Marking a historic milestone in the life of Eisenhower Fellowships, hundreds of members of the EF global family converged on Philadelphia on May 16 and 17 to pay tribute to our outgoing Chairman, General Colin L. Powell, USA (Retired) and welcome his successor, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates.
More than 415 invited guests, including some 170 Fellows from 43 countries, gathered at the National Constitution Center to honor General Powell in a gala celebratory dinner that featured a musical performance by students from the Philadelphia school for Creative and Performing Arts and speakers that included former Vice President Joe Biden, former Bermuda Premier John Swan, former Governor Christine Todd Whitman and Secretary Gates. The General was also feted in video messages from former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, former National Security Adviser General Brent Scowcroft and former Secretaries of State Madeline Albright, Condoleezza Rice, James A. Baker III and Henry Kissinger, a Chairman Emeritus of EF. Another EF Chairman Emeritus, former President George H.W. Bush, sent a written message that was read by the master of ceremonies for the evening, veteran NPR and PBS News Hour correspondent Ray Suarez.
Fellows from the Fall 2016 Africa Program, the first regional program in EF history dedicated exclusively to nations in Sub-Saharan Africa, presented General Powell with a beautiful glass sculpture in gratitude for his leadership and support. The emotional highlight of the evening was the unveiling of a mural that Philadelphia public school students created for General Powell with the City of Philadelphia’s renowned Mural Arts Program, headed by Eisenhower Fellow Jane Golden. The mural, created under the supervision of master mural artist Ernel Martinez, was projected digitally for General Powell and will ultimately be displayed at the Olney Charter High School in Northeast Philadelphia this fall.
The Philadelphia Inquirer covered the event and EF’s chairmanship transition with this news report.