Gearan Reviews Big Citizenship – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Gearan Reviews Big Citizenship

An article by Hobart and William Smith Colleges President Mark D. Gearan was published in the spring 2011 issue of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas.  In his article, “Corps Values,” Gearan reviews Alan Khazei’s book on social entrepreneurship called Big Citizenship.

“An unstated theme in Big Citizenship is that good intentions aren’t enough. Social entrepreneurs need to be willing to undertake the hard, messy work of politics,” Gearan writes. “Even as political victories can bolster the service movement, the movement can in turn influence our politics, in a virtuous cycle that can inculcate the spirit of civic engagement in the American public.”

The book’s author, Alan Khazei, is known in the service movement for his leadership in co-creating City Year, the innovative service program for young people that became the model for Bill Clinton’s AmeriCorps Program.

In addition, Gearan details Khazei’s role in many of the social entrepreneurship movement’s more historical moments and Khazei’s reflections on them as written in the book.

Gearan indicates there are questions Khazei could have answered in the book, providing “greater guidance as to how to achieve its objectives,” but calls the book’s shortcomings “minor” and says it is a “vital entry in the service movement literature.”

“More than just a recounting of past episodes, Khazei clearly intended his readers to learn from the history of social entrepreneurship,” Gearan writes. “The book even includes a useful appendix that has a timeline of the Save AmeriCorps campaign, which successfully reversed a proposed 80 percent funding cut in AmeriCorps, and the strategic decisions and tactical steps supporters made to ensure adequate funding.”

Currently chair of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for National Community Service, Gearan has guided and expanded Hobart and William Smith’s commitment to public service. He headed the Peace Corps before accepting the HWS presidency in 1999, and currently serves on the boards of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and The Partnership of Public Service. He is also a member of the Leadership Council of ServiceNation. He is the past chair of both the Annapolis Group and the National Campus Compact.