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Notable Alumni: Michael K. Powell '85

Michael K. Powell ’85

Michael K. Powell was nominated by President William J. Clinton to a Republican seat on the Federal Communications Commission, and was sworn in on Nov. 3, 1997. He was designated chairman by President George W. Bush on Jan. 22, 2001, and served until March 17, 2005.

As chairman, Powell set out to bring FCC regulations into the 21st century and to recognize the move of voice, video, and data technologies away from limited analog platforms to powerful digital applications that bring more value to the public. He focused on initiatives that encourage market-driven solutions that promote consumer interests. He supported new methods of deploying advanced services through the use of new alternatives such as power lines, unlicensed wireless devices and other technologies that would expand affordable broadband options to all Americans regardless of their geographic location. From campaigning for the right to keep your phone number when switching wireless carriers to fighting to allow the choice of avoiding telemarketing calls with a Do-Not-Call list, Powell put consumers on the forefront in this exciting and dynamic marketplace.

In addition to his normal duties, Chairman Powell served as the FCC’s Defense Commissioner and was responsible for overseeing all National Security Emergency Preparedness functions for the Commission.

Chairman Powell previously served as the Chief of Staff of the Antitrust Division in the Department of Justice. In that capacity, he advised the Assistant Attorney General on substantive antitrust matters, including policy development, criminal and civil investigations and mergers. Before joining the Antitrust Division, Powell was an associate in the Washington, D.C. office of the law firm of O'Melveny & Myers LLP, and just prior to joining the firm clerked for the Honorable Harry T. Edwards, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Before starting his legal career, Powell served as a policy advisor to Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney. In addition, his experience includes military service as an armored cavalry officer in the United States Army. While on duty, Powell was seriously injured in a training accident and — after spending a year in the hospital — was retired from service.

Powell graduated in 1985 from the College of William and Mary with a degree in government. He earned his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.

Powell served the College as a Board of Visitors member (2002-2009) and Rector (2006-2009), as well as serving on the Board of Visitors at the Georgetown University Law Center. He is also a Henry Crown Fellow of The Aspen Institute and is on the board of directors of Object Video, CMWare and Cisco.

— Source: FCC

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