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By Jessica Peoples
Office of University Communications
September 14, 2012      

Powell Urges Attention to School Dropout Rate at Bouchet Forum

Alma J. Powell

WASHINGTON – Alma J. Powell, chair of America’s Promise Alliance, received the 2012 Edward Alexander Bouchet Legacy Award at Howard University Graduate School’s annual Edward Bouchet Forum. The prestigious award was named after the Yale University alumnus Edward Alexander Bouchet who, in 1876, became the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in any discipline from an American university and the sixth person to earn a Ph.D. in physics in the western hemisphere. The award honors esteemed educators and advocates whose commitment and leadership to cultivating a new generation of scholars upholds Bouchet’s groundbreaking contributions to the academy.

As keynote speaker of the forum, Powell addressed the nation’s high school dropout rate and charged Howard students, faculty, and guests to take action through mentorship and other community-based initiatives.

“As a nation we have to make a top priority of putting all of our young people on paths that lead to success,” Powell said. “Some may question whether we can afford to undertake that effort considering all the other priorities on our nation’s list. Our answer to that is we cannot afford not to.”

Powell spearheads a number of education, cultural, charitable and civic organizations, including America’s Promise Alliance, the nation’s largest partnership organization dedicated to improving the lives of young people. The organization was founded in 1997 by Powell and her husband, former U.S. State Secretary, General Colin Powell.

To address the dropout crisis, America’s Promise Alliance launched the Grad Nation campaign with a  mission to raise the U.S. high school graduation rate to 90 percent by 2020.

“It takes us all of us,” Powell said.  “Every time you mentor a young person, every time you read to a young child, or help with homework after school, you move us closer to being a Grad Nation.”

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