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Hobart and William Smith Colleges leadership change: Jacobsen is leaving, Gearan is coming back

 Former Hobart and William Smith Colleges president Mark Gearan is returning to replace Joyce Jacobsen as president.
Composite from provided
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National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service / Kevin Colton, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Former Hobart and William Smith Colleges president Mark Gearan is returning to replace Joyce Jacobsen as president.

A surprise leadership change is coming to Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva.

In an email to the campus community on Tuesday, Hobart and William Smith Colleges President Joyce Jacobsen announced that she will step down as president of the Colleges. Following a one-semester sabbatical, Jacobsen will join the faculty as a Professor of Economics.

In an email that followed shortly, from the Hobart and William Smith Colleges Board of Trustees, the co-chairs announced that Professor Emeritus of the Colleges Mark Gearan will return as the 30th president of Hobart and 19th president of William Smith.

Jacobsen joined Hobart and William Smith as president in 2019. In their email, the Board of Trustees noted her leadership throughout the pandemic as well as her accomplishments in curricular development, athletics enhancements and philanthropy, recent record-breaking years in fundraising.

After leaving the Colleges in 2017, Gearan served as President in Residence at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and in 2018 was appointed Director of the Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School.

At the time of his departure, he was the longest serving president in the Colleges’ history. He had that position for 18 years.

Previously, Gearan’s background includes a stint in the Clinton White House as Assistant to the President and Director of Communications and Strategic Planning.

He also served as director of the Peace Corps from 1995 to 1999.

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Randy Gorbman is WXXI's Director of News and Public Affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.
Kelly Walker started his public radio career at WBAA in West Lafayette, Indiana in 1985 and has spent some time in just about every role public broadcasting has to offer. He has spent substantive time in programming and development at KWMU in St. Louis, WFIU in Bloomington, Indiana, and Troy Public Radio in Alabama before his arrival in Geneva, New York. In addition, his work has been heard on many other public radio stations as well as NPR. Kelly also produces The Sundilla Radio Hour, which airs Sundays at 1 p.m. on Finger Lakes Public Radio and is distributed to public radio stations all over the country through PRX.