Dr. Julius Cherry Powell had come to Eastern from Frankfort with Dr. Martin. He had served in a variety of positions at the university and was the Vice-President for Administration at the time of Dr. Martin's retirement. Dr. Powell often reminisced about his work with Martin. "Bob told me, come with me to Eastern and by the time the snow flies we will have it organized and running smoothly and we'll be able to relax." Powell would then add, "And, for 16 years, the snow never flew."
If Martin was the master builder, Dr. Powell was the polisher. His administration was one of consolidation of gains made during the preceding decades and one in which Eastern matured as a university. Like an adolescent coming out of a growth spurt, the Eastern of which President Powell took the helm was healthy, but with rough edges. Pressure points, both internal and external, had to be dealt with in a quiet, effective manner if Eastern was to continue on its progressive course and maintain and build on its stature as a comprehensive regional university.
Like his predecessor, J.C. Powell was a builder. But he was not a brick and mortar builder. He was an engineer and constructor of organization and system. He was also the first of two consecutive presidents committed to making sure that Eastern's quality kept pace with its quantity. J.C. Powell's monuments at Eastern are its student code, its current organizational structure, its systematic approaches to administrative and academic computing, and its framework for strategic planning and budgeting, including the first articulation of institutional goals aimed at mission achievement.
The opening of the Carl D. Perkins Building in 1979 provided a meeting space for conferences. In that same year, the Hummel Planetarium opened. The Hummel Planetarium signaled the school's growing commitment to public service.