Purdue News

October 11, 2006

Colin Powell to speak at Purdue as part of National Engineers Week

Colin Powell
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Colin Powell will speak at Purdue University in February as part of an engineering initiative to bring well-known leaders to campus to talk about global issues.

Powell, who was secretary of state in the George W. Bush administration, will visit Purdue on Feb. 22 during National Engineers Week, which takes place Feb. 19-24.

"National Engineers Week is a time to celebrate engineering, but it is also an opportunity to broaden our perspectives by bringing distinguished speakers who can talk with everyone - engineers and non-engineers alike - about critical grand challenges," said Leah Jamieson, the John A. Edwardson Dean of Engineering and the Ransburg Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. "These challenges include everything from health care to energy and from education to national security.

"Engineering contributes much to this discussion, and someone of Powell's stature and knowledge can bring a lot to our goals of addressing the issues facing our world today."

Powell was born in New York City in 1937. The son of Jamaican immigrants, he grew up in the South Bronx. He was educated in the New York City public schools and at City College of New York. He participated in the college's ROTC program and received a commission as an Army second lieutenant upon graduation. He subsequently received a master's degree in business administration from George Washington University.

Powell served two tours of duty in Vietnam and as a battalion commander in Korea, and he was promoted to general in 1989. He served as the 12th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1989-93 under presidents Clinton and Bush.

He has been the recipient of numerous U.S. military decorations, including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. His civilian awards include the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal and an honorary knighthood (Knight Commander of the Bath) from the Queen of England. He retired from the U.S. Army in 1993.

Between 1997 and 2001, Powell served as founding chairman of America's Promise, an organization challenging Americans to make children and youth a national priority.

In 2001 Powell was selected to serve as secretary of state, the first African-American to hold this office. Powell stepped down from the position in 2004.

Since leaving government service, Powell has had a number of private sector positions. He has become an active participant at The Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies, established in 1997 at the City College of New York. In May he succeeded Henry Kissinger to become the eighth chairman of the Eisenhower Fellowship Program. The program is based in Philadelphia and is composed of national leaders who meet regularly to collaborate on world issues.

Powell also is a member of the Howard University board of trustees and of the United Negro College Fund board of directors. He serves on the Boys & Girls Clubs of America board of governors and is a member of the Children's Health Fund advisory board.

Last year Purdue's College of Engineering brought Madeleine Albright, former secretary of state during the Clinton administration, to campus during National Engineers Week.

Complimentary tickets will be available beginning Feb. 1. These tickets will be distributed at select locations, which will be posted on the College of Engineering Web site in January. For additional information, call the special events office at (765) 494-0900.

Other programs planned during National Engineers Week at Purdue include the announcement of the 2007 Distinguished Engineering Alumni on Feb. 23 and the Regional Rube Goldberg Machine Contest on Feb. 24.

Writer: Cynthia Sequin, (765) 494-4192, csequin@purdue.edu

Source: Leah Jamieson, (765) 494-5346, lhj@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu


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