N.C. A&T Mourns the Death of Sec. Colin Powell

By Todd Simmons / 10/18/2021

Former Sec. of State Colin Powell addresses the World Economic Forum.

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (Oct. 18, 2021) – North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University today mourns the death of former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who passed today at the age of 84.  

“Colin Powell was not only an outstanding leader of the highest order, he was an incredible example to young people across the nation -- a trailblazer in the roles of Secretary of State and National Security Advisor,” said North Carolina A&T Chancellor Harold L. Martin, Sr. “His unprecedented six years of service in those roles and 35 years of military service culminating in his tenure as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff sent a message that success at that level was possible and ensured there was an open door for others to walk through. He was truly one of a kind. I will always remember his quiet leadership and dignity. 

“On behalf of North Carolina A&T, we wish the Powell family comfort and peace during this difficult time. Our prayers are with them.”

Powell was born in New York City's Harlem neighborhood, the son of Jamaican immigrants. He grew from humble beginnings in the South Bronx to enroll at the City College of New York, where he joined the Army ROTC program, launching a military career that would span 35 years and culminate in the rank of four-star general.

Over the course of three presidencies (Ronald Regan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush), he made history in multiple ways, becoming the first Black Secretary of State, the first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as the youngest, and the first Black National Security Advisor.

He famously endorsed then-Sen. Barack Obama for the presidency in 2008, even though Obama was running against an opponent with a strong military career, Sen. John McCain. He later endorsed Obama for a second term, as well.

Powell had been treated for a form of blood cancer that weakened his immune system. Though he was fully vaccinated against COVID-19, he still contracted the virus and died from related complications, his physicians said.

Media Contact Information: Todd Simmons, thsimmons@ncat.edu

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