The President of Hobart and William Smith Colleges announced Wednesday that he will be stepping down at the end of the current academic year. Mark Gearan says his decision to end his time as president was a hard one, but he believes the timing is right for the institution and for himself and his family.
“I believe in the context of the institutional moment this is the right time, a lot of good things happening here, good energy and good momentum to prepare for the next arc of leadership in this office. On a personal level this will be 18 years, which I guess I’m told makes me the longest serving president of Hobart and William Smith. And, a family matter, our daughter will finish up high school, so there are many combinations. I also wanted to ensure an orderly transition.”
Reflecting on his time at HWS, Gearan expressed pride and gratitude in his relationship with the students. His appreciation for the faculty, staff and trustees. Gearan also expressed admiration for Geneva and cites the Colleges’ relationship to the community as a particular point of pride.
“The partnership we have with the public school system, it’s the right thing to do, evidencing citizenship to our students. This is a community that has been a great host to the colleges. So, giving back in meaningful ways, modeling citizen service I think is an experience our students leave here with that will be an important part of their lives.”
In an email to the campus, Gearan said that when he leaves, HWS, he will return for a semester to his alma mater Harvard University as President in Residence.
“It will be an opportunity in the fall to be working with their graduate students. It will also give the chance to think what are my next steps? Whether it’s in higher education, or non-profit management, or the public sector. So, I’m going to use these months to think through what’s next, but I’m looking forward to that semester there.”
The Hobart and William Smith Colleges Board of Trustees announced that it will employ a professional firm in addition to forming a committee of trustees, faculty, staff and students in the search for a new president.