City Club of Chicago: From Swans to Science – 150 years of Lincoln Park Zoo
May 14, 2018
From Swans to Science: 150 years of Lincoln Park Zoo – Kevin Bell, President & CEO
Kevin J. Bell was hired in 1976 as Curator of Birds at Lincoln Park Zoo. In 1992, he was promoted to Assistant Director; and in 1993, was appointed Director. After the zoo was privatized in 1995, Kevin was also named President and CEO of the Lincoln Park Zoological Society, which manages and operates Lincoln Park Zoo.
An American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) member since 1976, Kevin served on the Wildlife Conservation Management Committee and, in 1996, was named chairman of the Privatization Task Force, which produced AZA’s first reference book for member institutions contemplating a governance change. Kevin was elected to the AZA Board in 2007 and assumed the role of Chair from September 2009 through September 2010. He has published numerous articles in the International Zoo Yearbook and other zoo-related publications. In 2011, Kevin was selected as one of the three U.S. delegates to serve on the board of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).
In 2006, Kevin was elected to the Board of Visitors of the College of Arts and Sciences at his alma mater, Syracuse University, from whom he received an Honorary PhD in 2016. In 2017 he was named Chair of the Board of Visitors. He is also a member of various other civic and conservation organizations, including serving for many years as a Board member of the Center for Zoo Animal Welfare in Detroit.
Kevin was born in New York City and grew up on the grounds of the Bronx Zoo, where his father was Curator of Birds.He became a zoo volunteer at the age of 10, a part-time animal caretaker at 17 and a keeper at 20. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology at Syracuse University, New York, and a Master of Science degree in zoology at State University of New York, Brockport, New York.