The Powell Scholars Program develops responsible leaders who excel academically and take the initiative to understand and serve the university, local, and global communities. Our individual achievements are complemented by uniting others to make a difference in the world.

Thanks to a remarkable gift from Bob and Jeannette Powell, the Powell Scholars receive generous scholarships, enrichment opportunities, and funding for research and creative projects, as well as study abroad. The Nine Dimensions of a Powell Scholar, established by the students themselves, guide our practices collectively, while each student tailors these precepts to their individual scholarly and creative interests. For an introduction to the Program's main components, please see our brochure.

Welcome to the Powell Scholars Program!

Powell Scholars are recipients of the university’s premier academic scholarship. We seek high achieving students from across all majors who demonstrate leadership potential, pursue creative endeavors and innovative research, and become game-changers in their communities both locally and globally. Powell Scholars are one-of-a-kind students, and it is a privilege to share in their personal and intellectual growth.

More than just a scholarship, the Powell Scholars program is a ticket to life-altering experiences. In order to support their research and creative pursuits, Powell Scholars have access to funds for projects as well as for study abroad. Cultural enrichment is another central feature of the program. Our students not only participate in field trips to world-class arts experiences — they also bring high profile speakers, artists, scholars, and entrepreneurs to Pacific. Powell Scholars enjoy a dedicated study lounge, seminar room, and brainstorming space in Callison Hall, an ideal setting for exchanging ideas, engaging in collaboration, and refining individual and group projects.

In their freshman year, Powell Scholars take a seminar that explores leadership paradigms and features invited guests who have played significant roles in their respective fields. In order for Powell Scholars to receive funding for original research and creative work, they must enroll in the Powell Project Proposal Seminar, which guides them through the process of developing a compelling project idea while fostering close mentoring relationships with faculty members in their discipline. Our students have earned prestigious graduate and postgraduate fellowships, including the Fulbright, the Goldwater, and the Boren Award, as well as the Middlebury Critical Language Fellowship in Arabic. They have also been initiated into the nation’s leading national honors societies, including Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi. Powell Scholars have gone on to distinguish themselves in top graduate and professional schools as well as in industry.

My college experience was incredible. At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I undertook a rigorous course of study in their honors program, graduating Summa Cum Laud, Phi Beta Kappa, and with highest honors in English, while minoring in Anthropology and Art History. I also had the great fortune of playing soccer on four Division One NCAA championship teams with legends Mia Hamm and Kristine Lily. (I was even lucky enough to score the final goal in the 1990 National Championship against UCONN — I had my five seconds of fame on ESPN2!)

I have been teaching Shakespeare, Sports Literature, Revenge Tragedy, Ethics, Film Studies, and Gender Studies at the University of the Pacific since 1998. I’ve also held a variety of leadership positions over the past twenty years, including Director of the Pacific Humanities Center, Founder and Director of the Pacific Humanities Scholars Program, Chair of the Academic Council—Pacific’s faculty senate—and Co-founder and Interim Director of Media X, the University’s exciting new program that combines the study, performance, and production of media (from theater to VR) with entrepreneurialism and data science. In 2016, I was fortunate to receive the Distinguished Faculty Award. The highest honor that a faculty member can earn at Pacific, this award recognizes outstanding teaching, research, and service to the University and its local and global communities.

Pacific is special to me not only because of our exceptional students but also because this is the place where I met my husband, Jim Hetrick (Physics/Data Science). We were married in the Morris Chapel on campus and we have two children who have grown up as Tiger fans. The final member of our family is Lulu, a super-sized but playful German Shepherd who likes to herd humans.

Something most people might not be aware of is that the greater Stockton community is home to beautiful wildlife reserves in the San Joaquin Delta, where boaters can travel all the way to Fisherman’s Wharf in the San Francisco Bay. Our city is extremely diverse, with no fewer than 97 languages spoken. And although my husband and I are east coast natives, we love Northern California’s remarkable natural beauty and rich human geography. Stockton is one of the friendliest places I’ve ever known and, like the University, it is a warm and welcoming community that has become a second home for me, just as the Powell Scholars program is for our students.

For further inquiries and questions, please feel free to contact me any time at or call my office at (209) 946-2609.

Courtney Lehmann, Ph.D.
Director, Powell Scholars Program
Tully Knoles Professor of the Humanities
Profesor of English
University of the Pacific
Stockton, CA 95211

Powell Scholar Amy Wheeler

Freshman Powell Scholar Amy Wheeler (Music Performance [Cello]) originally planned to participate in a chamber concert in Bend, OR, but this was canceled due to COVID-19. As a replacement for the concert, Amy created a video, shown above.

"During this difficult time of the COVID-19 pandemic everyone is seeking comfort. For me, my comfort comes from music and being outside in nature. The videos I used are from some of my favorite Oregon State Parks which are currently closed. I wanted to use this footage as a reminder to myself that despite our current situation, nature abides. The timelessness of this Bach Sarabande pairs perfectly with the bittersweet emotions of longing for life to return to normal." — Amy Wheeler

2020 Senior Luncheon
Senior Luncheons

The final Powell Scholar luncheon of each academic year is dedicated to the graduating seniors. Each senior invites the professor who most influenced them during their time at University of the Pacific.

This year, the Powell Scholars Senior Luncheon looked a little different, but the Powell seniors were still able to thank their faculty via Zoom.

Program Overview

The Powell Leadership Seminar, which is taken fall semester freshmen year, focuses on approaches to leadership from a variety of perspectives and features key guests from industry as well as from the larger University community. This seminar also introduces Powell Scholars to opportunities afforded by the program, including funding for research, creative activities, and study abroad, as well as support for community service and the pursuit of prestigious fellowships (e.g. Fulbright, Rhodes, etc.). At the end of the semester, each student prepares a leadership "self-portrait" along with a plan to make the most of their years as a Powell Scholar at Pacific.

The Powell Project Proposal Development Seminar, which must be taken before research/creative funds can be accessed, guides students through the process of crafting and presenting a strong proposal for Program funding. Importantly, the seminar also enables Scholars to learn more about their colleagues' work from an array of cross-disciplinary perspectives.

Early in the fall semester, Powell Scholars gather for a one-day retreat, which is focused on personal reflection as well as collective planning for future cultural events, group projects, visiting speakers, and candidates for the Powell Exmplary Leader Award (PELA).

This initial exchange of ideas is refined during monthly luncheons, in which Powell Scholars interact with each other across majors while sharing a meal. The director works with the students to create a program for each luncheon, which typically revolves around organizing special events, highlighting the accomplishments of current students and alumni, and exploring other Powell Scholar business.

The Powell Scholars Program has initiated several group projects, including teaching English as a foreign language in Dimen, China and developing an intensive growing system for microgreens.

Special guest speakers and lecturers are brought to campus by the program. Past guests include Vijay Gupta, a violinist in the LA Philharmonic and activist, jazz great Wynton Marsalis, and artist Gil Dellinger.

Past recipients of the Powell Exemplary Leader Award, an award given by the program to a leader who embodies one or more of the Nine Dimensions, include Malawian entrepreneur Ellen Chilemba and Humans of New York author Brandon Stanton.

Upon earning their undergraduate degree, Powell Alumni typically pursue graduate school, professional school, or fellowships 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, applied geosciences, higher education, music management, data analytics, and sport sciences at schools such as Cal Tech, USC, Georgetown, William and Mary, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Michigan, Northwestern, New York University, and University of Washington. Others have pursued law school, medical school, dentistry, or pharmacy at schools including UC Davis, UC San Francisco, USC, Loyola Marymount, and University of the Pacific. Powell Scholars have also earned Fulbright Scholarships to Finland and South Korea.

The Powells had been involved with Pacific since 1989, when Robert Powell began serving as a Regent. Jeannette Powell served as a Regent from 1999 until her death in 2012. She is the only person to have been granted lifetime Regent status. Robert Powell passed away the same year the program was founded, but Jeanette Powell remained passionately involved until her passing in 2012.

The Powells have provided our students with unprecedented opportunities to fulfill their individual goals and to work collectively toward realizing the Powell’s vision for the Program which, in Jeannette’s memorable words, is to “find and follow your passions.”

Callison Hall

Since January 2012, the Powell Scholars have had their own space on campus. Callison Hall was completely remodeled thanks to the generosity of Mrs. Powell. She was so dedicated to the program that she not only personally oversaw the remodeling of Callison, but also utilized her expertise in interior design to furnish and decorate the building, including donating artwork.

Callison Hall is a space dedicated to academic, creative, and leadership activities for Powell Scholars and their guests. Callison Hall also houses the office of the program director, Dr. Courtney Lehmann.

Carson Hall Dedication