University of Hartford Student Inspires Georgetown Attorney to Create Scholarship


July 8, 2009 – WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – J. Edward Bell, III, founder of the Bell Legal Group in Georgetown, S.C., has established the Bell Scholarship at the University of Hartford. Bell was inspired to create a scholarship after hearing about a University student’s struggle to pay her tuition. Based on the criteria established by Bell, Nicole Suissa has been selected as the inaugural recipient of the Bell Scholarship.

Bell first learned of Suissa in February, when CNN ran a story about her. In that story, Suissa, who was then a first-year student at the University with a high grade point average, discussed her inability to come up with enough money to enroll for her sophomore year. She also talked about her dream of becoming a lawyer.

“I saw the story and it captivated my thinking,” said Bell. “As I thought about Nicole, I thought of everything I went through.”

Bell also struggled to pay for college before he received a scholarship from UPS, his employer at the time. He credits that scholarship for helping him finish college, go to law school and become a successful lawyer.

Bell contacted the University and offered to establish a scholarship, with Suissa becoming the beneficiary. Bell became even more confident in his decision when he visited the University in the spring and met Suissa for the first time.

“Nicole has this positive attitude about life that is refreshing,” said Bell. I think she has a great future ahead of her.”

The Bell Scholarship will give Suissa the opportunity to meet her expenses in the coming school year. As an additional benefit, she is interning at the Bell Legal Group this summer.

“Mr. Bell deserves a public thank you for all he’s done for me,” Suissa says. “I’ve never been subject to such kindness and I’m grateful for this scholarship.”

University of Hartford President Walter Harrison echoes Suissa’s gratitude, saying, “What I find really heartwarming is that somebody’s generosity is going to help a deserving student stay here.”

Chartered in 1957, the University of Hartford offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs in the arts, the humanities, business, engineering and technology, education, and the health professions. A “private university with a public purpose,” the University’s student body of 7,300 represents 45 states and nearly 50 countries. For more information, visit