Lawrence D. Bell
Lawrence D. Bell (1894-1956), aviation pioneer, founded Bell Aerosystems (Bell Helicopter-Textron today) in 1935. The innovative company was known for its major achievements in the aircraft business. It developed many aviation milestones including the first U.S. jet-powered airplane, the world's first commercial helicopter, the world's first supersonic airplane, the world's first jet-powered and vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) airplane (see Buffalo Magazine July 28, 1985).
In 1947 Bell received the Chancellor's Medal, the most prestigious award given by the University bestowed to individuals whose accomplishments have greatly added to the prestige of the city of Buffalo and to the University. Later in 1977 he was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame and in 2004 he was inducted into the International Aerospace Hall of Fame. At his death in 1956, Bell left the University a significant amount of money for the School of Engineering.
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