Public Service Academy backer to be President’s Forum guest speaker – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Public Service Academy backer to be President’s Forum guest speaker

Chris Myers Asch, the proponent of a program that Time magazine has listed as one of the 10 things that will change the country, is set to bring his vision to Hobart and William Smith Colleges as the next guest in the President’s Forum lecture series. The co-founder of the U.S. Public Service Academy will speak at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 17, in the Geneva Room. Community Service on the local, national and global levels is the theme for this fall’s President’s Forum series.

As envisioned by Asch and co-founder Shawn Raymond, the academy would serve as a national civilian university, modeled on military service academies. The 5,000-person Academy will provide a rigorous undergraduate education to students who will then devote five years of civilian service as a teacher, park ranger, police officer, border agent or other critical public service job at the local, state, national or international level. The idea is to provide a focused education for people who will serve in the public sector and thereby create a new generation of civic leaders.

Asch was so dismayed by the federal government’s response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita that he wanted to create a new generation of people who were idealistic about government. “We need an institution that systematically develops leadership, he said. “We need to elevate it in the eyes of young people so we can attract the best and the brightest.

Asch is a former member of Teach for America and the founder of the Sunflower County Freedom Project, an intensive academic enrichment and leadership development program for middle and high school students.

“As one of Princeton Review’s 81 Colleges with a Conscience, the Hobart and William Smith Colleges community has certainly expressed and acted upon the importance of civic engagement, said President Mark D. Gearan. “Pursuing public service careers after graduation has become limited, and Chris Myers Asch will be able to shed light on the importance, practicality and application of such a lifestyle.

During his visit to campus, Asch is scheduled to speak to students in Assistant Professor of Political Science Chad Lavin’s “Theories of American Democracy class from 12:30 to 1:15 p.m. in Stern 204.

A native of Washington, D.C., Asch graduated summa cum laude from Duke University and earned his Ph.D. in American History from the University of North Carolina. He taught elementary and middle school for three years in Sunflower, Mississippi, as part of Teach for America/AmeriCorps and one year in Taejon, South Korea, with the William J. Fulbright program. He recently became an Echoing Green Fellow.

The President’s Forum Series, 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 of the Colleges, as well as with interested community members.

To read more on the Public Service academy, click here.

To read the complete Time magazine article called “A Time to Serve, click here.

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