Mark Gearan, who’s spent his career in politics and academia, is the new director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School.
Gearan, who grew up in Gardner and worked on former Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis’s 1988 presidential campaign, will begin at the IOP in March.
“At Harvard, we believe in the power of public service to transform our societies for the better,” Harvard’s president, Drew Faust, said in a statement. “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 was headquarters press secretary for Dukakis during the governor’s failed presidential bid and later served as White House deputy chief of staff and director of communications in the Clinton administration. He left the White House in 1995 to become director of the Peace Corps, and in 1999 became president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, a post he held for 18 years.
“The mission to inspire and prepare Harvard students to become leaders in politics and public service could not be more important,” Gearan, a Harvard alum, said in a statement. “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.”