Hobart and William Smith welcomed Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren and Ithaca Mayor and HWS Presidential Fellow Svante L. Myrick as the first guests of the Spring 2016 President’s Forum Series (PFS). The dual lecture was held on Thursday, March 24, at 4:30 p.m. in the Geneva Room of the Warren Hunting Smith Library.
Sworn into office in January 2014, Warren is the first female mayor in the history of Rochester and the second African-American mayor. Her goals have been to improve educational outcomes for city students, increase economic development, improve public safety as well as community-police relations, and address economic disparities that plague many parts of the city.
One of Warren’s first actions upon taking office was the formation of an Early Learning Council to support the success of Universal Pre-K in Rochester. She also launched the 3-to-3 initiative with the goal of giving every 3-year-old in the City of Rochester the opportunity to develop academic and social skills necessary to succeed in school and in life by the time they complete third grade.
Prior to becoming mayor, Warren was elected to the Northeast District seat on City Council in 2007. In 2010, she was elected by her colleagues to serve as City Council President at the age of 32 – making her the youngest person to hold the seat in Rochester’s history. She is also past president of the Rochester Black Bar Association.
Her work has been recognized with a Black Heritage Pioneer Award, Rochester Business Journal’s “Forty Under Forty,” the Daily Record’s “Up and Coming Attorneys,” and the Democrat & Chronicle’s “Emerging African-American Leaders.”
Warren earned her B.A. in government from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and her J.D. from Albany Law School of Union University.
Myrick, who was a President’s Forum speaker in 2013, was sworn into office in January 2012 and became, at 24, the City of Ithaca’s youngest mayor and first mayor of color. Myrick was elected to the Common Council at the age of 20 while still a junior at Cornell University, where he studied communication. In November 2015, Myrick was reelected to a second four-year term as mayor, defeating write-in candidate Phoebe Brown by a margin of 1,779 votes to 228.
When he took office as mayor, he inherited a $3 million deficit. His first budget included a major overhaul of city government that merged departments and streamlined processes, all while delivering Ithaca’s lowest tax increase since 2000. In his first year of office, his advocacy in Albany and in Washington, D.C., resulted in more than $20 million of grants and awards from state and federal governments. By the end of Myrick’s second year in office, his budget had successfully closed the deficit. In 2015, the city saw its first operating surplus since 2008.
In his 2016 State of the City address, Myrick said Ithaca had become a “stronger, healthier place to live,” than when he took office in 2012. He outlined his next steps as improving community-police relations and developing more affordable housing.
The 2016 PFS will continue on Monday, April 4, when veteran Democratic political strategist Donna Brazile will join the Colleges at 7:30 p.m. in Albright Auditorium.
The PFS, established in the winter of 2000 by President Mark D. Gearan, is designed to bring a variety of speakers to campus to share their knowledge and ideas with students, faculty and staff, as well as with interested community members. The important public figures, intellectuals and social activists who visit campus as President’s Forum guest speakers expose the Colleges and the local community to a continual exchange of interesting and significant topical issues.
Recent guests include HWS Trustee Bill Whitaker ’73, L.H.D. ’97, an Emmy award-winning veteran of CBS News and a correspondent for “60 Minutes;” James Carville L.H.D. ’13, P’17 and Mary Matalin P’17, political strategists; Victoria Reggie Kennedy, legal strategist, financial attorney, and wife of the late Senator Kennedy; Michael Kimmel, noted sociologist, author and gender expert; and The Hon. Shireen Avis Fisher ’70, Justice of the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone.