Geography and IRPH building renamed after Emeritus Professor Morag Bell

Professor Morag Bell with Professor Nick Jennings

Colleagues from the University came together in celebration of Professor Morag Bell, previous Pro Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Emeritus Professor of Cultural Geography, as the E building was officially renamed the Morag Bell Building.

Last year, the School of Social Sciences and Humanities took possession of the E building, which is located on the East Midlands campus, making it the new home to the Departments of International Relations, Politics and History, and Geography and Environment.

It has been custom over the years for the University to name its buildings after inspirational individuals, with the most recent naming being the newest halls of accommodation, Claudia Parsons, who attended Loughborough between 1919-1922 and is known as one of the UK’s first female engineers.

Following the University’s mission to establish an inclusive, fair and respectful culture, colleagues within the School of Social Sciences and Humanities – with contributions from Maia, Loughborough’s Women’s Staff Network - proposed naming the refurbished building after an inspirational figure who has contributed significantly to the School and the wider University, Professor Morag Bell.

Professor Morag Bell has been chosen in honour of her academic contributions to social sciences and humanities, as well as her successes during her tenure as Pro Vice-Chancellor of Teaching which she held for over a decade. In this role, she strived to achieve excellence in research-informed teaching for undergraduate and postgraduate students across the University, evidenced by the University’s ranking in the 2016 Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey, as well as the introduction of the Research-informed Teaching Awards (RiTAs) in 2013.

Professor Morag Bell’s contributions to Loughborough University span more than four decades. She arrived as a female lecturer only a decade after Loughborough University of Technology was chartered as a full University in 1966,  and served as Head of Department in the 1990s.

She received her BA degree at the University of Nottingham and was awarded a D.Phil. degree at the University of Oxford, for a doctoral thesis entitled on education, population mobility and socio-economic change in Uganda. Professor Bell commenced work at Loughborough University, and was promoted to Professor of Cultural Geography in 1999, served as the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Teaching from 2003 to 2016 and is now Emeritus Professor of Cultural Geography in the School of Social Sciences and Humanities. Her academic research has focused on population geography and migration studies in the global south, on health geographies and pandemics, on north-south relations and Western cultural power practised through American institutions in Africa and on cultures of philanthropy.

Representatives of the School attended the ceremony along with Professor Bell and members of the University’s Senior Leadership Team.

Professor Nick Jennings, Vice-Chancellor of the University commented: “With her exemplary dedication to Loughborough over the decades, and the wide admiration from academics – not just at Loughborough, but across the UK – as well as former students, it is a pleasure to recognise the many contributions of Professor Morag Bell through the naming of the School of Social Sciences and Humanities’ new building.”

Professor Morag Bell said: “My sincere thanks to Loughborough University for this immense honour and privilege. During my professional life, I have benefited from exceptional opportunities. It has been my good fortune to work with remarkable colleagues and a vibrant student community whose wisdom and insights have nurtured my career. I am deeply grateful for this unimaginable recognition.”

Acting Dean of the School Professor Elizabeth Peel added: “Myself and the School are delighted to see a building housing two of our brilliant Departments named the Bell Building after such a pioneering female academic leader. Not only does this have the perfect ring to it, it is a timely and fitting statement that aligns with our equity, diversity and inclusion ambitions and commitments.”