WILLIAMSBURG — The College of William and Mary (W&M) has announced that it will name a study abroad scholarship after the late former Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Colin Powell.
The announcement came after an anonymous trustee gifted $1 million in seed money to the school. The gift will start an endowed fund and award the Colin Powell Global Engagement Scholarship to six students who wish to study abroad during the 2024-25 academic year.
Powell, who received an honorary degree from W&M in 1988, passed away on Oct. 18 at the age of 84.
Commissioned as a U.S. Army officer in 1958 and rose through the ranks, he was the first Black American to become National Security Advisor, Chairman of the Joint Chief’s of Staff and, after retiring from the Army, Secretary of State.
“We are deeply grateful to our trustee for her generosity,” said W&M President Katherine A. Rowe. “Colin Powell dedicated his life to public service and to creating opportunities for young people. His remarkable legacy lives on through this gift. The Powell scholarship will open doors for future leaders to gain the kind of transformative experience that comes from studying abroad.”
All three of Powell’s children earned undergraduate degrees from W&M in the 1980’s. Powell and his wife, Alma, also chaired the Parent and Family Council at the College.
Powell’s son, Michael Powell, says that his family is profoundly moved by the creation of the scholarship which honors his father’s legacy.
“It was when I was a student at W&M that I began to think I was capable of leadership,” he said. “My father taught me that sometimes people will see potential in you before you see it in yourself. That was true for me at William & Mary, and because of that, I was able to thrive here. I am excited about the potential for this scholarship to foster globally minded change-makers.”