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Speaker Series


October 13, 2010

Click here to download the videos & audio podcasts of all of our speaker series events.


Senior Political Analyst
Learn more about David Gergen.



Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation
Learn more about Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation.



Paulette Goddard Professor of Public Service
NYU Wagner School of Public Service

Bios (PDF)
Learn more about NYU Wagner.

A White House adviser, journalist, and teacher over the past 40 years, DAVID GERGEN has served in the administrations of Presidents Nixon and Ford; was director of communications for President Reagan, and served as counselor to President Clinton on both foreign policy and domestic affairs. He is a professor of public service at the Harvard Kennedy School, and the director of its Center for Public Leadership.

Gergen, a longtime commentator, now a CNN senior political analyst, wrote the bestselling book, Eyewitness to Power: The Essence of Leadership, Nixon to Clinton. He is currently working on a book about leadership challenges facing the country.

A member of the District of Columbia bar, he is an honors graduate of Yale University and the Harvard Law School. Gergen is active on a dozen non-profit boards and has been awarded 19 honorary degrees.

CATHERINE B. REYNOLDS played a pivotal role in creating the private student loan market that today provides affordable financing for millions of students to attend college. Her bold vision twenty years ago looked to vast private sector resources for funding, eliminated the need for federal guarantees and brought entrepreneurial flair to a business defined by government regulation. Mrs. Reynolds introduced the first asset-backed securitization structure for student loans in Wall Street history, which resulted in billions of dollars in AAA bond offerings and a multi-billion-dollar annual capital market.

In an effort to provide financial products to help produce an educated citizenry, her companies developed a state-of-the-art loan origination system and creative programs that work with the financial rhythm of the family. Additionally, Mrs. Reynolds founded Servus Financial Corporation, an innovative financial services company that provided "private labeled" financial products for many of America's largest companies featuring direct to consumer marketing initiatives.

Mrs. Reynolds is also a leader in the world of philanthropy. After the sale of Servus to Wells Fargo in March 2000, the Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation was established as one of the largest foundations in the nation. She was named by Business Week magazine as one of the 50 most philanthropic living Americans, and the first self-made woman to make that list. This year, Mrs. Reynolds' efforts on behalf of higher education have been recognized by honorary degrees from Morehouse College and Willamette University, and the presentation of a gold medal on the occasion of her induction as a member of The Sir Harold Acton Society of New York University.

Catherine Reynolds is the Host Chairman of the American Academy of Achievement's annual International Achievement Summit. The Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation is a major benefactor of a number of organizations, including the National Gallery of Art, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Ford's Theatre, the D.C. College Access Program, the Black Student Fund, the Washington Metropolitan Scholars, Teach for America, and the Reynolds Foundation Fellows for Social Entrepreneurship at Harvard and NYU. A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Mrs. Reynolds is a graduate of Vanderbilt University.

PAUL C. LIGHT is Paulette Goddard Professor of Public Service at New York University's Wagner School of Public Service. Before joining NYU, he was vice president and director of governmental studies at the Brookings Institution, and founding director of its Center for Public Service.

Professor Light has held teaching posts at the University of Virginia, University of Minnesota, and Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. He was also senior adviser to the U.S. Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, and director of the public policy grant program at the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Professor Light is the author of A Government Ill Executed: The Decline of the Federal Service and How to Reverse It (Harvard University Press).