Peace Corps Director Named to List of Top 100 Irish Americans; Gardner Native Mark Gearan Receives Award in New York City

Washington, D.C., March 16, 1999—Just in time for St. Patrick\'s Day, Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan has been named in the April/May edition of Irish America magazine as one of the top 100 Irish Americans. He was presented with an award on Tuesday at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. The list honors those of Irish heritage who have made significant contributions in a wide diversity of life experiences. "Massachusetts native Mark Gearan was sworn in as the 14th director of the U.S. Peace Corps in September 1995, and since then he has continued to build on the agency\'s almost four decades of public service," the tribute in the magazine begins. Under Gearan\'s leadership, Congress approved a budget increase that will allow 7,400 Peace Corps volunteers to be serving by the end of September, the most volunteers to serve in 25 years. Gearan will travel to Boston later this week for the world premiere of the oratorio "Voices of Peace," presented by the Handel & Haydn Society and dedicated to the founding of the Peace Corps. The premiere will take place at Boston Symphony Hall on March 19 and 21. The annual issue of Irish America chooses Irish Americans who represent a broad range of success in a variety of areas, including politicians, entertainers, educators, doctors, philanthropists, and business people. Former Senator George Mitchell of Maine was named the Irish American of the Year. Currently, nearly 6,700 Peace Corps volunteers are serving in 80 countries, working to bring clean water to communities, teach children, help start new small businesses, and stop the spread of AIDS. Since 1961, more than 150,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps.

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