Influential Leaders

Colin Powell

Colin Powell

George Washington University School of Business

Military Service

Colin Luther Powell is a United States statesperson and a retired four-star general in the United States Army. He was the 65th United States Secretary of State (2001–05), serving under President George W. Bush. Powell was the first African American appointed to that position. He was the first, and so far the only, African American to serve on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Powell earned an MBA at George Washington University, in Washington, D.C., and won a White House fellowship in 1972. He was assigned to the Office of Management and Budget during the Nixon administration and made a lasting impression on Caspar Weinberger and Frank Carlucci. Both men would consult Powell for advice when they served as secretary of defense and national security adviser, respectively, in the Reagan administration.

In 2000, President George W. Bush appointed Colin Powell secretary of state, and Powell was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. At that time, this was the highest rank in civilian government ever held by an African American.

Powell has spent much of his life inspiring many with his leadership skills and life experiences. Along with his wife, Powell began America's Promise Alliance as part of their dedication to the wellbeing of children and youth of all socioeconomic levels and their commitment to seeing that young people receive the resources necessary to succeed.