Geneva, NY – Hobart and William Smith President Mark D. Gearan, former director of the Peace Corps, will join President George W. Bush, past and present directors of the Peace Corps, and other dignitaries in the Rose Garden at the White House on Thursday, July 26, to honor the late Paul Coverdell, the 11th director of the Peace Corps.
Coverdell served as director of the Peace Corps from 1989 until late in 1991, when he resigned to run for the Senate from Georgia. He died suddenly in October, 2000, from a stroke.
The ceremony will honor Coverdell for his service to the country, with President Bush signing into law several bills that honor the late Senator. A bill will rename the President's tax package, the education savings account, the Coverdell Education Savings Account, after its author. One bill will rename the Peace Corps Headquarters in Washington, D.C. and the Peace Corps World Wise Schools program after the late Senator, and authorize $10 million in federal funds toward the construction of the Paul D. Coverdell Building for Biomedical and Health Sciences at the University of Georgia.
While serving as director of the Peace Corps, Coverdell initiated the Peace Corps'
World Wise Schools (WWS) Program, which will ultimately link every active Volunteer with a U.S. elementary school. Coverdell believed that through the exchange of letters, artwork, artifacts, and other educational materials, the Volunteer would serve as a window for U.S. students to experience new countries and cultures.
“I am honored to accept President Bush's invitation to the Rose Garden event honoring Senator Paul Coverdell,” President Gearan said. “During my years as director of the Peace Corps, Senator Coverdell was a valued mentor and good friend. The Peace Corps is stronger today due to his careful stewardship.”