in my own community. Problems only have the potential of being solved when every person is willing to share, listen and work together to address a collective issue," Wilson said. 

Global studies senior Isabel Haas, who interned in Montenegro over the summer, said her experience gave her a better understanding of her role “representing the U.S. abroad.” Haas’ work was focused on “analyzing the impact Russian and Ukrainian refugees have had on Montenegrin society and economy.” 

“My favorite part of this internship so far has been interacting with the locals,” she said. “They find my efforts to speak their language endearing, and I have had a great many conversations with them — in English; my Montenegrin is abysmal.” 

She said she hopes to continue on that path post graduation, maybe working in Montenegro, for the foreign service or an NGO. 

"(The opportunity) taught me that despite being a country smaller than Connecticut, Montenegro holds abundant beauty, history and importance for the future of Europe and democracy,” she said. “I would love to continue researching these populations' impact on Montenegro, proposing solutions and working with the Montenegrin government to help their integration and/or return following the war.”

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