Bobby Bell accomplished just about everything there is to accomplish in football, earning All-American honors with the Gophers, winning a national championship in 1960, winning the Outland Trophy and playing in two Rose Bowls. He won a Super Bowl with the Chiefs and made the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

But for more than five decades, something was missing. Bell came just 13 credits short of finishing his college degree when he left school after getting drafted by the Chiefs in 1963.

So Bell returned to school last year, at age 74, and finished. Fulfilling a promise he made to his late father, he took three classes and earned his degree in recreation, park and leisure studies. He will be honored Thursday along with the rest of the graduates from the University's College of Education and Human Development. The featured speaker will be University president Eric Kaler.

Asked where this ranks on his list of accomplishments, Bell said, "It’s the top of the pyramid, man. This diploma is something they can’t take away. It’s top of the list."

Check back to StarTribune.com later this week for more on Bell's story.

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