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Krannert celebrates 50th anniversary of the Dr. Cornell A. Bell Business Opportunity Program

Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Krannert School of Management honored the namesake of Purdue University’s Dr. Cornell A. Bell Business Opportunity Program (BOP) during Black History Month in February to kick off the groundbreaking diversity program's 50th anniversary. The tribute to Dr. Bell included several events and speakers as well as stories and photos on social media. The celebration will continue throughout 2018 with an ongoing series of profiles of BOP students and alumni leading up to a major event in the fall semester.

The Business Opportunity Program was formed one day after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and designed to increase diversity and give all students access to world-class business management education. It was the first of its kind at Purdue and among the few student success programs supporting diversity and inclusion at a major business school at the time.

In BOP's second year, Cornell A. Bell was hired to head the program and went on to mentor students for 37 years until his retirement in 2006, becoming known as a father figure to countless Purdue students. He passed away in 2009, but left behind a legacy of hundreds of alumni located around the world.

“Under Dr. Bell’s leadership, BOP grew into a nationally recognized program that recruits, enrolls, educates, and supports undergraduate and graduate students pursuing careers in business,” says Darren Henry, managing director of the Dr. Cornell A. Bell Business Opportunity Program.

In addition to teaching students business acumen, expertise and leadership techniques, the program connects them with innovative, forward-thinking companies such as Microsoft, IBM and Groupon. The program boasts a 90 percent five-year graduation rate and 100 percent job placement rate.

Since its inception, BOP has provided opportunities to more than 1,400 Purdue students.

The 50th anniversary celebration officially kicked off with the Martin Luther King Day of Service on Jan. 15 as part of Krannert’s Diversity @ Work Week. Other events included a Jan. 19 lecture by Roland Parrish, a BOP alumnus and award-winning McDonald’s franchisee, followed by a Toast to Dr. Bell in the Krannert Drawing Room.

Alumni, faculty, staff and students are encouraged to participate in the BOP anniversary celebration by following the Krannert School on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and using the hashtag #BOP50 to share social media posts and comments.