President Mark D. Gearan was among the guests at the White House attending the presentation of the Presidential Citizens Medal. The Medal is bestowed by President Barack Obama and is the second highest civilian award in the United States, second only to the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Established on Nov. 13, 1969, it recognizes individuals “who [have] performed exemplary deeds or services for his or her country or fellow citizens.”
Among the 2013 recipients was Harris Wofford, who spoke at HWS in 2001 when the Colleges’ America Reads program was featured as a “best practice” by America’s Promise, on whose board Wofford served.
Wofford was a U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania from 1991 to 1995, and from then to 2001 was the chief executive officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service. From 1970 to 1978 he served as the fifth president of Bryn Mawr College. He is a noted advocate of national service and volunteering. He began his public service career as counsel to the Rev.Theodore Hesburgh on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and was an early supporter of the Civil Rights movement in the South in the late 1950s. He became a volunteer adviser and friend of Martin Luther King Jr. In 1961, Kennedy appointed him as special assistant to the President for civil rights. He was instrumental in the formation of the Peace Corps and served as the Peace Corps’ special representative to Africa and director of operations in Ethiopia. On his return to Washington in 1964, he was appointed associate director of the Peace Corps. In 1966, he became the founding president of the State University of New York’s College at Old Westbury.
Among the other recipients were Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, Adam Burke, Mary Jo Copeland, Michael Dorman, Maria Gomez, Pamela Green Jackson, Janice Jackson, Patience Lehrman, Jeanne Manford, Billy Mills, Terry Shima and the six women who died in Newtown, Conn., – Rachel Davino, Dawn Hochsprung, Anne Marie Murphy, Lauren Rousseau, Mary Sherlach and Victoria Soto.