President Mark D. Gearan will join other national public service experts and fellow Harvard College alums for a discussion on public interest careers on ‘Saturday, Jan. 25. The program, hosted by Harvard College, provides an opportunity for students to engage with leaders from the public interest field.
The daylong program will tackle some of the most significant problems facing the world today such as climate change, access to health care and higher education, urban revitalization, and poverty. Panelists include alums who have excelled in public service careers through entrepreneurial, research, government and nonprofit positions.
Gearan, who earned his B.A. in government cum laude at Harvard, will moderate the discussion, “Big Public Service Ideas.”
Panelists will include: Bill Drayton, CEO and founder of Ashoka Innovators for the Public, the largest network of social entrepreneurs worldwide, with nearly 3,000 Ashoka Fellows in 70 countries;
Michelle Holmes, associate professor in the department of epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health;
Jukay Hsu, founder of Coalition for Queens, a tax-exempt nonprofit which works to increase economic opportunity and transform the Queens community into a leading hub for innovation and entrepreneurship by building the Queens Tech community;
Tracy Palandijan, CEO and co-founder Social Finance, Inc., a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to mobilizing investment capital to drive social progress;
Henry Seton, chair of humanities and teacher, Community Charter School of Cambridge;
Kavita Shukla, inventor and founder/CEO of Fenugreen, a pioneer in the movement towards sustainable, active, natural packaging. Her product is being used in 35 countries; and
Heidi Sieck, COO of Democracy.com, who recently helped write legislation in San Francisco requiring that every board and commission seat or other public appointed office be posted on a website.
Gearan has served as President of Hobart and William Smith Colleges since 1999. Prior to HWS, 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.
Under his leadership, Hobart and William Smith have been named with distinction to the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the highest federal acknowledgement a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.
An expert on the intersection of higher education and civic engagement, Gearan has held numerous leadership roles in public service. As the current 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 has fostered a global culture of service. As the past chair of the board of directors of National Campus Compact and the Corporation for National and Community Service, he has similarly supported civic engagement activities in the United States.
He holds a law degree from Georgetown University.