The South Carolina State University community is mourning Colin Powell, and reflecting on a man that once gave graduates sound advice during a commencement. Powell was also an honorary inductee of SC State’s Reserve Officer Training Corps. Get the full story from T&D staff below.

Retired Gen. Colin Powell smiles as he looks out at the crowd in Oliver C. Dawson Stadium during South Carolina State University’s spring commencement exercises in May 2011. (Credit: Christopher Huff/T&D FILES)

Retired Gen. Colin Powell visited Orangeburg in May 2011 to encourage South Carolina State University’s graduates to strive for success and help make the U.S. a better place.

The former U.S. Secretary of State, who died Monday, told graduates they have a responsibility to help solve America’s problems.

“Don’t look for superman to fix it, don’t look for the government to fix it,” he said. “The solution is right here in this field. All of us have an obligation to fix it.”

Children need responsible, loving adults in their lives, but often parents aren’t meeting that need. If they don’t have loving adults to follow, they will follow non-caring adults who set poor examples, he said.

America needs more mentoring programs, more Boys and Girls clubs, more church clubs – anything that provides responsible, caring adults, he said.

He urged the graduates to help students reach their full potential.

“Make it a part of your life. Make it a part of your existence,” Powell said. “Don’t worry about trying to save the world. Save a kid. Save two kids. That’s what we have to do, one at a time.”

During his visit, Powell was inducted into the South Carolina State University Reserve Officers Training Corps Hall of Fame.

Powell joined the ROTC at the City College of New York, where he said he learned a lesson about success.

Success is about doing your best for your society, your organization, he said.

“I would say to young people everywhere. … What have you contributed to your society, your organization? Have you done your best every day? If you do that, other forms of success will arrive,” Powell said.