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Mark Gearan

Director of the Institute of Politics

Harvard Kennedy School

Cambridge, MA, USA

Mark Gearan


Mark Gearan is the Director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Prior to leading the Institute of Politics, he served as President in Residence at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.

From 1999 to 2017, Mark was President of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, the longest-tenured President in the school’s history. In addition to his role as President, he was also a member of the Department of Political Science. During his tenure, he reinforced the Colleges’ commitment to academic rigor, global understanding, study abroad opportunities, and service-learning. Mark also served as Director of the Peace Corps, and under his leadership the program experienced a resurgence of interest. During the Clinton administration, he served as Assistant to the President and Director of Communications, as well as Deputy Chief of Staff. During the 1992 presidential campaign, he was Al Gore’s campaign manager, segueing to the position of Deputy Director of President-elect Clinton’s transition team.

A Board Member of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, Mark’s other non-executive roles include Co-Chair of the National Advisory Board on Public Service at Harvard College and as a Member of the Presidential Advisory Group for the NCAA. Prior, he was Chair of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Annapolis Group, and the National Campus Compact. He has served on the Board of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and The Partnership for Public Service, and has been active on the advisory board of The Presidential Appointee Initiative.

Mark earned his B.A. in Government cum laude at Harvard University and his law degree at Georgetown University. He is the recipient of 12 honorary degrees.

Mark Gearan’s Newsfeed

Winthrop House Students Petition to Extend Interim Deans’ Term

The letter calls on the College to extend the terms of interim faculty deans Mark D. Gearan ’78 and Mary Herlihy-Gearan by one year ...[and] cites Gearan and Herlihy-Gearan’s “unparalleled” management of the campus evacuation and coronavirus crisis in support of their continued stewardship. “Since the College sent us all home, we felt that the Gearans as deans have provided such wonderful support in this uncertain time for everyone.” 

Gearans Named Interim Faculty Deans at Harvard

HWS President Emeritus Mark D. Gearan L.H.D. ’17, P’21 and Mary Herlihy Gearan L.H.D. ’17, P’21 have been named interim faculty deans of Winthrop House at Harvard University.Gearan, who serves as the Director of the Institute of Politics (IOP) at Harvard Kennedy School, told The Harvard Gazette, “Mary and I were honored by the invitation to serve as interim faculty deans at Winthrop House.

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Mark Gearan’s Background

Director of the Institute of Politics
Feb 2018 - Present
Cambridge, MA, USA
Harvard Kennedy School’s mission is to improve public policy and public leadership across the U.S. and globally, so people can lead safer, freer and more prosperous lives.
President in Residence
2017 - 2018
Cambridge, MA, USA
Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) believe studying and improving the enterprise of education are central to the health and future of society.
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Current Non-Executive Positions

Co-Chair, National Advisory Board on Public Service
Cambridge, MA, USA
Harvard College is the undergraduate liberal arts college of Harvard University. Founded in 1636, it is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and one of the most prestigious in the world.
Presidential Advisory Group
Indianapolis, IN, USA
NCAA, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, is a non-profit, member-led organization dedicated to the well-being and lifelong success of college athletes.

Previous Non-Executive Positions

Chair of the Board of Directors
Boston, MA, USA
The National Campus Compact advance the public purposes of over 1,000 colleges & universities by deepening their ability to improve community life and to educate students for civic and social responsibility
Board Member
Washington, DC, USA
NAICU, National Association of Independent Colleges and Universitities, is the voice of America's independent colleges & universities and has represented private, non-profit higher education since 1976.
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Board Member
New York, NY, USA
Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, founded in 1968, is led by human rights activist and lawyer Kerry Kennedy and advocates for a more just and peaceful world. Working alongside local activists to ensure lasting positive change in governments and corporations, the RFK team includes leading attorneys, advocates, entrepreneurs and writers united by a commitment to social justice.

Mark Gearan’s Education

BA Government cum laude