New CRC dean, Torence Powell, shares his personal connection in his leading role

A once “knucklehead kid” who first arrived at Cosumnes River College intimidated, Torence Powell found his way back to the college that pushed him towards the right path.

Even with a supportive family to go home to each day, Powell had managed to get into trouble as a kid.

“In the 90s, it was pretty bad,” Powell said. “There was a lot of gang violence. I lost three friends to gang violence growing up before I was 18, murdered behind ridiculous stuff.  I got in a fight my first week at Valley High, which is why I had to transfer [schools].”

Now, in slacks and a striped tie,  Powell walks in the VPA office and through the door with a plaque on the right labeled “Dean’s Office.”

Relaxing in his chair, though with his energetic personality clearly evident, Powell continues to describe his journey.

For the new Communication, Visual and Performing Arts dean, now 32 and a graduate of Cailifornia State University, Los Angeles, CRC was an important aid in his path.

“To be encouraged and nurtured by the faculty here was huge and that was one of the catalyst for me coming back here,” Powell said.

A few of the professors that Powell met during his years as a student are now his colleagues.  In particular, photography Professor Jim West seemed to have grasped a connection with him during that time.

“He is one of those kind of guys that will do amazing things in his life,” West said.

And with his new position, Powell will be supporting West and the rest of the faculty under the CVPA department.

“This is very personal to me,” Powell said, making it clear that he understands how much of an entry point community colleges are for many people.

As dean, Powell’s first priority is to continue to support and even enhance some of the campus and community-based projects that communication students engage in.

Greenforce program administrator Lynn Hurtado worked beside Powell, who was previously the director, and shared that he was very dedicated to his job and encouraging.

“He also counseled me on a personal level and has encouraged me to better myself,” Hurtado said.

Powell realizes a large portion of time is dedicated to being a dean, and making accommodations for his other interests is just another transition.

This year, he is taking a step back from coaching Little League and traveling. Instead, he looks forward to traveling locally with his family and fraternity brothers.

Powell is also taking time to get back into running, currently training with his buddies for the California International in Sacramento. He has yet decided whether to tackle the full marathon, with this being his first.

Powell follows the “work hard, play hard” method,  which is just another piece of motivation he speaks about in a passionate tone.

With all his positive outlooks, in life and at work, Powell knows he will have to face an even harder challenge—more program cuts.

“Not knowing what we have to work with in terms of money is going to be a challenge,” Powell said.