Indiana Daily Student
Powell speaks at Ivy Tech
By Emily Ernsberger | IDS
POSTED AT 12:07 AM ON Apr. 25, 2014
Ivy Tech Community College-Bloomington’s fundraiser for the Center of Civic Engagement brought in a renowned civic leader Thursday night.
Secretary of State. Four-star army general. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, twice. Statesman Colin Powell spoke at a sold-out event at the Bloomington Monroe County Convention Center.
Powell’s speech was a part of Ivy Tech Community College-Bloomington’s O’Bannon
Institute for Community Service, a three-day event celebrating the service done by the school.
The former Secretary of State was the keynote speaker for the institute’s fundraising dinner, which raises money for Ivy Tech’s Center for Civic Engagement.
Powell’s speech focused on leadership and his stances on the many issues facing the United States and the rest of the world, including wealth distribution, health care, the Ukraine and Crimean incidents and immigration reform.
He emphasized that the United States has the power to fix its issues.
“My message to you is to have faith in this great country of ours,” Powell said. “Just remember it is our country, not the people in Washington or in Indianapolis or anywhere else. It is our country and we’re the ones who have to shape it.”
Powell said he enjoys traveling to places within the country to discuss issues with citizens because of their optimism, especially in a time of partisanship.
“I only wish I could bottle up the kind of confidence and optimism I see and take it back to Washington, D.C., and pour it over the heads of our politicians and tell them, ‘You better get going, they’re getting mad out there,’” he said. “(I’ve) never seen Washington as dysfunctional as it is now.”
Audience member Linda Scott said she really enjoyed hearing Powell speak.
“I come to this every year and I thought he was very inspiring,” Scott said. “I didn’t expect him (to tell) so many funny stories and to tell funny stories about the presidents he served. I always thought of General Powell as being more serious.”
Powell shared a few stories from his latest book “It Worked For Me: In Life and Leadership,” which features anecdotes ranging from his life growing up in Bronx, New York, to being a general, to serving former President George W. Bush.
He joked about missing his airplane the most from his time as Secretary of State.
He also talked about his newest endeavor as a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley.
Powell said it is his favorite way to keep up what is happening in technology.
Aside from discussion about his own civic engagement, Powell also praised the work of Ivy Tech and other community colleges.
“I love community colleges,” Powell said. “I think you have an essential element to the American education system.”
Previous keynote speakers for the dinner include former first lady Laura Bush and political strategists James Carville and Mary Matalin.
Powell was the first African-American secretary of state under President George W. Bush and the first African-American man on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
He also worked on the National Security Council for former Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.
Other events for this year’s O’Bannon Institute include a speech from former first lady of Indiana Judy O’Bannon, workshops on food shopping and growing and panel discussions called Do Something Personally, Do Something Locally and the Politics of Food.