Living the Dream
As a child, Pat Bell '86 watched the Apollo rockets launch from the Kennedy Space Center, taking man to the moon. "Right then," he reflects, "I was hooked on aviation."
This dream led him to enroll in the mechanical engineering program at Geneva College. His education at Geneva prepared him for his current position as a senior engineer with General Electric Aviation, the world's leading developer of aircraft engines. He remembers, "Geneva offered the unique blend of a scientific education within a biblical context.”
With that foundation, Pat excelled in his career. He even worked on the space shuttle's external fuel tank, which was especially exciting for him.
But despite having worked on the spacecraft, Pat had never seen a shuttle launch. And after 30 years, the fleet was about to be retired. On Twitter, Pat saw a NASA message inviting people to apply to see the final launch: "I had to give it a try."
To his delight, Pat was chosen for the trip to Florida, where he met NASA astronauts and administrators, then visited the launch pad. The launch day was filled with excitement, he recalls:
Media from all over the world was standing all around me. I gave a live radio interview describing the scene. A small group gathered around an iPhone talking to astronaut Ron Garon, currently on board the International Space Station.
The clock approached 11:26 a.m., the scheduled launch time. At 31 seconds before liftoff, the countdown clock stopped. After two minutes that felt like two hours, the clock started again. Then smoke rose as the solid rocket boosters lit and Atlantis lifted upward. They were as bright as the sun.
Then the sound hit. It lasted only a few seconds, but it was unlike anything I had experienced. Atlantis disappeared into the clouds. The end of an era. No space shuttle would ever launch again. I witnessed history.
Pat recalls the words of President John F. Kennedy: “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept….”
Pat hopes we soon rekindle that dream—a dream nurtured for him at Geneva. Nothing is impossible with God, he learned early and lived out in his life. “My time at Geneva not only prepared me for a career, but also encouraged me to use my resources for a greater good."
In addition to his career in aviation, Pat also travels the world as a wildlife photographer, and he contributes to the “greater good” by sponsoring a total of seven children in Nicaragua and India through Compassion International.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1
Join us for…
- The Class of 1986 25-Year Reunion Breakfast
- The College Hill Festival and Kids Zone
- The Alumni Luncheon
- Reunion Photos: Classes of ′81, ′86, ′91, ′96, ′01 and ‘06
- Special Reunions: New Song, Men′s and Women′s Soccer, Tennis
- New Song Concert
- Football: Geneva vs. St. Vincent
Register online by September 19.
"The professors have had a balanced way of teaching us while still emphasizing that Christ is the only one that can ultimately change our broken society, and for that I am thankful."
Megan Summers, sociology grad
Click here to read Megan's profile.
Josie Badger ′07 is featured in a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article.
Geneva has teamed up with Tourbeau Sports to provide live video streaming of nearly every home athletic event.
Geneva′s Homecoming will be held on Saturday, October 1.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3200 College Ave.
Beaver Falls, PA 15010