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Colin Powell: A True Inspiration

on April 9, 2013

On January 24, the Central Michigan University community had the opportunity to hear from former Secretary of State and retired four-star general Colin Powell. The people of McGuirk Arena, which was almost filled to capacity with nearly 5,000 in attendance, were clearly inspired by his every word.  Phi Mu Alpha member Kevin Stobbe said “The speech was great. It mixed in history with personal anecdote, and it really made me believe in America again.”

Walking into McGuirk Arena that evening, things got off to a rough start.  With several people in attendance receiving incorrect seating information from a University Events usher, five minutes before Powell began his speech they were told to move to upper bowl for general admission, and by that time the only seats available had an obstructed view of the stage. Along with the uninformed employees, University Events seemed to also be having sound issues. Despite the obvious problems that University Events had that night, Powell still put on a wonderful speech.

Any person with a background in communications could see how well put together his speech was. Not only did he present thought provoking information, he presented it in a way that had the crowd completely engaged. Virginia Martinez, the sign language interpreter for the event, talked about the powerful energy she felt from him on stage. “You could feel the crowd being drawn in closer with every word he said.”

Much of Powell’s message was putting forth his idea of leadership. He explained that “Leadership is leadership is leadership, whether you’re a college president, a cadet battalion commander or anybody in this room in a position of leading others.” He also brought up that it is not where you start in life; it is where you end up.

Powell, who was raised in the South Bronx, found his calling when he joined the Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (ROTC) and quickly made his way up to commander of his unit. According to biography.com, this experience set him on a military career and gave him structure and direction in his life.

 In his speech he told the audience that he graduated college with a 2.0 GPA. He said, “my professors would be rolling over in their graves,” to find out he now has a school named after him at the City College of New York: The Colin Powell School of Global and Civic Leadership.

Through the inspiration and the humor Colin Powell incorporated in his speech, you could feel him gaining support and trust from the community.  

CMU student Josh Hartge said, “Colin Powell’s speech was incredibly uplifting to a nation that is slowly losing hope in our democratic system”, “He was down to earth and well poised, and connected with every person in the audience. It gave me a new perspective on our country and the condition it is in.”

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3 responses to “Colin Powell: A True Inspiration

  1. authorajpalm says:

    Good article about the event. It’s something I’ll certainly keep close at heart; amazing experience. Now, I would go over your article again, because you got some typing errors. Otherwise, well-written.

    • Kara says:

      It really was a wonderful experience. Thank you for reading, could you by chance point out a few of my errors? I am terrible at self editing lol.

      • authorajpalm says:

        Sorry for being late with the answer, but here it is:
        * You need a comma after “Kevin Stobbe said”
        * You said, “Leadership is leadership is leadership…” It happens. Don’t worry.
        * Capitalize the M –> “my professors would be…”

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