The New York State Senate unanimously confirmed the appointment of Hobart and William Smith College President Mark D. Gearan as chair of the New York State Gaming Commission, a volunteer assignment that provides oversight of the state’s newly created agency for the lottery, horse racing and casinos. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his nomination of Gearan during the State of the State address in January.
“I am pleased to welcome Mark Gearan, a proven leader with years of management experience in the public and private sectors, to serve as Chair of the Gaming Commission,” Cuomo said. “Casino gaming holds the potential to create thousands of new jobs in Upstate New York, while providing millions of dollars to schools and local governments statewide. Mark’s decades of public service and great work leading Hobart and William Smith Colleges will be of tremendous value in this new role, and I thank him for taking the time to serve on the Gaming Commission.”
“I am honored to take on this important role that will help shepherd much-needed economic development throughout New York State,” said Gearan, who will serve for a five-year term expiring Jan. 31, 2019. “I thank Governor Cuomo for his consideration of this appointment, as well as the Senate for its prompt confirmation. My colleagues and I have a great deal of work to do and I am eager to get started.”
Appointed president of Hobart and William Smith in 1999, Gearan has led the Colleges during a period of unprecedented growth and development. One of our nation’s leading experts on the intersection of higher education and civic engagement, 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 the co-chair of the National Advisory Board on Public Service at Harvard College, is a board member of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities, and a former Board member of The Partnership for Public Service and the Corporation for National and Community Service.
With extensive credentials in public policy, 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. Outside of the education and service arenas, Gearan is an appointee of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Commission on Political Reform. The national commission focuses on policy recommendations on electoral system reform, congressional reform and encouragement of greater public service. He 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. In the upstate region, Gearan serves on the advisory councils of the Happiness House Foundation, Ontario ARC and the Geneva Community Center, and is a founding member of Geneva 2020, a collective impact initiative designed to assist the Geneva City School District on key initiatives including increasing the graduation rate and improving career and college readiness.
With the Senate’s confirmation of Gearan now complete, the Gaming Commission will hold its next meeting on March 12 to undertake several important items, including the appointment of members for the Gaming Facility Location Board and the adoption of equine drug rules to bring uniformity to the horse racing industry.
The New York State Gaming Commission’s regulatory role includes oversight of all horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering, class III Indian gaming, video lottery terminal facilities at race tracks, the state lottery, charitable gaming and upcoming commercial gaming.
Gearan joins members John A. Crotty, a founding member of Workforce Housing Advisors; John J. Poklemba, general counsel to American Transit Insurance Company; Barry Sample, retired deputy director of state operations for Governor Cuomo; and Todd R. Snyder, executive vice chair of North American Global Financial Advisory and co-head of the debt and restructuring group at Rothschild, Inc.; to round out the Governor’s five appointments to the Commission.