General Colin L. Powell to speak at SHSU virtual commencement

Published: Jun. 23, 2020 at 11:22 AM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Texas (KBTX) - In a virtual commencement celebration to recognize the 2020 Sam Houston State University graduates for spring and summer semesters, the first African-American chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former Secretary of State, General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.) will serve as the commencement keynote speaker.

On August 1 at 1 p.m., the ceremony is expected to incorporate the most important elements of this time-honored tradition into a virtual event including speeches, conferring of degrees and music performances.

“While I will certainly miss the opportunity to congratulate each student face-to-face, I look forward to the message a speaker of Gen. Powell’s stature brings to graduates at this important benchmark in their lives,” President Dana Hoyt said.

The son of Jamaican immigrants, Powell was educated in the New York City public schools and attended the City College of New York where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology. After joining the Army ROTC program, he discovered his military calling. He received a commission as an Army second lieutenant in 1958 and went on to serve in the United States Army for 35 years.

Powell served as President Ronald Reagan’s National Security Advisor. Appointed secretary of state by President George W. Bush, Powell, became, at that time, the most powerful African-American ever to hold office. A four-star general, Powell’s numerous awards include two Presidential Medals of Freedom. He is the author of best-selling autobiography, My American Journey, and his second book, an instant New York Times best seller titled It Worked for Me (May 2012), reveals the lessons that shaped his life and career.

The SHSU ceremony will be live-streamed from with a recording of the celebration available for those not able to view at the scheduled time.

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