Saint Joseph’s College announces that Mark Swann, the Executive Director of Preble Street in Portland, will speak at the 2018 Commencement; as well as receive an honorary degree. Since 1991, Swann has overseen significant growth and expansion of Preble Street in Portland from a small soup kitchen with two employees in the basement of an old church to a multi-site, comprehensive social service agency for homeless and low-income individuals and families. Preble Street has won several awards and national recognition for its dual efforts of providing basic, street-level services while also advocating for and building sustainable solutions to end homelessness and hunger. In 2012, Mark was a Congressional Medal of Honor finalist, chosen for the Citizen Service Before Self Honors recognizing “sacrifice for others through a prolonged series of selfless acts.”
President James Dlugos, Ph.D., who will confer the Honorary Doctorate of Public Service Degree to Swann, said, “As an innovative leader, Mark's work at Preble Street balances the needs of individuals with efforts to change the social structures that disadvantage those individuals. At a time when much of the world seems ready to dehumanize many of our sisters and brothers, Preble Street's work offers us all the gift of inspiration."
About the announcement, Swann said, “Compassion, justice and love are at the core of our work in serving vulnerable, underserved Mainers who struggle with homelessness, hunger and poverty. It's a great honor to be recognized by an institution like Saint Joseph's College that shares such reverence for these principles."
Prior to his work in Maine, Mark was the Director of Social Services at the International Institute of Boston, a refugee resettlement agency. Mark has a BA from Bowdoin College (1984) and a Master’s of Science in Public Affairs from UMASS Boston (1989). Mark has been a volunteer basketball coach with the Portland Recreation Department and has served on several local boards, including Spring Harbor Hospital, York-Cumberland Housing, The Board Network, the Immigration and Legal Advocacy Project, the Center for Prevention of Hate Violence, and the Atlantic Charitable Fund.
Mark lives in Portland, Maine with his wife Mary, and has three grown children and one grandson.
Caption: Preble Street Executive Director Mark Swann. Credit: Melissa Mullen Photography.