2. Powell served 35 years in the Army with two tours in Vietnam. He also was stationed in West Germany and South Korea.
He was President Ronald Reagan’s Deputy National Security Advisor, named to the position in 1987. He was named National Security Advisor, serving Reagan from 1988 to 1989.
3. Powell was promoted to general in 1989 and was named as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for four years under President George H.W. Bush. During Powell’s time as chairman, he oversaw 28 crises including Operation Desert Storm.
4. Powell retired in 1993 and founded America’s Promise, an organization to help at-risk children.
5. Seven years after retirement, he was nominated as Secretary of State under President George W. Bush. When he was confirmed. he became the first Black Secretary of State in the country’s history.
In addition to reforming the Department of State’s personnel, information technology and security systems, as well as the department’s facilities, Powell was Secretary of State during the September 11, 2001 attacks.
In his capacity, Powell supported taking military action against al-Qaeda shortly after the attacks.
He also presented intelligence to the United Nations that claimed Iraq and its leader Saddam Hussein were manufacturing weapons of mass destruction. The research laid the groundwork for preemptive military action in Iraq. The research Powell used was found to be inaccurate.
Powell also worked with Russia and China to smooth relationships with the countries.
He also worked with the administration to get international support for the fight against AIDS.
Powell ended his role as Secretary of State on Nov. 15, 2004.
The college said Powell never missed graduation from the Colin Powell School and he shook the hand of every student who earned a degree.
During an interview in 2013, Powell said of his legacy: “My life has been blessed because I have had a chance to serve my country, and I’ve had a chance to do things that have benefited my country. And when it’s all over, I just hope that they say, ‘He was a good soldier, he raised a good family, and God bless him.’ That’s all I ask for.”
Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger confers Army Maj. Gen. Colin Powell during testimony before the Senate Budget Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday, Feb. 8, 1985. Sen. Pete V. Domenici, R.N.M., chairman of the panel, told Weinberger the nation’s security needs can be met at a spending level "smaller in the next three years than the level requested by the President." (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
U.S. Lieutenant General Colin L. Powell, commander of the 5th U.S. corps, salutes while his wife Alma V. (left) stands in attention during a farewell ceremony at the headquarters in Frankfurt on Tuesday, Dec. 30, 1986. Powell returns to Washington to become deputy assistant for national security affairs. (AP Photo/Udo Weitz)
Lt. Gen. Colin Powell, the sent number two man on the National Security Council, has been nominated by President Reagan to succeed Frank Carlucci as his National Security Adviser and toad the NSC. Powell is shown at a White House ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 5, 1987 in Washington for outgoing Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger. Carlucci has been named to succeed Weinberger. (AP Photo/Dennis Cook)
President Ronald Reagan, accompanied by national security adviser Colin Powell, leaves the White House in Washington, Dec. 16, 1988 for a trip to the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. He is expected to expand on his decision to open direct talks with the PLO. (AP Photo/Barry Thumma)
Gen. Colin Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is shown in a 1989 photo.
Gen. Colin L. Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, forecast a warming of the Cold War as he spoke to the Forum Club of Houston, Dec. 6, 1989. He also cautioned against cutting back U.S. military strongholds. (AP Photo/Ed Kolenovsky)
FILE- In this December 20, 1989 file photo, General Colin Powell, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, briefs newsmen at the Pentagon on the predawn invasion designed to oust General Manuel Antonio Noriega and bring him to the United States to face drug-trafficking charges. Noriega, a onetime U.S. ally who was ousted by an American invasion in 1989, died late Monday, May 29, 2017, at age 83. (AP Photo/Doug Mills, File)
President George Bush talks with Gen. Colin Powell, chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, prior to a closed-door briefing at the Pentagon in Washington to discuss the situation in Panama, Dec. 24, 1989. (AP Photo/Marcy Nighswander)
Soviet Army General A. Moisseev (l) and U.S. General Colin L. Powell (r) shake hands for the photographers at the Conference on Confidence and Security Building Measures on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 1990 at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna. (AP Photo/Bernhard Holzner)
U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Colin L. Powell, right, is received by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Arens in the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, July 12, 1990. General Powell who is on a Middle East tour, arrived in Israel earlier today from Amman. (A Photo/Anat Givon)
Gen. Colin Powell, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, points to a group of American troops at an airbase after his arrival in Saudi Arabia on Thursday, Sept. 13, 1990. Powell will visit American forces stationed on the ground in Saudi Arabia and on ships in the Gulf, as well as Saudi military officials, during his visit. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
First lady Barbara Bush poses with chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Colin Powell, during a reception in Washington, Sept. 18, 1990. The reception is to honor President Bush’s black appointees to his administration. (AP Photo/Dennis Cook)
Gen. Colin Powell, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, uses the head of Air Force Sgt. Thaddeus Fernandez of Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas as a writing desk to autograph a Saudi riyal (monetary note) during a visit to an air base in Saudi Arabia Friday, December 21, 1990. (AP Photo/Bob Daugherty)
U.S. Army Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf casts a knowing smile toward the media as he sits with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Colin Powell, Sunday morning, February 10, 1991, at a military briefing. Powell and Defense Sec. Dick Cheney are finishing up a three-day trip to Saudi Arabia, where they have been assessing the Gulf War. (AP Photo/John Gaps III)
Air Force Maj. Lee Gustin, pilot of the F-117 Stealth fighter at left, tells Gen. Colin Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, left, and Defense Sec. Dick Cheney about the high-tech aircraft at a secret airbase in Saudi Arabia, Feb. 10, 1991. Cheney and Powell visited the F-117 unit before ending a weekend of meetings in Saudi Arabia and departing for home. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
President George Bush loans his glasses to first lady Barbara Bush as she pins a Medal of Freedom on Gen. Colin Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, during a White House ceremony, July 3, 1991. (AP Photo/Doug Mills)
Gen. Colin Powell, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaks to airmen inside a hanger at a secret airbase in Saudi Arabia on Sunday, Feb. 10, 1991. Powell and Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, left, visited the airbase, where F-117A Stealth planes are based, during a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
President George H.W. Bush talks to reporters in the Rose Garden of the White House on Feb. 11, 1991, after meeting with top military advisors to discuss the Persian Gulf war. From left are, Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, Vice President Dan Quayle, White House Chief of Staff John Sununu, the president, Secretary of State James A. Baker III, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Colin Powell. The president said that the air campaign in the Gulf will continue. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
General Colin Powell awards Mary Low Roberts of the Friedberg Family Assistance Center the Commander’s Award for Public Service for her volunteer service to family members of soldiers deployed in the Persian Gulf, on Thursday, June 28, 1991 during a ceremony of the 7th U.S. Army Corps in Stuttgart. (AP Photo/Thomas Kienzle)
Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, right, and Gen. Colin Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speak to members of the 354th Tactical Fighter Wing from Myrtle Beach, S.C. at their air base in Saudi Arabia, July 18, 1991. (AP Photo/Bob Daugherty)
The Joint Cheifs of Staff are shown in an informal photo, August 6, 1991. They are, left to right, General Carl E. Mundy, USMC, Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, US Army, Gen. Merrill A. McPeak, USAF, Admiral Frank B. Kelso II, USN, Gen. Colin L. Powell, US Army, Chairman, and Admiral David E. Jeremiah, USN, Vice Chairman.
FILE – In this Sept. 25, 1991, file photo, Gen. Colin Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, gestures on Capitol Hill in Washington, at a House Armed Services subcommittee. Powell was the first black officer to serve as Joint Chiefs chairman, and held the job from Oct. 1, 1989, in the waning days of the Cold War, to Sept. 30, 1993. (AP Photo/Marcy Nighswander, File)
Keynote Speaker General Colin Powell celebrates with Derick Villar of Bloomington, Ill., at the 56th Commencement of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York on Monday, June 16, 1992. Villar was the final graduate of the 159 member class to receive his diploma from General Powell. (AP Photo/Andrew Savulich)
Britain’s Prime Minister John Major, right, shares a joke with General Colin Powell, Chairman, U.S. Joint Chief of Staff prior to the UK Presidency Conference in London, Sept. 7, 1992. Major underlined the government’s total commitment to the Maastricht Treaty on the European Community during his keynote speech at the conference on the future on Europe. Powell also spoke to the group. (AP Photo/Martin Cleaver)
Gen. Colin Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff tastes the lasagna on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 1992 in a mess hall in Miami used by troops helping with the cleanup after Hurricane Andrew. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Colin Powell, left, accompanied by his Argentine counterpart Brig. Andres Antonietti, extends his hand to greet members of U.S. delegation as he arrived in Buenos Aires for a two-day visit on Nov. 10, 1992. At right is U.S. Ambassador to Argentina Terence Todman. (AP Photo/Eduardo Di Baia)
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Colin Powell speaks to a group of students at American University in Washington on Monday, Dec. 1, 1992. Powell told the group he didn’t believe lifting the ban on homosexuals in the military would "break the force" but added the military is "struggling how best to handle that" should President-elect Clinton lift the ban as promised. (AP Photo/Marcy Nighswander)
President Bill Clinton, escorted by Defense Secretary Les Aspin, right, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Colin Powell, leaves the Pentagon after meeting with Aspin and the Joint Chiefs in Washington on April 8, 1993. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
U.S. General Colin Powell, left, shakes hands with British Field Marshall Sir Richard Vincent, Chairman of Military Committee, prior start of a two-day meeting of NATO’s military chiefs at the Alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, April 27, 1993. Talks are expected to focus on the conflict in Yugoslavia. (AP Photo/Carl Duyck)
U.S. Chief of staff General Colin Powell, left, gestures while talking to CIS Chief of Staff Air Marshall Yevgeny Shaposhnikov, at start of NATO chiefs of staff meeting with their Eastern Bloc counterparts at Brussels NATO headquarters on Wednesday, April 28, 1993. (AP Photo/Heinz Ducklau)
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Colin Powell talks with Barbra Streisand at the 79th annual dinner of the White House Correspondents Association in Washington, May 1, 1993. (AP Photo/Greg Gibson)
Gen. Colin Powell, Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff in June 1993. (AP Photo)
Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Colin Powell gestures during a news conference at the Pentagon on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 1993 in Washington to discuss the Defense Department’s Bottom up Review. The Pentagon unveiled the plan on Wednesday which calls for a five-year defense strategy that further shrinks the U.S. military in favor of a "lean, mobile, high-tech force" that would enable America to fight wars on two fronts. (AP Photo/Marcy Nighswander)
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Colin Powell poses in his Pentagon office on Thursday, Sept. 9, 1993 in Washington. The nation’s first black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff retires on September 30 after 35 years in uniform. Powell says he can walk away from his high-powered Pentagon without regrets, but feels a responsibility to return to public life to help America’s minority youth. (AP Photo/Barry Thumma)
WASHINGTON – DECEMBER 07: Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell (2nd L) and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) look on during an unveiling ceremony for Powell’s official State Department portrait in the Benjamin Franklin Room at the State Department December 7, 2009 in Washington, DC. Powell served as Secretary of State from 2001-2005 under former U.S. President George W. Bush. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON – DECEMBER 07: Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell walks by his official State Department portrait after an unveiling ceremony with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Benjamin Franklin Room at the State Department December 7, 2009 in Washington, DC. Powell served as Secretary of State from 2001-2005 under former U.S. President George W. Bush. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell, right, and Richard Boucher, left, deputy Secretary General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development attend the opening session of the Bled Strategic Forum in Bled, Slovenia, Sunday Aug., 29, 2010. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 01: U.S. President Barack Obama (R) meets with former Secretary of State, General Colin Powell (L), in the Oval Office of the White House December 1, 2010 in Washington, DC. According to a White House media release, Obama and Powell were expected to discuss various issues including education, and the ratifying the New START Treaty. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 04: Colin Powell accepts the President’s award onstage at the 42nd NAACP Image Awards held at The Shrine Auditorium on March 4, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for NAACP Image Awards)
LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 04: Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell (L) and actress Kerry Washington attend the 42nd NAACP Image Awards held at The Shrine Auditorium on March 4, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for NAACP Image Awards)
Colin Powell, left, and his wife Alma Powell are seen at the 42nd NAACP Image Awards on Friday, March 4, 2011, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 04: Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, winner of the President’s Award, poses in the press room at the 42nd NAACP Image Awards held at The Shrine Auditorium on March 4, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 28: Colin Powell speaks during the 2011 National Memorial Day Concert rehearsal at U.S. Capitol, West Lawn on May 28, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images)
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell speaks at the International Rescue Committee Freedom Award Dinner at The Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York on Wednesday Nov. 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Eric Reichbaum)
Britain’s Prince Harry is presented the Atlantic Council’s 2012 Distinguished Humanitarian Leadership award by former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Monday, May 7, 2012, in Washington. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)
WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 07: Prince Harry of England (L) receives the Distinguished Humanitarian Leadership Award presented by former Secretary of State Colin Powell at the Atlantic Council’s Annual Awards Dinner Honoring HRH Prince Harry at Ritz Carlton Hotel on May 7, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images)
Gen. Colin Powell poses for a photo with his portrait at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012 in Washington, D.C. (Paul Morigi/AP Images for National Portrait Gallery)
This photo taken Feb. 11, 2014 shows former Secretary of State Colin Powell visiting a classroom at Educare, a high quality school for young, at-risk kids partly funded by Warren Buffett, in the Kenilworth-Parkside neighborhood of Washington. Backed by a multi-year, $28 million Education Department grant, the DC Promise Neighborhood Initiative (DCPNI) vows to tackle generational poverty with a fresh approach — if a parents level of education improves, so does a childs prospects. In Kenilworth-Parkside, helping the children get a good education is a primary focus, but it’s the adults they must first engage. And many of them are skeptical. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
FILE – In this Sept. 3, 2014 file photo, former Secretary of State Colin Powell speaks at the State Department in Washington. The secretary of state under President George W. Bush, national security adviser under President Ronald Reagan, and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was the target of one phishing email in June 2015 at his Gmail addresss, according to data from the cybersecurity firm Secureworks. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, left, talks to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, right, during a luncheon for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the State Department in Washington, Tuesday, April 28, 2015.(AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)