In June, the Geneva community gathered downtown at Lynch Furniture for a final farewell to President Mark D. Gearan L.H.D. ’17 and his family. The evening included reflections from many Geneva residents about the Gearans’ impact on the city, as well as the announcement of Gearan Way, the result of a resolution by the city to rename the portion of Pulteney Street between Hamilton Street and St. Clair Street in honor of the longest serving president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
The breadth of the Gearans’ impact on the city was the theme that speakers returned to most throughout the evening — from the Colleges’ expanded partnership with Geneva during President Gearan’s 18-year tenure, and the resulting impact on the local economy, to the many contributions of Mary Herlihy Gearan L.H.D. ’17 to improve civic life and support community organizations.
“Mark and Mary have been very happy because they have served their entire lives,” said State Senator Michael F. Nozzolio L.H.D. ’07, who lauded the Gearans for their contributions to the Finger Lakes community. “They have served their state, their nation, through the Peace Corps their world, and [here in] Geneva…their community…. Geneva has been truly blessed.”
“The reason why we hold [the Gearans] in high esteem is their value system,” said Bob Schick, chair and CEO of Lyons National Bank (LNB). Along with Lynch Furniture and LNB, the event was supported by local businesses: Anthony Road Wine Company, Fox Run Vineyards, Glenora Wine Cellars, White Springs Winery, Pedulla’s Wine and Liquor, Rylie J’s, Uncle Joe’s Pizzeria, Missy Kennedy Cakes, Tom Bucklin Entertainment and the Geneva Rotary Club.
“Geneva is a much better place because the Gearans have been here with us,” said Father Thomas P. Mull, the pastor of Our Lady of Peace Parish.
Geneva Mayor Ron Alcock and City Manager Matt Horn presented the Gearans with a framed picture of the Gearan Way road sign, reflecting on its symbolism as the bond between HWS and Geneva. Alcock also noted Gearan’s support of Geneva 2020 and the climate of service-based learning that has placed hundreds of HWS student volunteers within the community.
The evening also featured a musical introduction from the Geneva High School marching band, a performance of Elton John’s “Your Song” by the Geneva Varsity Singers, and a sing-along of “Our Geneva Things,” written by Lynch Furniture owner Bernie Lynch to the tune of “My Favorite Things.”
In thanking the speakers and guests for their hard work in supporting and invigorating the city, President Gearan noted that “while zip codes change, friendships do not.” In the fall, he will begin an appointment as President in Residence at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.