On Tuesday, General Colin L. Powell, founder of the Colin L. Powell Center for Leadership and Service, visited City College for a signing of his new book, It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership. The signing drew City College students, faculty, alumni and community members.
In the book, a follow up to Powell’s My American Journey (1995), the former Secretary of State recounts meetings with foreign leaders, his time in the military, childhood moments and other life lessons and stories. These parables- by turns funny, touching, and inspiring- tell the story behind Powell’s “13 Rules”.
These personal commandments synthesize Powell’s belief in the importance of integrity, responsibility and service to others; they include “check small things,” “share credit,” and “have a vision, be demanding.”
Learning from a Distinguished Career
Those lessons and General Powell’s personal qualities are what drew many to the book, and to the chance to meet him. Among them, Felix Navarro, a Community Engagement fellow with the Center, said he “hopes to learn lessons that [Powell] learned himself that will help us in our careers.” Rakim Jenkins, an incoming Partners for Change fellow, added that he had read some of It Worked for Me, and had already picked up “tools I can use to better my community and myself.”
For more photos from General Powell's book signing, check out our album on Facebook!
Twin sisters Ellen and Elaine Golding, who graduated from City College in 1962, said they came to the signing because they feel a kinship with Powell. Like him, they are the children of Jamaican immigrants, were born in Harlem and went to CCNY (Powell was the class of 1958). “We’re very interested by his life, very inspired,” Ellen said. She added that when My American Journey was published, she waited in line for six hours to have it signed.
Asked what drew them to It Worked for Me, Elaine said “We would like to be aware of outstanding role models in our own community.” Both see Powell’s success story as important for young people, and plan to spread the book’s lessons to their nieces, nephews and grandchildren (if they can’t get them to read the book themselves).
Coming Home to City College
To mark the launch of the book, Powell appeared on NBC’s “The Today Show” and ABC’s “The View” on Tuesday morning. For the first signing, he decided to come home to the university that educated him, he said:
CCNY is near and dear to me. I graduated from City College over 50 years ago, but have never forgotten my time there. It was the institution that educated me and sent me out into the world. And now, CCNY has the Colin Powell Center for Leadership and Service, of which I am very proud. The Center is educating the next generation of young people who will lead our country and serve in their communities. So I was very pleased to do my first book signing event on the campus of my alma mater.