Mark D. Gearan, president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, will attend the ServiceNation Summit as a member of the Leadership Council that organized the event. The Summit, which takes place on Sept. 11 and 12 in New York City, will open with the “ServiceNation Presidential Candidates Forum” featuring Senators John McCain and Barack Obama in back-to-back primetime appearances.
Gearan has been a member of the organization’s Leadership Council, comprised of American leaders and thinkers including Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York, Caroline Kennedy, vice chair of New York City Fund For Public Schools, and Martin Luther King III, chair of Realizing the Dream, and elected officials and prominent college and university presidents including the president of University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown and Tufts, who are dedicated to promoting civic engagement and community service as a way of life.
On campus, Gearan, the former director of the Peace Corps, has initiated or supported a number of programs to encourage students’ active involvement in the communities of which they are a part. This includes adding a service component to Orientation each year, more “Day of Service” events in the Geneva Community, and the development of service placements as components of study abroad programs.
The ServiceNation event is intended to celebrate the power and potential of citizen service, and lay out a policy blueprint for addressing America’s greatest social challenges through expanded opportunities for volunteer and national service. It is anticipated that 500 leaders from higher education, non-profits, business and politics will participate in the Summit.
The Forum will be co-moderated by TIME Managing Editor Richard Stengel and PBS NewsHour Senior Correspondent and Political Editor Judy Woodruff, who received an honorary degree from Hobart and William Smith in 2007. It will provide both candidates with a national stage on which to discuss their views on service and civic engagement in post-9/11 America and will take place before a live audience of September 11 family members, military veterans, thought leaders, and Columbia University students. New York Governor David Paterson will welcome the audience before the start of the event.