president gearan

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, staff of the Colleges, as well as with interested community members. Many speakers draw audience members from the surrounding cities of Rochester, Syracuse and Ithaca.

Forum guests generally take the opportunity to visit classes or gather with students and faculty members to discuss issues. Many people have one-on-one interaction with the speakers for the exchange of ideas or thoughts.

The Forum also offers the speakers a chance to experience the vibrancy of life on this campus. Speakers routinely express their gratitude for the opportunity to have discussions with students and faculty members about the work that they do and their perceptions of the fields of interests of the guests. Since many Forum speakers are national and international policy makers, gathering thoughts and suggestions from the Colleges community aids in their future work.

The President's Forum Series will continue to bring important politicians, intellectuals, and social activists to campus-allowing the community the continual flow and exchange of ideas.


Bill Whitaker

Bill Whitaker '73, L.H.D. '97

As part of Homecoming and Family Weekend, HWS Trustee Bill Whitaker '73, L.H.D. '97 joined the President's Forum Series on Saturday, Oct. 3. Whitaker, of Los Angeles, Calif., has had a successful career in television journalism, and in 2014 was named a correspondent for CBS's acclaimed newsmagazine television program, "60 Minutes."

Lauded for his work, Whitaker has covered major national and international news stories throughout his career. Since 1984, he has covered many of the major breaking news events and issues of the day, including the pro-democracy uprising in Tienanmen Square in Beijing, the Persian Gulf War, the Unabomber case, the O.J. Simpson murder and civil trials, the Columbine school shootings, and the presidential campaign of George W. Bush. Whitaker also has covered many of the recent history-making events such as Nelson Mandela's memorial services, the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Hurricane Katrina, the earthquake in Haiti and immigration issues on the United States-Mexico border.

In 1989, Whitaker received an Emmy Award for a segment he did for "48 Hours." He was honored at the Minorities in Broadcasting Program seventh annual "Striving for Excellence Awards." He is also engaged in his community. Whitaker has been active in adult literacy tutoring programs, and he and his family have served meals in homeless shelters.

Whitaker has remained connected to his Geneva alma mater. He has been a well-received speaker at campus events throughout the years. In 1994 and 1999, he opened and then closed the more than $100 million capital campaign as the master of ceremonies at the campaign celebrations. In 1997, he was awarded an honorary degree by the Colleges for his service. He holds a master's degree from Boston University in African-American studies. He also attended the master of journalism program at the University of California at Berkeley.


Donna Brazile

March 31, 2016
Vandervort Room
7:30 p.m.

Lovely A. Warren


Svante L. Myrick

March 24, 2016
Geneva Room
4:30 p.m.


The Hon. Shireen Avis Fisher '70

Nancy L. Zimpher


Hobart and William Smith Colleges,
Geneva, NY 14456
(315) 781-3000

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