Hobart and William Smith Colleges President Mark D. Gearan is one of five American college and university presidents invited to an international conference sponsored by Tufts University on “The Civic Engagement Roles of Higher Education.”
Gearan will join with 30 other presidents and chancellors from around the world this week at the off-campus center of Tufts University in Talloires, France, for a broad-ranging discussion on the various dimensions of civic engagement on college campuses.
Gearan will join the presidents of Tufts University, Georgetown University, Syracuse University and the University of Texas at El Paso as the American-based participants. Others attending will include university presidents from Brazil, Indonesia, Israel, China, Pakistan, India, Vietnam, Russia and South Africa.
Featured speakers will be Susan Berresford, president of the Ford Foundation; and Tom Ehrlich, senior scholar of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
Tufts president Lawrence S. Bacow said the conference “aims to strengthen our respective civic missions — our contributions to building civil society, to elevating civic participation, and to applying university resources to pressing community needs.”
The gathering is part of a Tufts tradition of assembling distinguished university leaders to discuss matters of universal importance. Past conferences have focused on international peace, freedom of the press and environmental sustainability.
Civic engagement is a subject that resonates with today's students, offers new methods of teaching and learning, and holds the great potential for shaping our communities and world through the power of education in action.
As part of the recent HWS orientation, incoming and transfer students and those helping guide them through the weekend contributed about 1,800 hours of service at more than three dozen sites in Geneva and its environs. This service-learning project, now in its sixth year at the Colleges, illustrates why Hobart and William Smith Colleges were included as one of only 81 institutions nationwide to be included in The Princeton Review's “Colleges with a Conscience.”
Gearan, who headed the Peace Corps before accepting the HWS presidency in the summer of 1999, has guided and expanded the Colleges' commitment to public service. He serves on the boards of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which operates AmeriCorps and ServiceCorps, and The Partnership of Public Service. He also chairs the National Campus Compact, and is a member president of the New York Campus Compact and is a member of the Independent College Fund of New York.