“If you want to be a great leader, you first have to believe in yourself,” former Secretary of State Colin Powell told students at the University of Hartford in 2011.
Powell spoke powerful words to the students to kick off the first World Youth Peace Summit. He told them then, that leaders never turn away from the truth.
“It was especially interesting seeing that he was a military man and that a military man could talk about peace at such a level that he did it was just incredible to me,” one student said at the time.
Many who attended Connecticut events with Powell remembered him Monday after learning the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs died of complications from COVID-19.
Michael Clancy, Professor of Politics in the Department of Politics, Economics and International Studies at the University of Hartford says the 2011 visit from Powell is likely one that left a lasting impression on students.
“I think for young people, they could maybe see themselves in this way as well, like that there was probably a point when, when Powell was, you know, you know, 22 years old or whatever, and had dreams about, you know, really being somebody in American government,” Clancy said.
Powell also regularly spoke at Yale University’s CEO Leadership Institute summits and caucuses in Washington and received their Legend in Leadership Award in 2019.
“We look for people like him who aren't known as being partisan dividers, but rather take a look at building harmony in society,” said Jeff Sonnenfeld, Senior Associate Dean for Leadership Programs at Yale University’s School of Management.
Sonnenfeld says Powell was prepared to present this year’s Legend in Leadership Award in December, a voice he says will be missed.
“He had such a reach across society beyond the corner offices and corporate suites and boardrooms,” Sonnenfeld said.