Herlihy-Gearan Honored – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Herlihy-Gearan Honored

Last week, the Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes’ 16th annual Sharing the Light awards were presented. Among the recipients this year was Mary Herlihy-Gearan, wife of Colleges’ President Mark D. Gearan.

An article in the Finger Lakes Times about the award presentation quotes Herlihy-Gearan, “I was raised in a home where I saw Catholic charity every day.”

The full article appears below.


Finger Lakes Times
“Sharing the Light award recipients express humility”

Sean McCracken • June 9, 2010

GENEVA – Humbleness and parents were the buzz words of the night Tuesday at Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes’ 16th annual Sharing the Light awards at Club 86.

Seven people were honored for their charitable contributions to their communities, including three siblings from Waterloo.

The Sharing the Light awards honor citizens in Ontario, Seneca, Yates and Cayuga counties. Bunny Bell, Mary Herlihy-Gearan, Dr. Jane McCaffrey, John Nicandri and the Sessler family – Jane Shaffer, Craig Sessler and LaVerne Sessler Jr. – were this year’s recipients.

Each of the award winners noted how humbled they felt to receive it.

“I was raised in a home where I saw Catholic charity every day,” said Herlihy-Gearan, wife of Hobart and William Smith Colleges President Mark Gearan and recent recipient of the Geneva Area Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year Award, referencing her parents.

The Sesslers – whose father, LaVerne Sessler, was a previous award recipient – are Waterloo natives and all work in the family business, Sessler Wrecking Inc. They were introduced by their uncle Robert Sessler.

“Their father made up a saying, ‘Make good things happen,'” he said. “Whenever they can, they do make good things happen.”

Shaffer said she and her siblings were just carrying on where their parents left off.

“Our parents left a legacy that we’re proud to pass on,” Shaffer said.

Bell was honored for her work in organizations like the Office of Aging and the Geneva General Hospital Auxiliary. She said her community involvement began when she suddenly found herself with more time on her hands after her children grew up and she was no longer taking them to various sporting events.

“I thought, ‘I won’t know what to do with myself,'” Bell said. “I know the word ‘humble’ is overused, but it’s humbling to be honored.”

McCaffrey, a pediatrician and 2006 ATHENA award winner, thanked her patients
“They’re always so generous in their thoughts and good wishes,” she said.

Nicandri, the senior vice president of loan origination at Seneca Falls Savings Bank, said one of his parents – his father – was a large reason why he’s given back to his community.

“He was a big influence on my life,” Nicandri said. “He worked three jobs, and one of them was as an Auburn [police officer]. …He kept me on the straight and narrow.”

The event was emceed by Rev. W. James Gerling, a former Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes board member and the pastor at the Geneva Presbyterian church.

For more information on Catholic Charities, visit www.catholiccharitiesfl.org.