Appointed by President George W. Bush
On December 16, 2000, President-elect George W. Bush nominated Colin L. Powell as secretary of state. The U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed the nomination. On January 20, 2001, Powell was officially sworn into office as the 65th secretary of state and the first African American to hold this position.
Prior to this appointment, Powell was a professional soldier for 35 years. During his military career, Powell held a host of command positions and rose to the rank of four-star general and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. After his stellar military career, he was the chairman of America's Promise: The Alliance for Youth, which is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to helping build character and competence of young people.
Colin Luther Powell was born in New York City on April 5, 1937. Powell's parents, Luther Theopolis Powell and Maud Ariel Powell, were immigrants from the island of Jamaica. Powell's parents left Jamaica to pursue the American dream. Powell lived in Harlem, New York, until he was three years old, when the family moved to the Bronx, New York. Powell's parents instilled in him and his sister, Marylin, a strong faith and a respect for the Anglican Church. His parents also instilled a hefty respect for formal education. Despite his parents' lectures on the virtues and benefits of formal education, Powell showed very little promise as young student. As a result of Powell's indifference to education, he was placed in a class for students who performed poorly academically. He continued to approach education indifferently throughout his middle school and high school academic careers.
In 1954, Powell graduated from Morris High School. Powell's parents insisted that he attend college. Though Powell did not hold any particular desire to pursue higher education, out of a deep sense of obedience and devotion, he applied to two institutions of higher learning in the New York area: New York University and City College of New York. Despite Powell's lackluster grades, he was accepted to both schools but chose City College of New York because it was the cheaper of the two. At City College of New York, Powell enrolled in the engineering program. He was