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Wikipedia Biography of Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan by Peru RPCV Hugh Pickens

Wikipedia Biography of Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan by Peru RPCV Hugh Pickens

Mark Gearan, President of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, was the 14th Director of the Peace Corps.

Wikipedia Biography of Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan by Peru RPCV Hugh Pickens

Mark Gearan
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Mark Gearan

Mark Daniel Gearan is a politician, lawyer and communications expert.

* 1 Education
* 2 Career in Politics and Government
o 2.1 Early Interest in Politics
o 2.2 Congressional Staff
o 2.3 State of Massachusetts
o 2.4 Dukakis Presidential Campaign
o 2.5 Gore's Campaign Manager
o 2.6 Clinton Administration
* 3 Peace Corps Director
o 3.1 Controversy over Nomination
o 3.2 Accomplishments as Director
o 3.3 Crisis Corps
o 3.4 Plan to Expand the Peace Corps
* 4 University President
o 4.1 Capital Improvements
o 4.2 The President's Forum
* 5 Other Activities and Honors
* 6 References
* 7 External links

[edit] Education

Gearan was born in Gardner, Massachusetts and attended public schools there [1] where Gearan's father was principal of Gardner High. [2]

Gearan's father died when he was 12 and although he was devastated by the loss he never lost his bearings. Gearan applied to Boston College, but didn't tell his family that he had also filled out an application to Harvard until he found out he was accepted. [1]

A practicing Roman Catholic, Gearan played the organ at his church as a teen-ager. Indulging an irreverent sense of humor, he once played "Bottle of Wine" during a service. "When you play it really slow like a dirge no one knew what it was," he said.[3]

Gearan earned his B.A. in government cum laude at Harvard University in 1978. [2]

Gearan earned a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 1991. [4]

[edit] Career in Politics and Government

[edit] Early Interest in Politics

Gearan's early interest in politics began when he helped distribute leaflets in Jesuit priest Robert F. Drinan's campaign for Congress on a strong anti-Viet Nam war platform in 1970. "As an eighth-grader growing up in Gardner, I had noticed that a Catholic priest was running for Congress amid the political turmoil of the Vietnam era," said Gearan. "From my early days on a bike leafleting the neighborhoods of Gardner, I graduated to driving the congressman," Gearan added. [5]

While an undergraduate at Harvard, Gearan interned in Drinan's Washington office and worked on Drinan's re-election campaign in 1978. [3] It was there that Gearan met his future wife, Mary Herlihy, a fellow staffer in Drinan's office. [4]

Gearan worked as a newspaper reporter for the Fitchburg, Massachusetts Sentinel and Enterprise for one year. [5]

[edit] Congressional Staff

After leaving the newspaper, Gearan was chief of staff for U.S. Representative Berkeley Bedell of Iowa [6] for three years. [6]

[edit] State of Massachusetts

Gearan's first political appointment was in 1983 [7] when Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis appointed Gearan Director of Federal State Relations for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, a post he held until 1988 when Gearan joined Dukakis' campaign for the Presidency. [8]

[edit] Dukakis Presidential Campaign

When Dukakis' ran for the presidency in 1988, Gearan originally had the high profile job of managing Dukakis' campaign during the crucial Iowa caucuses. When Gary Hart dropped out of the race, the Dukakis campaign replaced Gearan with Hart's Iowa coordinator and sent Gearan back to Boston to be the campaign's national headquarters Press Secretary. Although Gearan was disappointed by the decision, he accepted it. "You know, it's a long life, and there aren't too many other things in politics but loyalty," he said when asked about the incident.[7]

After Dukakis' defeat, Mr. Gearan returned to run the Massachusetts Office of Federal Relations until 1989. [9]

Gearan was Executive Director of the Democratic Governors' Association from 1989 to 1992. [10]

[edit] Gore's Campaign Manager

In 1992 Gearan was Al Gore's campaign manager during his run for the vice presidency in 1992. [11] Gearan's job was to insure that the message Gore delivered reflected the views and strategies of the head of the ticket. "It is a critical role and needs someone with a lot of skills," said George Stephanopoulos, director of communications for the Clinton campaign. "But he has Clinton's utmost confidence and really gained the respect of Gore and his staff."[8]

Gearan had the ability to keep things light during the grueling campaign. Once while accompanying Al Gore during the 1992 campaign Gearn noticed an old piano at his campus residence at the University of Missouri. Gearan is a talented piano player so when told that ragtime music composer Scott Joplin had once played the piano, Gearan sat down and played part of "Maple Leaf Rag." "I'm never washing these hands again," he said.[9]

After the election Gearan was named Deputy Director of the Clinton/Gore Transition Team in 1992 in charge of Washington operations for Transition Director Warren Christopher. [12] "I came back to Washington after working for Michael S. Dukakis in 1988 and I was a knucklehead," said Gearan. "I came back in 1992 and I was a genius. It makes you realize there are centrifugal forces beyond our control. I guess one is always a knucklehead-in-training."[10]

[edit] Clinton Administration

During the Clinton Administration Gearan served several roles. He began as White House Director of Communications, a position with the title of White House Deputy Chief of Staff.

He was then promoted to assistant to the President and Director of Communications and Strategic Planning. [13] Gearan traveled extensively with the president on overseas trips to Russia, Japan, the Middle East, Germany, Italy, and Ireland. [11]

Gearan helped shepherd Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer through his confirmation hearings in 1994 and said that managing a successful confirmation requires thorough research, an aggressive media strategy, intense lobbying on Capitol Hill and it also helps to expect the unexpected. "There's only so much you can game out," said Gearan. [12]

[edit] Peace Corps Director

[edit] Controversy over Nomination

There was some controversy over Gearan's appointment as Peace Corps Director since he had not served in the Peace Corps himself and was succeeding Carol Bellamy, who was the first Peace Corps Director to have served as a volunteer. The National Peace Corps Association (NPCA), an organization made up of returned volunteers, had urged President Clinton to appoint a former volunteer to the position rather than Gearan. [13]

However Gearan was strongly supported by other returned volunteers including Donna Shalala, Clinton's Secretary of Health and Human Services, who had served in the Peace Corps in Iran and who addressed the NPCA at their annual meeting on August 4, 1995 in Austin, Texas. "I want to talk with you about the President's new nominee -- Mark Gearan. I am Mark Gearan's friend. We have worked closely together for the past two and a half years. He is a decent, thoughtful, energetic and caring man. I strongly support the President's decision to nominate him. He will do a great job for all of us. Please support him," said Shalala. [14]

[edit] Accomplishments as Director

Gearan was confirmed by the United States Senate and sworn in as the 14th Director of the Peace Corps in September 1995 [14] was director of the Peace Corps from 1995 to 1999.

During Gearan's tenure as Peace Corps Director, the Peace Corps opened programs in South Africa, Jordan, Mozambique and Bangladesh and returned its volunteers to Haiti after a five-year absence. [15]

On March 1, 1996, the 35th anniversary of the founding of the Peace Corps, Gearan spoke about its relevance today: "You answered President Kennedy's call, 'Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.' You provided needed assistance to 130 countries around the globe, and you continue that service here at home." [16]

On June 29, 1998, the United States and China formalized the Peace Corps program in China signing an agreement that established a formal framework for a Peace Corps program in China. Twenty-one volunteers arrived to begin their assignments in Sichuan province, where the Peace Corps has operated on a pilot basis since 1993. President Clinton, in China for a state visit said "This agreement represents an important step forward in building the bonds of friendship between the American and Chinese people. As in the other 80 countries where they work, Peace Corps Volunteers in China reflect the finest traditions of Americans' idealism and pragmatic approach to assisting others." [17]

[edit] Crisis Corps

One of Gearan's most successful initiatives was the creation of the Crisis Corps, that would send former Peace Corps volunteers into crisis areas for six months or less to help during emergencies. However Gearan later regretted that he had not moved faster in creating the corps. "I lost time and ground because I sought a broad range of opinions for starting the Crisis Corps even though I knew it was a good idea. Today it exists -- and it is one of my proudest achievements." [15]

[edit] Plan to Expand the Peace Corps

On January 3, 1998, President Clinton proposed to expand the Peace Corps from about 6,500 volunteers to 10,000 volunteers by the year 2000. "President Clinton's initiative to put the Peace Corps on the path to have 10,000 volunteers serving overseas by the year 2000 is one of the most important developments in the history of the Peace Corps," Gearan said. "The President's initiative would result in a 50 percent increase in the number of Peace Corps volunteers. This is a strong affirmation of the contributions of 6,500 volunteers currently serving in 85 countries, as well as the work of more than 150,000 Americans who have joined the Peace Corps since 1961." [18]

However the initiative failed to gain political traction or substantial increased funding in Congress and by the end of Clinton's term in office, the number of volunteers had made only modest gains increasing to about 7,100. [19]

[edit] University President

On June 1, 1999, President Clinton announced that Gearan would be leaving the administration to accept the position of President of Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York saying "One of the best personnel decisions I have made as President was to appoint Mark Gearan as the Director of the Peace Corps. I believe he has been one of the most successful Directors since President Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961. He has rejuvenated the Peace Corps, and demonstrated a deep commitment to its legacy of service and the women and men who serve as Peace Corps volunteers. He can be proud that the Peace Corps will soon have more volunteers serving overseas than at any time in a generation." [16]

When asked why he left government to come to Hobart and William Smith, Gearan said "College administration generally and, in particular, small, residential, liberal arts colleges have always been things I thought I would like to be a part of, because of their importance, because they are mission-oriented, because they are value-centered." "I came up here and was enormously impressed with the students and their capacity and their love for the place and their yearning for learning," he added. [17]

[edit] Capital Improvements

As President of Hobart and Smith, Gearan began the development of a five-year strategic planning initiative and a $160 million capital campaign to greatly expanding the Colleges’ facilities for academic, athletic and residential life. [18]

[edit] The President's Forum

Gearan also established a lecture series, the President’s Forum, to bring national and international speakers to the University. Making use of personal contacts made during his thirty years in politics, speakers in the series have included Hillary Rodham Clinton, Robert Drinan, Sam Donaldson, Ralph Nader, Donna Shalala, Michael Dukakis, George Stephanopoulos, Barney Frank, George McGovern, and Helen Thomas. "These speakers will enrich the campus life, while at the same time giving our visiting speakers a better sense of the dynamic community we have here," said Gearan, at the time of the series' creation. [19]

[edit] Other Activities and Honors

Gearan serves on the boards of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the Points of Light Foundation, the Annapolis Group, the Corporation for National and Community Service and The Partnership of Public Service. [20]

On April 28, 2003 the Washington Post reported that Gearan's re-appointment to the board of the Corporation for National and Community Service had been kicked back by the Bush White House. [20] On November 23, 2004, Gearan was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve on the board of the Corporation for National and Community Service. [21]

Gearan is the recipient of 12 honorary degrees. [21]

An article by the Associated Press on September 17, 2004, said that in the event of a Kerry win in the 2004 campaign for the presidency, Gearan would be a possible nominee for the post of Secretary of the Interior. [22]

[edit] References

1. ^ http://clinton1.nara.gov/White_House/New/other/gearan.html
2. ^ http://campus.hws.edu/new/update/PresClips/A_local_boy_with_vision_is_leaving_Washington_a_better_place+.shtml
3. ^ New York Times. "The 1992 Campaign: Campaign Profile; Captain of the Gore Team, Go-Between to Clinton." September 18, 1992.
4. ^ http://www.yale.edu/opa/newsr/96-04-22-02.all.html
5. ^ http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2007/02/03/father_drinan_was_our_unfailing_champion/
6. ^ http://www.umfk.maine.edu/valleyvision/release/default.cfm?release=99047
7. ^ New York Times. "The 1992 Campaign: Campaign Profile; Captain of the Gore Team, Go-Between to Clinton." September 18, 1992.
8. ^ New York Times. "The 1992 Campaign: Campaign Profile; Captain of the Gore Team, Go-Between to Clinton." September 18, 1992.
9. ^ New York Times. "The 1992 Campaign: Campaign Profile; Captain of the Gore Team, Go-Between to Clinton." September 18, 1992.
10. ^ New York Times. "No Headlines." January 3, 1993
11. ^ http://www.turnerlearning.com/newsroom/ontheroad/gearan.html
12. ^ http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2005-07-01-white-house-court_x.htm
13. ^ http://peacecorpsonline.org/messages/messages/2629/2016278.html
14. ^ http://peacecorpsonline.org/messages/messages/2629/6955.html
15. ^ http://fairfield.edu/x1688.html
16. ^ http://web.archive.org/web/19961018045328/www.peacecorps.gov/www/press/press11.html
17. ^ http://usembassy-australia.state.gov/hyper/WF980630/epf208.htm
18. ^ http://peacecorpsonline.org/messages/messages/467/2014357.html
19. ^ http://peacecorpsonline.org/messages/messages/2629/2017737.html
20. ^ http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A45762-2003Apr27.html
21. ^ http://www.rbj.net/fullarticle.cfm?sdid=52746
22. ^ http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/news/archive/2004/09/17/politics1422EDT0568.DTL

[edit] External links

* Biography from Hobart & William Smith Colleges Site
* Biography from Peace Corps website

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Headlines: August, 2007; Mark Gearan; Mark Gearan (Director 1995 - 1999); Figures; Directors; University Administration; RPCV Hugh Pickens (Peru); Wikipedia; Creative Commons; New York

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