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The New Lula Bell’s is Davidson College’s Latest Student Resource

by | Oct 17, 2017 | News, Stories from Davidson College

Lula Bell Houston with her close friends and relations (l-r) Lori Houston, William Miller, Bill Williams, and Peggy Rivens. (Bill Giduz photo)

You’ve got to be someone special to have a building named after you. And you’ve got to be super-special to have two named after you! But in a ceremony at Davidson College on Monday afternoon, college President Carol Quillen dedicated a second college facility to former longtime college employee Lula Bell Houston.

It was a flowered day when the college named the laundry after Lula Bell Houston in 2004. (Bill Giduz photo)

Known simply as “Lula Bell’s,” the new facility is attached to the Lula Bell Houston laundry, which was dedicated to Houston when she retired in 2004 after more than 50 years working at the college. The new Lula Bell’s is Davidson’s newest student resource, a place that fulfills the needs of students in several areas. There are shelves of used textbooks students can take to help reduce their expenditures of academic texts. A large kitchen space features canned food for those who need to stretch their dining dollars a little further, and there are cleaning supplies that students can use to spruce up their dorm rooms. There is a walk-in wardrobe of dress clothes for students without professional attire who need something special for job interviews. A living room of comfortable furniture for conversation and relaxation with friends will also be used for programs on life skills, such as financial literacy. The walls are covered with student artwork.

In addition to members of 94-year-old Lula Bell’s family, guests included Decker Anstrom and his spouse Sherry Hiemstra, whose gifts to the college on behalf of their late son made the new facility possible. Tom, a member of the Class of 2004, died from a heart condition in 2015. In addition to naming the building, the Anstroms and alumni friends have established a fund to help students afford internships in Washington, D.C. The Tom Anstrom Internship has benefited three students in each of the past two years. Six of Tom’s college friends who established the internship were on hand.

Lula Bell was present for the dedication, but her health did not allow her to speak.

She began working with Davidson College’s dining service in 1943, and has been working continuously at the laundry since 1948. She is known to generations of Davidson alumni for her good humor, compassion, and hugs.

Sheltered from the chilly weather, Lula Bell greeted donor Decker Anstrom prior to the ceremony Monday afternoon, October 16. (Bill Giduz photo)

A tribute to her at her retirement stated, “Lula Bell has been greeting everyone with a warm smile and a kind word and a hug seemingly forever. Students drop off their dirty laundry, and leave with their spirits lifted and a reminder that there’s more to life than their next test or paper. They know someone is working tirelessly and without complaint to take care of them, someone who doesn’t care what their grades are, whether or not they won their last game, or how their love life is going. They know Miss Lula Bell’s unconditional love.”


Bill Giduz

Bill Giduz was the son who followed his father’s footsteps into journalism. He has been involved his entire life with news and photography in schools he attended and jobs he’s held. He believes now that he’s got a few good years left to devote to The News of Davidson.

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