At the Ability Partners Foundation’s third annual “Evening of Stars Gala” fundraiser, Mary Herlihy Gearan was presented with the Outstanding Board Member of the Year Award.
Since 2002, Gearan has served on the board of directors of Happiness House-Finger Lakes Cerebral Palsy Association, which is supported by Ability Partners Foundation. Happiness House, an educational, residential, health and human service organization, has served communities in the Finger Lakes region since 1969. In her time on the board, Gearan has served as vice chair and assistant secretary, and together with her husband, HWS President Mark D. Gearan, served as honorary chair of its capital campaign and was instrumental in raising $1.5 million toward a new Happiness House building and expansion project. In 2011, Happiness House presented her with the “Happiness is Helping” Humanitarian Award.
Since moving to Geneva in 1999, Gearan has been an active volunteer with numerous local organizations and has earned a number of other honors for her service including recognition at the 2011 New York State “Women of Distinction” ceremony, the 2010 Citizen of the Year award from the Geneva Chamber of Commerce, the 2010 Sharing the Light award from Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes, and a 2012 recognition from the Lake to Lake Women organization during its annual Women’s History Month celebration. In 2014, the Geneva Rotary Club honored the Gearans with the distinguished Springstead Award, in recognition of their service to the City of Geneva and the community at large. Earlier this year, the Rotary Club presented Mary Gearan with its highest honor, the Paul Harris Award.
As a member of the Geneva Festival of Nations committee for the past nine years, she has helped to establish relationships between local organizations, businesses, the school district and HWS, resulting in opportunities for HWS students, Geneva school students and the community to celebrate the diversity of cultures in the Geneva area. Gearan also serves as adviser for the Geneva High School Multicultural Club and the Martin Luther King Jr. Art and Poetry Committee.
She holds a B.A. in political science and economics magna cum laude from Emmanuel College in Boston and a J.D. from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Previously, she worked for Congressman Robert F. Drinan, Congressman Joseph Moakley and in the Office of the General Counsel at the Office of Personnel Management in Washington, D.C. She was also a fundraiser, national delegate liaison and California Field Desk Officer on the Michael S. Dukakis presidential campaign. She served as vice president at the Wexler Group, a government relations firm in Washington, D.C.