Tri-County Technical College Commissioner John Powell will be recognized nationally for his commitment to advancing the community college movement. Late last week he was notified by the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) that he is the recipient of the 2020 Southern Regional Trustee Leadership Award. This award will be presented at the Wednesday Regional Awards Presentation during the 51st Annual ACCT Leadership Congress, which will take place virtually October 5-8, 2020.
Powell is one of five community college trustees representing five geographic regions in the U.S. The national winner will be named at ACCT’s annual association awards ceremony.
Earlier this year, Powell was the recipient of the 2020 South Carolina Association of Technical College Commissioners (SCATCC) Trustee Leadership Award. The award honors an individual who has made significant contributions to promote the technical or community college concept.
“It truly is an honor to serve on Tri-County’s Commission and to receive these recognitions,” said Powell. “Tri-County Technical College has been a vehicle not only for me, but all graduates, to excel in our lives and our workplaces. Tri-County helps people to understand what their potential in life is and to achieve it. The College believes in the future of its students and is dedicated to helping them to reach their goals in life,” said Powell.
Powell is a champion and role model for technical college education. A 1972 graduate of Tri-County, he is the second alumnus in the College’s history to serve on its governing board. He has represented Oconee County since 2010 and served as chairman from 2017 until this year.
Powell unselfishly gives his time, efforts, and expertise to support initiatives that promote student success. A founder and longtime member of the College’s Business Technology Advisory Committee, he provides input into the curriculum to ensure relevancy in today’s ever-changing work environment.
One of the Tri-County Commission’s strategic goals is to focus on creating a transformative experience for each student at the College. Powell can often be found telling the Tri-County story to legislators as well as people in his own community.
As an alumnus of Tri-County, Powell is one of the College’s biggest cheerleaders – he says he loves to tell his Tri-County story of how he went from an apathetic college student who dropped out of a local private university to enroll at Tri-County, where he was motivated by a caring instructor and consequently became interested in and energized by learning. He served as president of the student government body and by age 20 was known as an effective student leader. Powell graduated in 1972 with a degree in business technology/marketing and a strong desire to spread the word about a college which gave him career direction.
“That’s what makes Tri-County special. Instructors care about their students and are interested in helping them to get good jobs. It’s no different than when I was a student in the early 1970’s. You’re a name, not a number,” said Powell, who owns and operates Powell Real Estate in Oconee County.
Since joining the Commission, he has served two terms as vice chair and has been active on various board committees, including the Strategic Planning, Building, and Finance Committees.
For as long as he can remember, Powell says he had a vision for a community campus for the citizens of Oconee County. As past chair of the Commission’s Building Committee, he worked tirelessly with legislators and local county council representatives to make the Oconee Campus a reality.
It was one of Powell’s proudest moment as a commissioner and an alumnus when in August 2018, he joined college officials and local dignitaries in cutting a ribbon to celebrate the opening of the long-awaited Oconee Campus.
In 2009 Powell received the College’s Distinguished Alumni Award, which highlights his dedication to his alma mater.
He was the first alumnus to serve on the College’s Foundation Board (1987 – 94) and currently serves as an ex-officio member. He was the Alumni Association’s second president, and is a longtime member of the Business Technology Advisory Committee (since 1980).
About Tri-County Technical College
Tri-County Technical College, a public two-year community and technical college serving Anderson, Oconee and Pickens Counties in South Carolina, enrolls more than 9,000 students annually and offers more than 70 major fields of study, including computer technology, industrial electronics, mechatronics, nursing, and university transfer programs. Tri-County boasts the highest student success rate among two-year colleges in the state and ranks in the top one percent nationally for successful student transfers to four-year colleges and universities.