Retired Gen. Colin Powell, a groundbreaking former U.S. Secretary of State, has been announced as the keynote speaker at the eighth annual Westmont College President’s Breakfast.

The event is scheduled from 7 to 9 a.m. Friday, March 1, in the Grand Ballroom of Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort in Santa Barbara. Tickets, $125 per person, go on sale Friday, Feb. 1, at 9 a.m. at www.westmont.edu. Seating is limited and tickets are sold on a first-come, first-served basis, the college said.

Powell, a retired Army four-star general, served as Secretary of State under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005. He was the first African American to serve as Secretary of State and remains the only African-American to serve on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

His recent book, “It Worked for Me,” is a New York Times bestseller.

He served as President Ronald Reagan’s national security adviser from 1987 to 1989 and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for both President George H.W. Bush and for President Bill Clinton from 1989 to 1993.

During his time as chairman, he oversaw 28 crises, including the invasion of Panama in 1989 and Operation Desert Storm in 1991.

Appointed as the 65th Secretary of State under George W. Bush, Powell led the State Department during regional and civil conflicts in Afghanistan, the Balkans, Congo, Haiti, Iraq, Liberia, Northern Ireland and Sudan.

His many awards and decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Army Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Soldier’s Medal, Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart.

His civil awards include two Presidential Medals of Freedom, the President’s Citizens Medal, the Congressional Gold Medal and the Secretary of Energy Distinguished Service Medal.

In addition, more than two dozen countries have chosen Powell for awards that include a French Legion of Honor and an honorary knighthood bestowed by Queen Elizabeth II.

Powell founded the Colin L. Powell Center for Leadership and Service at the City College of New York, his alma mater, to develop a new generation of publicly engaged leaders. He also founded and is chairman emeritus of America’s Promise Alliance, dedicated to improving the lives of children.

The Westmont Foundation and area businesses sponsor the President’s Breakfast to promote discussion and consideration of current issues among community leaders.

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