Hobart and William Smith Colleges President Mark D. Gearan was interviewed today, Jan. 19, on “Morning Edition with Bob Oakes” on WBUR, Boston’s NPR affiliate station. Gearan, who served as the director of the Peace Corps from 1995 until he came to the Colleges in 1999, spoke about Sargent Shriver, the Kennedy family member and founder of the Peace Corps. Shriver died Tuesday.
When asked what he thought drove Shriver’s “energy and commitment to public service,” he explained, “He saw it as an opportunity for all of us to be better people through service.”
While serving as Director of the Peace Corps, President Gearan opened programs in South Africa, Jordan, Mozambique and Bangladesh and returned volunteers to Haiti after a five-year absence. He also created the successful Crisis Corps, which sends volunteers to crisis areas to help during emergencies. At the Colleges, he has emphasized that service learning and study abroad are key to developing global citizenship and has created numerous opportunities for students.
This year, six students are entering the Peace Corps. The Hobart and William Smith Colleges ranked No. 17 in the category of “Small Colleges and Universities” on the Peace Corps’ annual rankings of Peace Corps volunteer-producing schools, with 17 alumni and alumnae currently serving. Since the Peace Corps was founded in 1961, 183 HWS graduates have joined the Peace Corps.
In noting the Colleges are among the top 20 on the Peace Corps’ list, Oakes noted, “It appears as the school’s president you’re emphasizing that global view, that responsibility to serve. To what extent do you trace that emphasis back to Sargent Shriver and your time at the Peace Corps?”
Gearan replied, “Oh, I think very significantly. From my point of view, having grown up Irish Catholic in Massachusetts, the chance for me to lead the Peace Corps was an unparalleled honor, but really the opportunity for me to get to know Sarge Shriver, to benefit from his counsel, to learn from his style and approach, was a lasting gift. It certainly informed my leadership of the agency at the time, but continues in my professional life since then.”
The full interview on WBUR can be heard online.
Shriver Was ‘Unrelenting’ In Defense Of Service
Bob Oakes January 19, 2011
BOSTON – Sargent Shriver – who died Tuesday at the age of 95 – lived a life of service. In a statement, his family called him a man of “giant love, energy, and enthusiasm.”
Shriver was married to the late Eunice Kennedy, who died in 2009.
His biggest legacy is the Peace Corps. John F. Kennedy appointed him its founding director in 1961.
Since then, the Peace Corps has sent 200,000 skilled volunteers to 139 countries across the world.
“He saw it as an opportunity for all of us to be better people through service,” said Mark Gearan, who served as director of the Peace Corps from 1995 to 1999.
Gearan is now president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York. He joined Morning Edition Wednesday to talk about Sargent Shriver.
In the photo above, Gearan is sworn in as the Director of the Peace Corps flanked by President Bill Clinton and Sargent Shriver.