Gen. Colin L. Powell

Gen. Colin L. Powell (Ret.) was the 65th U.S. Secretary of State under President George W. Bush. This earned Mr. Powell the distinction of being the third highest ranking non-Caucasian government official in the history of the United States behind only Supreme Court justices Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas. Mr. Powell also became the highest ranking African American in the executive branch and was the highest ranking African American in the military in U.S. history.

Mr. Powell was a professional soldier for 35 years, during which he held many command and staff positions and rose to the rank of four-star general. As a general in the U.S. Army, Mr. Powell also served as national security advisor and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest military position in the Department of Defense.

Mr. Powell’s civilian awards include two Presidential Medals of Freedom, the President’s Citizen Medal, the Congressional Gold Medal, the Secretary of State Distinguished Service Medal, and the Secretary of Energy Distinguished Service Medal.

Mr. Powell earned a bachelor’s degree in geology from the City College of New York and a Master of Business Administration from George Washington University. He also holds honorary degrees from universities and colleges across the country.