The Colleges hosted a standing-room only crowd for a lecture on genetic counseling by Yale research scientist and Geneva High School graduate Ellen T. Matloff, as a distinguished guest lecturer of the Max and Marian Farash Community Lecture series on Oct. 24. Matloff was introduced by Courtney Franceschi ’16, also a GHS alum. Colleges President Mark D. Gearan reflected on the promise and success of these remarkable women in a guest essay which appeared in the Democrat and Chronicle’s online edition.
“The crowd Thursday night celebrated the great promise of local students like Courtney Franceschi, the success of residents like Ellen Matloff who are making a remarkable difference, and the enduring legacy of Max and Marian Farash whose generosity continues to transform lives,” wrote Gearan.
Gearan is chair of the Talloires Network Steering Committee, an international association of more than 200 institutions on six continents committed to strengthening the civic roles and social responsibilities of higher education. He is also the co-chair of the National Advisory Board on Public Service at Harvard College and serves on the Presidential Advisory Group for the NCAA. He is a Board member of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities and a former Board member of The Partnership for Public Service. Gearan is also past chair of the Board of Directors of National Campus Compact, the Corporation for National and Community Service, and the Board of Directors of the Annapolis Group.
He served as Director of the Peace Corps and was Assistant to the President, Director of Communications and Deputy Chief of Staff in the White House. Gearan is a former member of the White House Council for Community Solutions, a group of cross-sector leaders appointed by President Barack Obama to recommend collaborative solutions to increase civic engagement. Locally, he serves on the advisory councils of the Happiness House Foundation, Ontario ARC and the Geneva Community Center.
The photo above features Courtney Franceschi ’16 and Ellen T. Matloff.
His full article follows.
Democrat and Chronicle
Web Essay: Past, present, future success stories connect
Mark D. Gearan • Guest Essayist• October 30, 2013
When Courtney Franceschi walked into the admissions office at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in the spring of 2012, she had no idea that two people she had never met were about to change her life. Franceschi describes the moment as surreal, something that she still hasn’t fully processed.
On that day, the HWS assistant director of admissions handed Franceschi a folder that detailed a scholarship that would pay for all four years of college at HWS including tuition, room, board, living expenses and study abroad. As a first generation college student from Geneva, Ontario County, Franceschi had been selected to be a member of the inaugural Farash First in Family Scholarship program, made possible through the generosity of the Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation, based in Rochester.
Today, Franceschi is a sophomore in the pre-med program at HWS with plans to major in biology and minor in sociology. She’s a teaching fellow in the chemistry department and manager of a theme residence house, “Random Acts of Kindness,” that promotes community service projects locally, nationally and internationally. She’s involved in the Geneva 2020 initiative, a collective impact project to advance the local school district. And last summer, she had an internship at a school in Haiti, where she saw firsthand how organizations like Doctors Without Borders, which she would like to one day join, are making a difference. She recently told me that the Farash Scholarship “opened my world in ways that can’t be measured. No one can truly realize the actual effect a gift like this can have on a life. It has given me opportunity.”
On Oct. 24, Franceschi introduced Yale research scientist Ellen T. Matloff at a public lecture sponsored by the Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation. Like Franceschi, Matloff is a graduate of Geneva High School. She delivered a talk titled “The Angelina Jolie Effect: Genetic Testing in 2013.” Matloff joined Yale in 1995 to start the Genetic Counseling Program, which is now one of the largest in the country. She provides counseling to individuals and families who are considering undergoing genetic testing in relation to hereditary breast, ovarian and colon cancer syndromes, as well as rare cancers. As a highly publicized example, Angelina Jolie’s proactive, preventative double mastectomy was discussed.
The crowd Thursday night celebrated the great promise of local students like Courtney Franceschi, the success of residents like Ellen Matloff who are making a remarkable difference, and the enduring legacy of Max and Marian Farash whose generosity continues to transform lives.
Mark D. Gearan is president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges.