Kevin J. Bell, M.S.


President and CEO


Honorary Ph.D. – Syracuse University, New York
M.S. – Zoology, State University of New York, Brockport, New York
B.S. – Biology, Syracuse University, New York


Areas of Expertise

  • Animal care and welfare
  • Research and science
  • Zoo and aquarium ethics
  • Strategic planning and visioning
  • Organizational leadership


Kevin J. Bell was born in New York City and grew up on the grounds of the Bronx Zoo, where his father was the curator of birds. Kevin became a zoo volunteer at the age of 10, a part-time animal caretaker at 17, and a keeper at 20. After earning his degrees, he was hired in 1976 as the curator of birds at Lincoln Park Zoo, promoted in 1992 to assistant director, and appointed in 1993 to director. After the zoo 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 has served on the Wildlife Conservation Management Committee. In 1996, he was chair 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, he 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, Bell 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 Ph.D. 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.