Alumni Spotlight: Jeff Powell

Michael Holm

Jeff Powell

Far too often it seems we try to limit the concept of success to things we can quantify. But when you see pride reflected in one’s eyes, hear confidence in their voice or marvel at how they carry themselves with ease and grace, the word success becomes an afterthought. Self-worth becomes the cornerstone by which we define our own measure of success. 

Jeff Powell, the Associate Director of Development for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Arizona is a man for whom self-worth is a focal point. Powell is not only a UA campus leader, he is a proud SALT Center Alumnus. When asked about his own success, he was quick to respond:

“If I feel that I am contributing value to a broader goal or to making someone’s life better, that is what gives me personal fulfillment and joy, and that lets me know that I am being successful.”

Powell’s university experience was much like that of many other students who are enrolled at the SALT Center. “My learning specialist believed in me, supported me and knew I was going to make it, even when I was unsure. The value of that is immeasurable.” Upon completing his degree in Africana Studies, he was left with memories he will forever cherish.

“Just graduating with a degree that I was proud of ... and having my parents be able to watch me cross the stage after they have been with me throughout my struggles in academia made me incredibly proud.”

Currently, Powell puts great effort into his work at the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. His primary focus is on Major Gifts, which are donations of $25,000 and above. He also manages the Magellan Circle, a program designed to support student scholars by pairing them with specific donors. This innovative program allows students to receive funding for their education and build relationships with those who are supporting their academic success.

The academic path that Powell followed laid the foundation for a professional career which allows him to now support students much in the same way he was supported as a student utilizing SALT Center services. “The SALT Center was a little corner of campus that understood me and wanted to see me succeed.” Now, Powell passes along his insights and professional advice to others who are walking the same path that led him to a successful career in academic services. “Play to your strengths as much as you can, but also don’t forget about your weaknesses; really work on your weaknesses and develop them. Utilize your network. Utilize the people who want to see you succeed.”