HWS College President Mark Gearan To Head State Gaming Commission

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced during Wednesday's State of the State address that Hobart and William Smith Colleges President Mark Gearan will head the panel that will decide the locaiton of new casinos.

Cuomo says the challenge now is to make the casinos happen, happen fast, and happen correctly. Cuomo says request for proposals for the casinos will go out in March, bids will come back in June, and the  gaming commission will award the four casino contracts later this fall.

Cuomo introduced Mark Gearan to those attending the State of the State in Albany.

Gov. Cuomo and HWS president Mark Gearan share a laugh last June after the Cuomo stopped in Seneca Falls at the Women's Rights National Historical Park.  Photo by Greg Cotterill, Finger Lakes News Radio.

Hobart and William Smith Colleges, in Geneva, are only about 15 miles from the site selected by the Wilmorite Development Corporation in Tyre near the Waterloo thruway interchange for a $350 million dollar resort and casino.

Gearan will continue to be the HWS College president.

The colleges issued this news release Wednesday afternoon:

Gearan Appointed to State Commission

Posted on Wednesday, January 08, 2014

In his January 2014 State of the State Address, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the nomination of President Mark D. Gearan as Chair of the New York State Gaming Commission, a volunteer assignment that provides oversight of the state's newly created agency for the lottery, horse racing and casinos. This is the second time Governor Cuomo has reached out to higher education for leadership in this area; Cornell University President David Skorton was appointed last year by Governor Cuomo to serve as the Chair of the New York State Racing Association.

In announcing Gearan's appointment, Cuomo said: "The Chair of the Gaming Commission is an appointed position and it will be Mark Gearan, president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. He's a great academic, the former director of the Peace Corps, and a model of civic engagement. He's done a great job at the university and it's a pleasure to have him. We thank him for taking the time on this important obligation."

"Given the importance I place in public service and our citizen duty to insure honest, transparent government, I have accepted the Governor's request to serve," says Gearan. "I am grateful for Governor Cuomo's support and look forward to joining colleagues like President Skorton in continuing to build the growing economy in the upstate region."

"I commend Governor Cuomo on his nomination of Mark Gearan to chair the New York Gaming Commission," said Michael Wilton, executive director of the New York State Gaming Association. "Mr. Gearan's background in the academic sector as an administrator and policy expert, as well as his tenure at the Peace Corps show that he is a person of skill and vision. We believe he is well suited to help the gaming and racing sectors realize their full potential in New York. We look forward to working with him."

Appointed president of Hobart and William Smith in 1999, Gearan has led the Colleges during a period of unprecedented growth and development. One of our nation's leading experts on the intersection of higher education and civic engagement, Gearan is chair of the Talloires Network Steering Committee, an international association of more than 200 institutions on six continents committed to strengthening the civic roles and social responsibilities of higher education. He is the co-chair of the National Advisory Board on Public Service at Harvard College, is a board member of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities, and a former Board member of The Partnership for Public Service and the Corporation for National and Community Service.

With extensive credentials in public policy, he served as Director of the Peace Corps and was Assistant to the President, Director of Communications and Deputy Chief of Staff in the White House. Outside of the education and service arenas, Gearan is an appointee of the Bipartisan Policy Center's Commission on Political Reform. The national commission focuses on policy recommendations on electoral system reform, congressional reform and encouragement of greater public service. He is a former member of the White House Council for Community Solutions, a group of cross-sector leaders appointed by President Barack Obama to recommend collaborative solutions to increase civic engagement. In the upstate region, Gearan serves on the advisory councils of the Happiness House Foundation, Ontario ARC and the Geneva Community Center, and is a founding member of Geneva 2020, a collective impact initiative designed to assist the Geneva City School District on key initiatives including increasing the graduation rate and improving career and college readiness.

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