Remembering: Colin Powell
A historic politician, diplomat and four-star general, the GW Monumental Alumnus was a towering figure as a solider and statesman.
The George Washington University community mourned the loss of Colin Powell, MBA ’71, a trailblazing public servant who in 2001 became the first African American to serve as the United States secretary of state. The retired four-star general in the U.S. Army played a key role in shaping the nation’s foreign policy in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Powell died on Oct. 18 of complications related to COVID-19. He was 84.
Powell, who served in the U.S. Army for 35 years, received an Honorary Doctor of Public Service from GW in 1990. He was recognized during the recent Centuries Celebration as one of the university’s distinguished Monumental Alumni, a group of 73 alumni who have made their mark on the world by living the university’s mission of engaging as global citizens.
“General Powell is remembered for his deep commitment to public service, particularly as a veteran and as a leader in national security, diplomacy and foreign policy,” President Thomas LeBlanc said. “Our university community has been fortunate on several occasions to learn from General Powell’s vast world knowledge and experiences, and he will continue to serve as an inspiration to many of our students, faculty, staff and his fellow alumni. We share our condolences with General Powell’s family.”
Powell stayed connected to GW throughout the years. He formally opened the Elliott School of International Affairs building in September 2003, while serving as secretary of state. He represented the university as the keynote speaker in March 2012 at the GW Global Forum in Seoul, South Korea. Powell presented fellow Monumental Alumna Tammy Duckworth, MA ’92, with the Colin Powell Public Service Award at GW’s Celebration of Service dinner in October 2009. He also returned to campus for a book signing at University Student Center in 2012 and spoke at Lisner Auditorium in 2014.
Born in New York City on April 5, 1937, to Jamaican immigrant parents, Powell received a commission as an Army second lieutenant in 1958 and rose through the ranks, going from combat duty in Vietnam to being one of the United States’ leading national security voices.
Powell served Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan in national defense roles. He was Reagan’s national security adviser from 1987 to 1989. In October 1989, President George H.W. Bush appointed Powell as the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, making him the first and only African American to serve in that role. During his time as chair, he oversaw 28 crises, including the Panama intervention of 1989 and the 1991 Operation Desert Storm during the Persian Gulf War. Powell, who also served in President Bill Clinton’s administration, held his post as chair until 1993.
He became the nation’s 65th secretary of state when President George W. Bush appointed him to the position in January 2001, a role he’d hold until 2005.
Powell received many awards and recognitions throughout his career. His military accolades include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Army Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Soldier’s Medal, Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart. He also received an abundance of civil awards, including two Presidential Medals of Freedom, the President’s Citizens Medal, the Congressional Gold Medal and Secretary of Energy Distinguished Service Medal. His work in international diplomacy earned him awards in more than two dozen countries, including the French Legion of Honor and an honorary knighthood bestowed by Queen Elizabeth II.
Powell was active in the private sector after his work with the U.S. government, serving on numerous boards and councils. He has nine elementary and middle schools named after him. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in geology from the City College of New York, where he was active in the Army ROTC program. Powell is survived by his wife, Alma Vivian (Johnson) Powell, whom he married in 1962, three children and two grandchildren.
Remembering Albert H. Small
The philanthropist and real estate developer supported the university’s commitment to the arts, history and research.
The George Washington University community mourned the passing of Albert H. Small, a real estate developer and philanthropist whose far-reaching impact includes the establishment of the Albert H. Small Center for National Capital Area Studies and the Albert H. Small Normandy Institute. Small, 95, died on Oct. 3.
Small attended GW Law from 1947 to 1948 and went on to become one of the university’s biggest champions. He received the GW President’s Medal in 2011 in recognition of his efforts to enhance cultural and educational opportunities and an honorary doctorate of public service in 2016. Small was also honored during GW’s Centuries Celebration Weekend in October as one of the university’s distinguished Monumental Alumni.
Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations Donna Arbide said she had the privilege of getting to know Small over the last few years and described him as “a man of tremendous passion and conviction, a remarkable philanthropist and a leader in this community.”
“I was consistently impressed not only by his clarity of vision about the educational legacy he hoped to leave behind, but by the ways that legacy was already manifesting during his lifetime,” she said.
GW President Thomas LeBlanc also recognized Small’s legacy, remembering him as “a wonderful, wonderful man, a huge supporter of our university. We are deeply sorry about his passing and want to share our condolences with his family.”
Small is survived by his wife, Shirley, children Albert Jr. “Sonny” and Tina Small, Susan and Gerald Savitsky, James and Anayansie Small, grandchildren and extended family.
A third-generation Washingtonian, Small was an avid collector of rare books and manuscripts for more than 65 years. In 2011, Small made a historic gift, donating his unparalleled collection on the history of Washington, D.C., to GW. The Albert H. Small Washingtoniana Collection, a collection of more than 2,000 prints, maps, manuscripts, books, newspapers and photographs, is available to the D.C. community in its permanent home at the George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum’s Woodhull House. This collection and the Woodhull House’s Albert H. Small Center for National Capital Area Studies, a research center launched in 2015, have been a vital resource for GW students and faculty.
“Having worked with Mr. Small through the renovations of Woodhull House, transfer of his collection to our museum, establishment of the Albert H. Small Center for National Capital Studies, exhibitions of Washington history since 2015, D.C. Monday educational programs and our annual Albert H. Small Symposium—I can testify to Small’s passion for history and even greater interest in perpetuating that enthusiasm to future generations,” said Museum Director John Wetenhall. “I remember many, many visits to his office in Bethesda where Albert Small inquired about the details of exhibits and programs, always with words of enthusiasm and encouragement, as well as a joke or two. Through his collection, study center and a commitment to learning and research, he has left us a magnificent legacy.”
In 2019, GW became home to the Albert H. Small Normandy Institute. Small established the Normandy Institute in 2011 to honor the World War II soldiers who died in the 1944 D-Day Campaign. The institute sends teams of high school students and their teachers to Normandy, France, after participating in a series of lectures by GW history professors and conducting research on a fallen soldier from their respective hometowns. Small served as a second lieutenant in the United States Navy during WWII and had a deep interest in memorializing the D-Day Campaign, which he felt still had a profound impact on the world today.
Small, who attended D.C.’s Woodrow Wilson High School, co-founded Southern Engineering Corporation in 1950 and developed millions of square feet of office space, apartment communities and single-family homes in communities across the Washington, D.C., metropolitan region. He served on many civic and cultural boards, including those of the National Trust for the Humanities, the National Symphony Orchestra, the National Gallery of Art, the Foundation for the National Archives, and the James Madison Council of the Library of Congress. He was a 2009 recipient of a National Humanities Medal, presented by the National Endowment for the Humanities to individuals and groups whose work has deepened the nation’s understanding of the humanities.
Michael B. Enzi, B.S. ’66, (July 26, 2021, 77), was a U.S. senator for Wyoming from 1996 to 2021. A member of the Republican Party, he served as the chair of the Senate Committee on the Budget and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and was a member of the committees on Finance as well as Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Before entering public life, he served for six years in the Wyoming National Guard and owned and operated his family’s shoe store business. He was elected mayor of Gillette, Wyo., in 1974 and served until 1987. He was later elected to the Wyoming House of Representatives and the Wyoming State Senate. Enzi is survived by his wife, Diana Buckley; his daughters, Amy Strom and Emily McGrady; a son, Brad Enzi; and four grandchildren.
William Hovey, BA ’83, (May 1, 2021, 59), spent his entire professional life as a passionate educator determined to challenge his students to step outside of traditional educational silos in order to think creatively, critically and independently. He is survived by his great friend and beloved wife of 27 years, Carmen Crenshaw-Hovey; Sam and Aleksander, his loving sons of whom he was extraordinarily proud; and Tracey, his devoted sister with whom he shared a special lifelong bond. He is also survived by brothers, John, James and Patrick McKenna. He delighted in the adulation and love of his 11 nieces and nephews.
Anne Herlinda Goldfinch Locascio, BA ’69, (Feb. 7, 2020, 72), was raised in Westport, Conn.; Paris, France; and San Antonio, Texas. She was a devoted mother and wife, artist and patron of the arts. An avid reader with vast and varied interests, she was an alumna of, in addition to George Washington University, the Institut Saint Dominique, Paris; St. Mary’s Hall, San Antonio, Texas; and Pine Manor College, Brookline, Mass. She went on to master’s work in painting at the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design, Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She conveyed her passions to her daughters Lisa (an educator and author in Los Angeles) and Julia (a theater director in London) in a big beautiful Lannon Stone house just outside Chicago in River Forest, Ill., which she curated, as one of Julia’s teenage friends put it, “like the most eccentric and wonderful museum.” Her daughters survive her along with Larry, her loving husband of 36 years.
Faculty and Staff
Deborah Berezdivin (June 24, 2021, 21), was a third-year student at the School of Business. She was among those who died in the collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium building in Surfside, Fla. She was visiting Florida from her home in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to attend a funeral. She presided over the Puerto Rico chapter of Young Judaea, a local youth club focused on Jewish leadership, community and values. She continued her work with Jewish groups once she arrived at GW after transferring from Tulane University, including at the Rohr Chabad Jewish Student Center at GW and GW Hillel.
Dorn C. McGrath, Jr., FAICP, (Jan. 25, 2021, 90), was the founder of GW’s award-winning Department of Urban & Regional Planning. He built an academic powerhouse that produced talented and dedicated planners and provided extensive community planning services throughout the District and the greater Washington region, from Anacostia to Annapolis. Another local leadership role he assumed was chairman of the Committee of 100 on the Federal City. Michael La Place, BA ’85, MURP ’89, remembers riding with him from Foggy Bottom to the committee meetings. He recalls McGrath at the wheel as they flew through midday traffic to arrive just in time for the lunch sessions. La Place is deeply grateful to McGrath, his teacher, mentor, friend and planning hero.
Powell: SK Myoung | Small: William Atkins