Scholarship Named to Honor Gearans – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Scholarship Named to Honor Gearans

HWS students, graduates, parents, GSA Board Members and other community members gathered to celebrate the 42nd year of Geneva Scholarship Associates.

“What began in 1968 with a small group of community members has provided assistance to nearly 200 students to date,” said President Mark D. Gearan.  “As colleges and universities struggle with the daunting task of balancing budgets, providing scholarship and financial aid to deserving students from diminished endowments, we recognize that the partnership between the Geneva Community and the Colleges is a remarkable and valuable one.   We are truly grateful to all of you who continue to make the education of Geneva’s talented youth a charitable priority each year.”

After that introduction, Rev. Jim Gerling L.H.D.’09 surprised Gearan and his wife, Mary Herlihy Gearan, by announcing a newly endowed GSA scholarship — the Mark and Mary Herlihy Gearan Leadership through Service Endowed Scholarship. 

“Mark and Mary’s service leadership is powerful because it is a beacon to others toward a meaningful life,” said Gerling, who, along with Stuart Piltch ’82, Nozomi Williams and Bob Schick, President of Lyons National Bank, helped endow the scholarship.

“Mark and Mary changed our sense of helping others,” said Williams.  “Whenever people need something, they’re there.  No matter how tired they are, they’re always smiling and will always help if you knock on their door.”

“This is a huge surprise,” said Mary Herlihy Gearan. “We are deeply, deeply grateful.”

“Education is so important because of its power to transform, and I can’t think of anything I could prize more,” said Mark Gearan.

By supporting GSA, alumni, alumnae, parents, friends and businesses help make it possible for Geneva’s best to build a future by attending the Colleges.  GSA scholarships are awarded to financially deserving and academically-minded incoming first year students from the greater Geneva area.  The students will receive the GSA award each year for the four years they attend Hobart and William Smith.  Over the past 40 years generous businesses and individuals have built GSA’s endowment to more than $1 million providing approximately $50,000 in annual scholarship support.


Jim Vedora ’95, President of the GSA Board of Directors and a GSA scholar himself, thanked First Niagara Bank for their corporate sponsorship of the event and recognized current GSA scholars, including Jalisa Whitley ’11, Ryan Kincaid ’11, Mackenzie Starr-Bonacci’11, Maeve Keeton ’12, Jordann Myers ’12, Melissa Morley ’12, Steven Dougherty ’13, Shaynon Gramling ’13, Kevin Fitzgerald ’13, Emma Meiggs ’13 and Abigail Wandell ’13.

Piltch ’82, who generously endowed the Robert R. Freeman and June W. Kuryla GSA Scholarship, introduced the new Freeman and Kuryla recipients, Marshall Keeton ’14 and Kyle Bunce ’14.

Keaton will graduate from Geneva High School as a Hobart and William Smith Presidential Service Scholar.  He has been an active participant of the swim team, band, film and theatre club. He is a dedicated cyclist and placed 1st in his division for the Mussleman Triathlon in 2008. He also achieved the honor of Eagle Scout in 2007. Keaton is employed at the Geneva Historical Society, Seneca Yacht Club, and Finger Lakes Ramble staff.  His career goal is to become an orthopedic surgeon.

Bunce will graduate from Geneva High School in the top third of his class and will earn a New York State Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation.  Bunce earned his Eagle Scout award with the Boy Scouts of America Troop 4 in Geneva.  He has an exemplary record of school citizenship and a strong work ethic, demonstrated in both football and Taekwondo.

Don Damick, a long time Kiwanis Club member and past Kiwanis president, awarded the Jack Houston GSA Scholarship, which was endowed by the Kiwanis Club, to Lauren Foe ’14, who will graduate from DeSales High School as a Hobart and William Smith Finger Lakes Scholar. She was selected to participate in the 21st Century Internship Program through DeSales, is a varsity cheerleading captain, a member of the ecology club, nominee for Girls State and avid volunteer for the Geneva Lunch program and Relay for Life.

This year’s GSA recipients — Allauna Overstreet ’14 and Alex Love ’14 — were also recognized at the reception.

Overstreet will graduate from Geneva High School as the senior class vice president and member of the varsity singers. She is an active participant for the volleyball, track and basketball teams. She received the MVP award in volleyball her junior year, has volunteered for the Boys and Girls Club, Musselman clean-up and is currently employed at the Ramada Inn.

A life-long resident of Geneva, Love graduated from the Salisbury School this May. He spent three years at Geneva High School where he earned All-County honors in both hockey and lacrosse. He was named Captain in both hockey and golf and participated in the New York State Empire State games in lacrosse for the Western Region.