Leonard Powell was born May 19, 1834 in Kentucky, and with his family moved to Oregon in 1847. After attending Ohio Wesleyan University, he was hired as a teacher by the Willamette Board of Trustees on November 20, 1861. Powell taught courses in mathematics and natural science at the university for a period of 14 years. He served as acting president after the resignation of Thomas Gatch. Powell’s temperament was somewhat more lenient than some others who shared the office of the president as evidenced by an excerpt from a student diary: “Came near being expelled from school for [igniting] some powder which was lying on the floor in Powell’s room, but soon got him into good humor.” Powell died in August of 1887.