Former HWS president will lead Institute of Politics at Harvard

Mark D. Gearan has been appointed Director of the Institute of Politics (IOP) at Harvard Kennedy School, Kennedy School Dean Douglas Elmendorf announced today. Gearan will begin at the IOP in March.

“At Harvard we believe in the power of public service to transform our societies for the better,” said Drew Faust, President of Harvard University and Lincoln Professor of History in Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. “We are excited that Mark, a distinguished leader who has dedicated most of his impressive career to public service, will now bring his remarkable skills and passion to the IOP.”

Gearan, who was President of Hobart and William Smith Colleges for 18 years and was previously Director of the U.S. Peace Corps, has spent the past year as ‘President in Residence’ at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He also served as White House Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of Communications in the Clinton Administration.

“The IOP exposes students to the practical world of politics and public service in order to inspire and help the students enter that world later in their lives,” said Douglas Elmendorf, Harvard Kennedy School Dean and Don K. Price Professor of Public Policy. “Our students will benefit greatly from Mark’s deep knowledge of both public service and higher education.”

“I am honored to serve as the next Director of the Institute of Politics. The mission to inspire and prepare Harvard students to become leaders in politics and public service could not be more important. As an undergraduate I benefited greatly from the IOP, and I look forward to continuing its rich legacy for today’s students with vibrant programs, speakers, and ideas from academia and practice,” Gearan said.

Gearan received his J.D from Georgetown University Law Center and his A.B. cum laude from Harvard College. He was the Executive Director of the Democratic Governors Association, Headquarters Press Secretary for Governor Michael Dukakis during his presidential campaign in 1988, and Campaign Manager for Al Gore’s vice-presidential campaign in 1992. Gearan also served as the Director of Federal/State Relations for Governor Dukakis.

“I’m thrilled that Mark has agreed to become the IOP director. His energy and vision are exactly what we need to push the institution to new heights,” said Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, honorary chair of the IOP Senior Advisory Committee.

“Mark is the embodiment of a commitment to public service and politics—a commitment that is central to the IOP’s mission. The IOP is extremely fortunate to welcome him as director,” said Kenneth M. Duberstein, chair of the IOP Senior Advisory Committee and former chief of staff to President Ronald Reagan.

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