Peggy Kirk Bell – Helping Sandhills Cook Up Career Training
One of the best friends to Sandhills Community College is North Carolina’s First Lady of Golf, Peggy Kirk Bell.
In 1998, when Sandhills’ Department of Hospitality/Culinary Arts was launched, students attended classes in 15 kitchens around Moore County to get hands-on learning. In 2000, Mrs. Bell and the Bell family said the students could all be taught in one facility: the kitchens at the Pine Needles Golf Resort.
“Sandhills is a great asset to our community and Dr. Dempsey is one of my favorite people. How could I turn him down?” Mrs. Bell says. She reports that her facility was able to accommodate the classes and “the college was great about understanding our business.”
Mrs. Bell has resided in Southern Pines since 1953, when she and her late husband, Warren “Bullet” Bell, purchased the Pine Needles Golf Course. Her illustrious career as an amateur golfer, a pro, golf instructor and educator includes being a charter member of the LPGA and a member of North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. In 1990 Mrs. Bell was voted the Bob Jones Award, the highest honor given by the U.S. Golf Association. She became the first woman voted into the World Golf Teachers Hall of Fame and in February Mrs. Bell will be the first lady inducted into the Carolinas PGA Hall of Fame.
When Sandhills was at last able to house its culinary programs, the generosity of this great lady and her family was recognized in naming the new facility. The Peggy Kirk Bell Center for Hospitality and the Culinary Arts was opened in 2006.
The contributions of the Bell family include hosting the annual Sandhills Foundation Coca Cola Classic Golf Tournament at Pine Needles.
“People have been very helpful to me and to Pine Needles through the years. This is one small way of giving back,” Mrs. Bell says. “Sandhills helps people have a chance to better themselves and our community. We’re all in this together so why not help one another?”
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