Powell named Lincoln Academy Student Laureate
On November 3, 2012, National Louis University senior Willie Powell was among the 52 students honored by the Lincoln Academy of Illinois as a Student Laureate. The Lincoln Academy’s Student Laureate Awards are presented for excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities to seniors from each of the four-year, degree-granting colleges and universities in Illinois.
Being recognized as a Student Laureate and earning her Bachelor of Arts in Applied Behavioral Sciences from National Louis is a far cry from where Powell’s schooling began more than a half century ago. Born on a farm in Mississippi in 1942, she is one of 16 children in a family that did not value education and was not encouraged to attend school. With only a GED, she spent years supporting her family with low paying jobs, all the while dreaming of getting a higher education degree and becoming a teacher.
In the fall of 2008, at the age of 66, Powell enrolled in a community college to begin the journey toward completing her degree. She was a member of the honor society at Triton College, was on the dean's list for two semesters, and was selected for an internship at Disney in 2008. During her time at NLU, she has maintained this same high level of excellence, earning a 4.0 GPA. She plans to continue her education by seeking a graduate degree in teaching.
“Willie’s drive to complete her education is an inspiration to us all,” said Dr. Nivine Megahed, president of National Louis University. “It is wonderful to be able to help her achieve her long-lived dream of gaining her degree and congratulate her on being named a Lincoln Academy Student Laureate.”
As a Student Laureate winner, Powell received a medallion presented by Gov. Pat Quinn, a certificate of achievement and an honorarium check. The award ceremony was held at the Old State Capitol in the House of Representatives Chamber in Springfield followed by a luncheon in the Governor’s Executive Mansion. This event marked the 38th year that students have been honored by the Academy.
The Lincoln Academy, unique among the 50 states, was established 47 years ago to honor Illinois’ most distinguished citizens with the state’s highest award, the Order of Lincoln.