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University of the Pacific
3601 Pacific Avenue
Stockton, California 95211

Message from the Director

2014 Powell Scholars

Dr. Cynthia Wagner Weick, Director of Powell Scholars Program, with 2014 freshmen Powell Scholars

From the Director of the Powell Scholars Program

I am delighted to serve as director of the Powell Scholars Program, which is the university's premier academic award. Our program focuses on developing the academic, creative and leadership potential of high performing students in all majors across the university. Through the Program we have created a community of students who value a broad and rich educational experience. The best way for you to get to know the program is by visiting us at Pacific, but I'll outline a few of the salient features here.

Student Driven Program

Leadership is most effectively developed through practice. By design, the high achieving Powell Scholar students have driven the program from its advent. The Program's mission statement and the nine dimensions that characterize the scholars were developed by the students themselves. Each year at our annual retreat we look these over and make any changes we think are needed to enhance the program. While we share common values and experiences in the program, each student tailors the nine dimensions to their specific interests. The community of Powell Scholars is comprised of unique individuals.

Main Components

People often ask about the components of the program. There are both curricular and co-curricular components, which are designed to fit well into our students' varied majors.

  • The one unit Powell Leadership Seminar is taken in the fall of the freshman year. It focuses on approaches to leadership and introduces students to the opportunities offered by the program in research/creative activity, study abroad, community service, and pursuit of fellowships (Fulbright, Rhodes, etc.). In the seminar students begin considering how they might take advantage of up to $7,500 available to them for international study and research/creative activity.
  • A one unit Proposal Development Seminar is taken the sophomore or junior year, and allows students to develop a strong proposal for using research/creative project funding.
  • An annual one day retreat is held in early fall in which we reflect on the program and plan for the coming year. At this retreat, for example, the students nominate the speakers and/or performers they want to bring to campus. Past speakers have included artist Stephen Joseph, the inventors of the Socket ball, and Molly Donovan, associate curator at the National Gallery of Art in D.C. In Spring 2013, the Powell Scholars sponsored a talk and performance from jazz great, Wynton Marsalis.  Photographer and Humans of New York creater Brandon Stanton visited in spring, 2014.
  • Seniors attend an off-site three day retreat directly before their last semester starts. This encourages students to reflect deeply on their intellectual experience at Pacific, their approach to leadership, and their futures.
  • Once or twice each semester the Powell Scholars attend cultural events together off campus, including plays, art shows, musicals and other productions.
  • Monthly luncheons with all Powell Scholars allow the students to interact with one another across majors.
  • President Eibeck hosts a luncheon each year for the Powell Scholars, the Powell Scholars Advisory Board, the provost and academic deans, and other top university officials.
  • We initiated a new ongoing project in the village of Dimen, China in summer, 2012. The Powell Scholars have developed and are continuing to refine an original curriculum for teaching English as a foreign language to people in the village.

Regents Robert and Jeannette Powell

The Program's benefactors are Pacific Regents Robert and Jeanette Powell, and we cannot express our gratitude enough. The Powells have given us the ability to offer the Scholars opportunities in research, study-abroad, cultural experiences and community service. They have funded our program, but the support goes further than that.  While Mr. and Mrs. Powell are no longer with us, their expectations for the Program - that it should help students identify and follow their passions, whatever these are -  still inspires us each day. Thanks to the generosity of the Powells, the Scholars now have access to a beautifully remodeled Callison Hall, which is a study and creative space dedicated to our program. Callison also houses the offices of the program director (me) and the university's fellowship advisor, Dr. Susan Weiner. This increases our ability to help students develop given their particular interests as undergraduates and goals beyond graduation.

After Graduation

Where do Powell Scholars go upon graduating? Upon earning their undergraduate degree, Powell Scholars typically pursue graduate school, professional school or fellowships (e.g. the Fulbright), and often earn entrance into the top programs in their chosen fields. Powell Scholars have gone on to masters and doctoral programs in civil engineering, mathematics, international relations, biology, higher education, and sport sciences at schools such as Cal Tech, USC, Georgetown, William and Mary, and University of Colorado at Boulder. Others have pursued law school, medical school, dentistry or pharmacy at schools including UC Davis, USC, Loyola Marymount, University of Michigan, and University of the Pacific. Powell Scholars have also earned Fulbright Scholarships to Finland and South Korea.

The Powell Scholars Program just gets better every year. We look forward to the outstanding accomplishments of our students and graduates in the future. If you have further questions about the program, feel free to contact me at cweick@pacific.edu.


Cynthia Wagner Weick, Ph.D.
Director, Powell Scholars Program
Professor of Management
University of the Pacific
Stockton, CA 95211