Gen. Powell speaks to soldout crowd

“EJ Thomas Hall hosted a sold out lecture Monday night, drawing young and old alike. The speaker: General Colin Powell. I am very pleased to be back in Akron, it’s been quite a few years since I have been at the University of Akron. The event was sponsored by Delta Gama and the Honors College.”

EJ Thomas Hall hosted a sold out lecture Monday night, drawing young and old alike.

The speaker: General Colin Powell.

I am very pleased to be back in Akron, it’s been quite a few years since I have been at the University of Akron.

The event was sponsored by Delta Gama and the Honors College.

While his speech was titled Diplomacy: Persuasion, Trust & Values, no topic was off limits – at least in the media reception held earlier in the day.

He spoke about President Obama’s first couple of months in office.

I find these gradings, as if he is a school child, rather silly, he said. His first year in office, his major challenge was to stabilize a financial and economic system that was about to go off a cliff.

He believes the president has done a nice job in stabilizing the situation, given what he came into office with.

We’re just now starting to see other effects of that, he said, refering to the unemployment and credit crises as examples.

However, he was not all praises for the president.

A lot more has to be done and I hope that remains his number one priority.

His biggest concern with Obama is that the president is a bit overly ambitious in his endeavors.

He has to be careful about biting off too much, he said. There is an absorption rate in our society . . . but there is a limit about how much you can put on the political scale at one time.

He believes the president’s main focus should be the economy and the War in Iraq.

Many issues facing the country are deemed important, such as health care and global warming, but these issues may reduce the amount of attention from a more important issue.

Politics is a contact sport, he said. But sooner or later the opposing sides have to start compromising or otherwise you’re stuck.

While the issues he discussed leaned more toward the serious, Powell found a way to incorporate humor. While discussing his time as the Secretary of State he said that the one thing he truly missed was, of all things, his airplane.

He addressed the younger, upcoming generations.

Stay in school, he said. I hope I will convey to them a sense of responsibility on their part. They are privileged. They are in college. They will graduate from college.

He stressed having a sense of ethics and values as students approach their careers and education. A characteristic, he said, all good leaders have.

If I leave them with the belief that they have an obligation to give back, to reach out to young people, to give back to their communities, he said. To do something that gives back to their community and society that gave them so much then I will consider it a good evening.

The standing ovation he received at the end cemented the positive impression he left on both students and community members alike.