In a 1943 issue of an ACE newsletter, Andrew W. Hopkins of Wisconsin wrote: "As Powell served as chairman of the Illinois meeting, perhaps we should give him the credit of being the first chief executive of our organization. ..."
Powell was responsible for getting the six founding fathers of the American Association of Agricultural College Editors (AAACE) together for their first meeting on July 10, 1913, but he was not the first president as originally thought. He was appointed executive secretary. His primary responsibility was the "matter of arranging a program for the following year." The second AAACE meeting was held at the University of Kentucky.
Dr. Powell was born at Strawberry Point in Fayette County, Iowa, December 14, 1868. He received a Ph.B. degree from Grinnell College (Iowa) in 1892, and master's and doctorate degrees in history from the University of Bonn, Germany, in 1899.
Following graduation from Grinnell, he taught history at Pacific University, Forest Grove, Oregon, for three years. He later served as acting principal of Grinnell Academy (1899-1908), and taught history and civics at New Trier Township High School, Kenilworth, Illinois, from its opening in 1901 until 1908. From 1908 to 1911, he was secretary to Edmund James, president of the University of Illinois, at an annual salary of $1,600. He then became publications editor for the College of Agriculture, and in 1914, was made director of the information office.
He moved to Stuttgart, Arkansas, in 1918 to manage a rice ranch. What happened to him after 1918 is not known. However, a letter found in the ACE archives shows that Powell died December 28, 1945. The letter was from his wife, Marian B. Powell, to Andrew Hopkins. It was written from Los Angeles, California in 1951.