Attorney Don Powell is a lifelong Arizonan, born in Phoenix and raised in Casa Grande, and a Double Wildcat (BS '69, JD '72). Sue (BS '71) came to Arizona as an undergraduate at the University of Arizona.
Both Don and Sue are devoted UA alumni, and exemplify the spirit of "giving back" to their alma mater and helping others at every turn.
Don's path as an undergraduate and law student was assured through support from scholarships. His family operated a small retail business and a family farm, and their finances for college were limited. Don was fortunate to receive a scholarship to attend the UA as an undergraduate in 1965.
Law school was not a consideration at first, but:
"I worked 3 summers loading cantaloupe crates into railroad cars and semi-trucks in Blythe, California; I realized there must be a better way to earn a living than agricultural labor."
A scholarship and a military deferment allowed Don to attend law school at the UA.
Don remembers the challenges of his first year of law school, particularly the pressures of one's entire grade resting on a single test at semester's end and the high percentage (about 25%) of 1Ls who were failed.
Compared to undergrad, law school required an enormous commitment to studying. However, Don says,
"The educational aspects of law school were so fulfilling; you were learning information to use for the rest of your professional life. The other students were all intelligent and focused."
Don especially enjoyed constitutional law, as the legal ramifications of the ongoing Vietnam War and the many social issues related to the war were so substantial.
Today, Don is a partner with Carmichael & Powell in Phoenix.
"I absolutely love the practice of law. I was lucky to have immediately found a specialty in bankruptcy law, which has allowed me to concentrate fully in one area of law and represent small businesses and individuals in reorganizational and liquidation cases. It is extremely satisfying to assist in creating a path for entities to move forward free from the despair associated with financial burdens."
Family has always been Don's top priority.
"I am blessed to have a beautiful wife of 49 years with an unmatched zest for life, three remarkable and independent children, and six adorable and rambunctious grandkids."
Raised in a family that believed in and encouraged volunteerism, Don remembers being exposed during law school to the need for pro bono services by attorneys. Over the years, he has accepted pro bono cases from the Volunteer Lawyers Program (VLP) of Community Legal Services, and serves on the VLP advisory committee and regularly conducts individual interviews for the VLP's monthly financial distress clinic.
Don has also been a volunteer baseball and softball coach for 18 years, Little League president, president of the Maricopa County Bar Foundation, president of the Phoenix Chapter of UA Alumni Association, a UA National Leadership Council member, a Wildcat Mentor Society mentor, a UA Alumni Association governing board member, a UA Foundation board of trustees member, and a State Bar of Arizona Senior Lawyers Division executive council member. Don also proudly serves as president-elect of the Law College Association, a 501(c)3 that supports the activities of the College of Law.
Sue was born in Glendale, California, and raised in Southern California. She wanted to attend college out of state, and immediately loved the UA when she visited, beginning as an undergraduate in 1969.
Upon graduation, Sue became a juvenile probation officer for Pima County. She was exposed to law early in life, as her father was city attorney for Newport Beach, California, and was later appointed as an Orange County Superior Court judge (and subsequently presiding judge).
Sue has also made volunteering an important dimension of her life. She was a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for over 10 years helping children in foster care programs and court proceedings.
Sue was president of an inner-city family center, president of a National Charity League chapter, and a member of the Friends of the Arizona Cancer Society, which supports the Arizona Cancer Center. She serves on the board of directors of WINGS, which supports the Phoenix Children's Hospital, and has volunteered weekly at the Arizona Cancer Center.
At all times family has, as with Don, been a primary focus for Sue, and she's been involved in school associations and activities, educational support, and youth sports.
The UA is special to the Powells. It's where they first met and where they formed many lifelong friendships.
They continue to enjoy the UA's rich traditions, to marvel at the beauty of the campus and the growth in prestige of the UA, and to celebrate Tucson's rich cultural influences and natural surroundings. They appreciate and encourage our strong culture of alumni support and the community support and affection demonstrated by the citizens of Tucson -- "even with the struggles of our football team." They agree,
"We could not have asked for a better experience, both in our time on campus and present."
And regarding the law school, Don continues,
"I look at Arizona Law today and am highly impressed with the myriad developments occurring in recent years, including sister programs in China and Vietnam, the undergrad BA in Law program, and the Masters of Law courses. It is my understanding women students comprise over 50% of our incoming classes compared to less than 10% in 1969; what a spectacular and positive change."
Don and Sue are devoted to helping international students attend the UA and the law school:
"The presence of international students in UA classrooms not only benefits those students but also [domestic] students, opening the UA to the many wonders of the world."
The Powells are grateful for having had many opportunities to travel, meet with young people in many countries, and form friendships with some of our current international students. They've established a scholarship in support of international law students and the global perspectives they bring to the College of Law.
Don encourages all graduates of University of Arizona Law to support the college to uphold its reputation for superior leadership and exceptional faculty.
Any assistance in funding of scholarships is vital in making law school obtainable; the same was vitally fundamental in allowing me to attend the UA and University of Arizona Law."