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Paul Adrian Powell, III Plaque

Powell Family Continues to Honor Son, Support E&H Students

A Roanoke, Virginia, family with connections to Emory & Henry College that span several generations is continuing its support of the College with a generous $400,000 donation toward the creation of a new Student Success Center.
Posted April 01, 2022

A Roanoke, Virginia, family with connections to Emory & Henry College that span several generations is continuing its support of the College with a generous $400,000 donation toward the creation of a new Student Success Center.

The Powell Charitable Foundation, along with Paul A. “Buzzy” Powell, Jr. and his wife, Donna, have donated the money for the establishment of the Paul Adrian Powell III Student Success Center, named in memory of their late son.

With a continued commitment to Emory & Henry students and a devotion to the College, the family has generously stepped forward to help create the new Student Success Center that will give students from all walks of life a clear path to success.

The family’s philanthropy has been an inspiration to the region for many years.

More than 30 years ago, the family has donated money in support of the Powell Resource Center, an office that was formed on campus following the loss of their son, who died tragically in 1991 in an accident on campus. The donation makes possible the expandedspace in which to provide additional services in the new Student Success Center.

Powell firmly believes the creation and expansion of the Student Success Center is an example of something good coming from something bad.

“In remembering our son in this way, we see the good that comes from such a tragic event. The Center is that good,” Powell said.

“Our donations are our ‘thank you’ to the Emory & Henry community, both past and present. We thank everyone for all the hard work and dedication that has made it possible.”

The Student Success Center will offer students the opportunities to get the most out of their college experiences—something Powell wished had been provided when he attended Emory & Henry College in the summer of 1964.

“I came to college with high hopes but a lack of good study habits,” he said. “I imagine that most, if not all, students will greatly benefit from the Center. There is a tremendous adjustment or transition for many of the first-year students.”

Emory & Henry College has held a special place in the hearts of many of his family members. Powell’s mother, Ruby Burnett Prillaman, and father, Paul Adrian Powell, Sr., both attended Emory & Henry College. “They met at college and secretly married in Bristol, Tenn.,” Powell said.

“My father graduated in 1933, but my mother did not. She had another year before she was eligible to graduate. Resources were tight back then and opportunities for employment were scarce.”

Powell said Emory & Henry College was a memorable and rewarding experience for him in the 1960s.“Friends then are my friends now,” he said.

Powell’s son, Paul, was a member of the class of 1992. “He was reluctant to apply at Emory & Henry due to its rural location,” said Powell. “But, once on campus and through the subsequent relationships that developed, both with students and faculty, he realized that the decision was justified.”

Waid Burnett Powell, the couple’s younger son, graduated Emory & Henry in 2000, as did his wife, Laura Kidd Powell.

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