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For immediate release — March 18, 2015
(DALLAS) — Pattie Powell, trustee emeritus for the Dallas County Community College District, passed away on March 10, 2015; she was 86. A memorial service is scheduled on Sunday, March 22, at 3 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Richardson, located at 217 Walton St.
Mrs. Powell, a longtime resident of Dallas, was the longest-serving trustee in DCCCD’s history; she retired in 2006. Her tenure included working with four chancellors, attending several thousand meetings and approving countless measures that moved one of the nation’s largest community college systems forward. Today, DCCCD educates more than 79,000 credit and 20,000 continuing education students each semester and reaches out to students, communities and organizations to build partnerships and educational opportunities.
“On behalf of our DCCCD board of trustees, employees, students and community members who knew Pattie Powell and worked with her for so many years, I would like to extend our condolences to Mrs. Powell’s family,” said Dr. Joe May, DCCCD’s chancellor. “Her record of service to our district and her dedication to our students leaves a legacy that we will continue to honor.”
Mrs. Powell’s dedication and service were recognized by other trustees when they approved her appointment as the first “trustee emeritus” for DCCCD during their regular monthly meeting in June 2006. With that designation, she retained her title as trustee even though she retired from the board. Mrs. Powell represented District 1, which includes north Dallas and a portion of Richardson (an area that includes Richland College as well).
During her unmatched tenure on the DCCCD board of trustees, Mrs. Powell served as chair from 1978-1980, 1994-1996 and 1996 to June 2000. She served as vice chair during her last term, as chair of the board’s planning and budget committee from June 2000 to June 2003, and as community college representative to White House Conferences on Productivity.
Mrs. Powell was a former board member of the Texas Association of Community College Trustees and Administrators. She previously assumed leadership roles with other higher education organizations, including the North Texas Association of Higher Education, the American Association of Community Colleges and the Association of Community College Trustees. She also received ACCT’s M. Dale Ensign Community College Leadership Award.
Beyond the community college realm, Mrs. Powell was a former board member of Goals for Dallas and the American Cancer Society. She held leadership positions with several area organizations, including the Richardson Symphony Orchestra Inc., the Richardson Symphony Orchestra Guild and Teenpower Inc.
Mrs. Powell was born in Woodsboro, Texas; she was the only daughter of Edgar and Lacolian (Eastham) Thomas. She graduated from Woodsboro High School in 1944 and was class valedictorian. At age 15, she was accepted into the Plan II Honors program at the University of Texas at Austin and began her college career at age 16; she graduated from UT at age 19.
She was accepted into the doctoral program at the UT Medical Branch in Galveston, where she met her husband, Bill. They were married in 1952. He earned his medical degree and completed a tour with the U.S. Air Force in the Middle East. The Powells then lived in Galveston and Richardson. They spent 60 years together and raised six children; Mr. Powell died in 2009.
The retired DCCCD trustee also was an accomplished poet and author, as well as a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and friend to many who have admired her dedication, kindness and diplomacy.