STARKVILLE, Miss. — A new plaza at Mississippi State University commemorates the legacy of the school’s first African-American student-athletes, Frank Dowsing Jr. and Robert Bell.

A university news release says a dedication ceremony was held Thursday for Dowsing-Bell Plaza, on the north side of Davis Wade Stadium. A plaque tells about the on- and off-field legacies of both men, who played football at MSU from 1969 to 1972.

Dowsing, from Tupelo, was a two-time All-Southeastern Conference defensive back selection in 1971 and 1972. He finished his career as the school’s all-time leader in interceptions with 10. He was 42 when he died July 11, 1994.

Bell, from Meridian, played on the defensive line. He was a regular starter and fan favorite.