Chris Powers was always asking about what more he could do, even after 50 years of devoted service to William & Mary and his community. That’s just the kind of man Powers was, always thinking of others, willing to lead the way and putting in the work to get things done. Though he passed away suddenly two years ago, he is remembered for his caring and energetic help to all.
“In terms of sincerity and devotion through contributions of time, counsel and advocacy, Chris would stop at nothing, big or small, in service to our community,” says Pamela S.B. Wise ’97, who served on William & Mary’s Annual Giving Board with Powers.
Powers was a devoted member of the William & Mary community from the moment he set foot on campus as a student in 1969. A loyal fan of W&M Athletics since his days on the basketball team, he attended as many Tribe games as he could around the country, making personal connections with everyone he met and recruiting volunteers. He served on the Alumni Association Board, Annual Giving Board, the D.C. Regional Campaign Committee and the Chicago Alumni Chapter Board, and he especially enjoyed his work gathering his classmates together as part of the Reunion Gift Committee and as a class ambassador.
“From fundraising for the class gift to just keeping in contact with a wide swath of our class, Chris was always the glue that held us together,” says Jeff Trammel ’73, former rector of William & Mary, who received the Alumni Medallion in 2017.
Powers spent most of his career as a principal at the accounting and consulting firm Miller Cooper & Co., Ltd., where he was an instrumental part of building the firm’s nonprofit practice, advising educational, religious and service organizations and more. He represented Miller Cooper with distinction on several committees for the Illinois CPA Society, as a member of several boards and as a presenter at professional continuing education seminars.
After retirement, he became a volunteer jail chaplain at the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center of Cook County and volunteered for the Chicago-based Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation. In both roles, he guided young men during and after incarceration.
“Chris advocated strongly for the young people and built programs that would enhance their ability to make good choices. He supported youth who were homeless after incarceration and was an overall friend to young men who found themselves very much alone,” says Executive Director Fr. David Kelly.
Building close, personal one-on-one connections was his passion.
“His leadership was exceptional in that it inspired everyone around him to live a better life, and to devote themselves to the causes that were important to them,” says Wise. “He never just showed up; he perpetually improved the lives of others.”