January 21, 2000 Geneva, NY- Michael Harms, a senior at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, joined First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in a conversation about public service during a forum at Hobart and William Smith Colleges on January 11. Harms sat on stage and conversed with the First Lady during the 90-minute forum. He was joined by HWS President Mark D. Gearan and fellow student Jennifer Leshnower of Brighton, New York. The First Lady visited Hobart and William Smith Colleges as the first speaker in a series of invited guests that President Gearan will bring to campus as part of his “President's Forum.”
In front of a crowd of more than 2,000 people that filled the Colleges' Sport and Recreation Center, Harms discussed with Mrs. Clinton the role community service holds in a liberal arts education. Harms was selected as one of the two students to join the First Lady due to his extensive community service work at the Colleges.
Harms, the son of Mr. and Mrs. John Harms of Scotia, New York, has been very active on- and off-campus. On campus, he has led the mock trial team for the past four years, was coordinator for Orientation for the past two years, is a rape prevention coordinator, a peer educator in human relations, and was involved in the planning of an annual day of service. Harms lives in Community Service House, a “theme house” designated for students who actively participate in community service on a regular basis.
Spreading his service off-campus, Harms recently traveled to Vietnam (after a term abroad there last year) to participate in a two-week research project for the Vietnam Friendship Foundation in December. There, he joined a group of educators and child advocates from the United States, Australia, and Japan that traveled to schools, non-governmental organizations, and government agencies in Saigon and Nha Trang.
Most recently, Harms served as a Templeton Fellow and organized and led a discussion/interview with President Gearan about public service and service learning on campus. Harms is majoring in sociology and peer education in human relations and will receive a minor in public service.
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