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A Tribute to President Mark Gearan from Washington, D.C.

Sargent Shriver—First Director of the Peace Corps:
Hello Mark, Mary too. I'm delighted to be here on this important occasion in your life and in the life of the Colleges where you are going to be the head man. Everybody here in Washington wishes you every possible success because we believe that your success will be a great contribution not only to your Colleges, but also to education and to the future of our country. That might sound like a lot for me to say smack off the back, but let me tell you why I've said what I just did say. To me the fact that you've been chosen to be the President of Hobart and William Smith Colleges shows to me that those colleges are truly leaders with vision and courage. We, the U.S.A., must seek a new world for the whole world and with all the nations and races and creeds and languages of that whole new world. Mark Gearan knows all these facts. He knows them better than I do and he has not only the vision but also the necessary youth and years to make Hobart and William Smith Colleges both leaders and successes in this whole new world. What a time to be alive. What an ideal place, with an ideal faculty and visionary students, Mark Gearan now possesses. May all of you, individually and as an institution, lead the way to the creation of a new U.S.A. and a new world in the 21st century.

CNN—The Capital Gang
Robert Novak—Syndicated Columnist:
Why would a nice liberal arts college or two little liberal arts colleges want somebody from the Clinton White House who then ran a do-good organization like the Peace Corps? But, when I stop to think of it, Mark Gearan is probably an improvement for the left wing liberal college, and so Mark, lots of luck, try to improve them.

Margaret Carlson—Time Magazine:
Mark, you never returned my calls when you were an important guy in the Clinton administration and I was struggling every week to write a story for Time magazine or come on "Capital Gang" and say something. And then you went to the Peace Corps -- did I return your calls? I sure did! Now you can make it all up to me. How about something like, say, an honorary degree now that you have control over that. All will be even -- all will be forgiven.

Mark Shields—Syndicated Columnist:
Where again will we in Washington ever find the insight, the kind of insight Mark Gearan brought to bear on understanding Washington in the early, chaotic, disorganized days of the Clinton White House? It was Mark Gearan, on background, not for attribution who said, "watching the Clinton White House staff is like watching eight-year-olds play soccer. They chase the ball but nobody plays position." And now Mark and Mary have left to go far beyond the beltway, and Washington is a less interesting, less happy, less joyful place.

Al Hunt—Wall Street Journal:
I want to talk about the Mark Gearan triumphs of tomorrow. The President of Hobart College. First thing I want to tell you – I learned what Mark is going to do to change the school colors - orange and purple. He promised Jerry Falwell they would not stand. Also I want to tell you that when Dr. Carlson comes up for that honorary degree it is going to be in an enlarged Boswell Bowl. Mark might not be able to find the library but the Boswell Bowl is going to be much bigger in the Gearan administration. Mark, we wish you a lot of luck. You've been a terrific asset to this town and Hobart and William Smith, a great institution, is awful lucky to have a great new family. Best of luck.

Rep. Barney Frank—Massachusetts:
When I got the message that I was being asked to go on camera to talk about Mark Gearan's presidency, I got a little nervous – because my expertise in discussing presidencies on camera recently has been to defend them against impeachment. I didn't think it was likely that Mark could have gotten in so much trouble so quickly, but then I learned in my relief but not my surprise that it was a more celebratory occasion and that it is certainly appropriate.

Rep. Christopher Shays—Connecticut:
Mark, when we talked a few years ago about how deeply you wanted to be president, I guess I didn't really understand you because I really thought you meant President of the United States. And, now you are going to be President of Hobart and William Smith Colleges - now that's a great school, but I think it is absurd to have an inauguration just so you get the feel.

Tim Russett—Meet the Press:
Mark Gearan a college President? Come to think of it, no place better to train for dealing with rowdy behavior than the Clinton White House. Congratulations Mark, have a great run – upstate New York, Hobart and William Smith, two perfect places. Good luck.

Paul Bengala & Ollie North—Equal Time:
Paul:
Mark, congratulations. Hobart and William Smith Colleges gain is, of course, President Clinton's loss. And well, you made him what he is today - embittered, embattled, indebted. Congratulations Mark.

Ollie:
Wait a minute, he's going off to become a college president?

Paul:
Yes, Absolutely.

Ollie:
Peace Corps, what about the Marine Corp? What America needs is just one more liberal college president.

Paul:
Amen.

Ollie:
All the best Mark.

Richard Riley—Secretary of Education:
The presidential transition on your fine campus reminds me that I worked with Mark on another presidential transition – for President Bill Clinton in 1992 and '93, and I'm sure Mark will do an excellent job in his exciting and challenging new position. He's a strong leader and a good listener. He has a deep and abiding concern for the young people of America and he's committed to helping them build a brighter future for themselves and for our great country.

President of the United States—Bill Clinton:
It is a great pleasure for me to join the Hobart and William Smith community in saluting my good friend Mark Gearan, the next president of your colleges. Mark, the trustees have made a very wise decision in selecting you. You're a gifted and humane leader, deeply committed to educating and empowering our young people. I know you'll bring great vision, energy, and good humor to leading Hobart and William Smith into the next century.

I've relied on Marks skills, wisdom, and talents for many years now. He was a close aide to me from the first time I sought the presidency. Serving in the beginning as Vice-President Gore's campaign manager in the 1992 campaign, and then as a White House deputy chief of staff and director of communications.

I can say without hesitation that Mark has been one of the most successful directors of the Peace Corps since President Kennedy established the program in 1961, managing the Peace Corps with great skill, wisdom, and care. He rejuvenated the organization, demonstrating a deep commitment to its legacy of service in the men and women who serve as volunteers. During his tenure Mark established the Crisis Corps, a new program within the Peace Corps that enables former volunteers to help people in other countries recover from natural disasters and humanitarian crisis. He also organized new volunteer programs in South Africa, Jordan, and Bangladesh.This record of performance convinced me and the Congress to send more volunteers overseas than at any time in a generation.

In 1961, President Kennedy challenged Americans to give of themselves for their country and for the betterment of the world. No one embodies that spirit of service and dedication more than Mark Gearan. Mark, or should I say, President Gearan, congratulations again on your well deserved honor. Hillary and I thank you for your continued friendship and counsel and wish you, Mary, Madeline, and Kathleen the very best on this wonderful new adventure.

 

 

INFORMATION

A Tribute to President Mark Gearan from Washington, D.C.

Oct. 22, 1999

A video was played at the inauguration ceremony that had been sent to Geneva from some of President Gearan's old friends in Washington, D.C.