Hobart and William Smith Colleges President Mark D. Gearan has been appointed to a newly formed National Commission on Military, National and Public Service to review the military draft process and consider ways to increase participation in military, national and public service.
Created in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act and signed into law by President Barack Obama on Dec. 23, 2016, the Commission is comprised of 11 members, including Gearan. The law charges the Commission to conduct a review of the military selective service process and develop recommendations to foster a greater attitude and ethos of service among young Americans. Members of the Commission were appointed by the President, Majority and Minority Leaders of the Senate, Speaker and Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, and Chair and Ranking members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committee. Gearan was appointed by Senator Jack Reed (D-RI).
“Public service is vital to the health and security of our country, and I am honored by this opportunity to expand civic engagement,” says Gearan. “I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Commission to find innovative ways to encourage citizens to serve their communities and improve lives across the country.”
The longest serving president in the history of Hobart and William Smith, Gearan joined the Colleges in 1999 following his tenure as Director of the Peace Corps. Under his leadership, Hobart and William Smith have expanded its academic reach and advanced its reputation as a prominent liberal arts institution. By strengthening the Colleges’ financial resources and increasing its fundraising range, Hobart and William Smith have transformed the physical campus, adding and expanding facilities while also increasing access and opportunity for students with an expansion of financial aid. Gearan has made significant commitments to diversity and inclusion, propelled the Colleges’ environmental sustainability efforts, and grown programming in civic engagement, career services, leadership, study abroad and student services.
In 2016, Gearan announced that he would conclude his duties as president at the end of the 2016-17 academic year. Following his final year at HWS, he has accepted an appointment at Harvard University as the ‘President in Residence’ working on important issues facing higher education and the next generation of leaders during the fall semester of 2017 at the Graduate School of Education. His new position at Harvard reflects Gearan’s stature in higher education where he has held leadership roles in numerous organizations including chair of National Campus Compact, chair of the Corporation for National and Community Service, chair of the Annapolis Group of selective liberal arts colleges, and chair of the Talloires Network Steering Committee, an international organization of college and university presidents from six continents committed to civic engagement.
He is also an appointee of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Commission on Political Reform. The national commission focuses on policy recommendations on electoral system reform, congressional reform and encouragement of greater public service. He is a former member of the White House Council for Community Solutions, a group of cross-sector leaders appointed by President Barack Obama to recommend collaborative solutions to increase civic engagement. He also has been active on the advisory board of The Presidential Appointee Initiative, a project of the Brookings Institution that has worked to revamp the process through which U.S. Presidential appointees are chosen.