Walter Powers, Professor, Department Chair and EWU Benefactor, Dies at 97

Longtime faculty member, department chair and EWU benefactor Walter ‘Walt’ Powers died on Sept. 19.

For nearly 40 years, Powers, who retired from EWU in 1993, served as a professor and department chair in Psychology and Applied Psychology. Over the course of his long career he became widely recognized as a pioneer in the development of elementary school counseling in the U.S. and internationally.

Powers and his wife, Myrtle, a longtime teacher for the Cheney School District, also made generous gifts to the university that created a substantial legacy. The beautiful library reading room in Hargreaves Hall is now named the Walter and Myrtle Powers Reading Room in honor of the couple. The naming was particularly fitting as Walt, when still a junior faculty member, spent many hours in the library preparing his lectures.

The Powers Reading Room also showcases a collection of original signed lithographs by Norman Rockwell that were donated by the couple, who were avid collectors of his works.

Walt and Myrtle Powers were generous supporters of Eastern.

Among their many other meaningful contributions to EWU, the Powers also created The Walt Powers Scholarship Fund to benefit graduate students working toward advanced degrees in counseling.

Over the years, Powers’ expertise as an instructor and researcher translated into contributions that spanned continents, chief among them a system of elementary school-based counseling that improved the lives of countless children across the world. Powers, for example, worked with the Ministry of Education in Korea to establish and train that nation’s first group of school counselors, something he repeated in other communities closer to home.

In addition, Powers, who had served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, was appointed to serve on the Veterans Educational and Vocational Rehabilitation Committee in Washington, D.C.

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