Colin Powell
United States Secretary of State

Born April 5, 1937

Challenge young people by having high expectations of them;
engage them with the opportunity to realize those expectations
through constructive, character-building activities.

                                                                             —Colin Powell

Colin Powell was born in New York City on April 5, 1937. General Powell served as the 12th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Department of Defense, from October 1, 1989 to September 30, 1993, under both President George Bush and President Bill Clinton.

The son of Jamaican immigrants, Powell was raised in the South Bronx. He was educated in the New York City public schools, and at City College of New York (CCNY). He participated in ROTC at CCNY and received a commission as an Army second lieutenant upon graduation. He subsequently received a Master of Business Administration degree from George Washington University.

Powell served two tours of duty in Vietnam, and as a battalion commander in Korea. He later commanded the 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Asssault) and V Corps, United States Army, Europe. Prior to being named as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he served as the Commander in Chief, Forces Command, headquartered at Fort McPherson, Georgia.

General Powell has been the recipient of numerous U.S. military decorations, including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal, 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.

General Powell was selected by President George W. Bush as his Secrerary of State in January, 2001. Powell is the first African-American to hold this high office in the United States Government.

Powell is also chairman of America's Promise, an organization that challenges Americans to scale up their investment in youth, and committed to making America's youth a national priority. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Howard University, and of the Board of Directors of the United Negro College Fund. He serves on the Board of Governors of The Boys & Girls Clubs of America and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Children's Health Fund.

Secretary Powell is married to the former Alma Vivian Johnson of Birmingham, Alabama. The Powell family includes son Michael and daughters Linda and Annemarie; daughter-in-law Jane, and grandsons Jeffrey and Bryan.