WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (AP) — A new scholarship at William & Mary has been named for former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who died earlier this year.
The university in Williamsburg, Virginia, said in a statement this month that the scholarship is designed to cultivate leaders who can emulate Powell’s example as a statesman.
A veteran of the Vietnam War, Powell spent 35 years in the U.S. Army and rose to the rank of four-star general before becoming the first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In 2001, he joined President George W. Bush’s administration as secretary of state, the first Black person to represent the U.S. government on the world stage. Powell’s tenure, however, was marred when he made faulty claims to justify the 2003 U.S. war in Iraq.
The scholarship will go to at least six students who want to study abroad each year.
“The Powell scholarship will open doors for future leaders to gain the kind of transformative experience that comes from studying abroad,” William & Mary President Katherine A. Rowe said in a statement.
A William & Mary Foundation trustee who wished to remain anonymous provided $1 million in seed money for the scholarship. The university will establish an endowed fund to begin awarding the Colin Powell Global Engagement Scholarship in the 2024-2025 academic year.
All three of Powell’s children attended William & Mary. He spoke at its 1988 commencement and received an honorary degree. His son, Michael Powell, recently ended his term as chair of the William & Mary Foundation and previously served on the Board of Visitors.
William & Mary Chancellor Robert Gates, a former U.S. Secretary of Defense, noted Powell’s humble beginnings and said that he “understood the importance of mentorship and paying it forward for later generations.”
Powell died in October of COVID-19 complications. He was 84.