Lauren Wise Bright ’90, general counsel of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and director of the Foundation’s Washington, D.C., Office will speak at the Commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020 on Sept. 26th—the Sunday of Homecoming Weekend.
The ceremony will take place rain or shine on Beachem Portico on the north side of Pennsylvania Hall.
“Throughout her distinguished career, she has personified the highest ideals of a Gettysburg education. Her life offers a compelling example of the transformative impact Gettysburgians can have on this campus, on their profession, and on society at large,” Gettysburg College President Bob Iuliano said. “I’d like to express my deepest thanks to Ms. Bright for accepting my invitation, and so generously stepping forward to share her story and wisdom with this inspiring Class of 2020.”
About the speaker:
In her role with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bright leads the Foundation’s legal department, overseeing a broad range of domestic and international legal, regulatory, and policy matters, and is responsible for general operations of the Foundation’s Washington, D.C., office.
Prior to joining the Foundation in 2005, Bright counseled professional societies, public charities, trade associations, and other nonprofit organizations at Shawn Pittman, LLP (now Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman) on a wide range of federal and state legal issues. During the course of her career, she has represented national education associations and institutions of higher education on legislative and regulatory matters before Congress and United States administrative agencies. She earned a J.D. from Villanova University School of Law.
At Gettysburg College, Bright was an active member of the Black Student Union, Delta Gamma sorority, the College Choir, and Owl & Nightingale. She graduated in 1990 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science.
“Gettysburg College has given so much to me, personally and professionally. I am truly honored and even more excited to speak at this very special Commencement Ceremony, in celebration of the Class of 2020,” Bright said.
In 2013, she began her service on the College’s Alumni Board of Directors, which included three years as a general member, one year as secretary, and ultimately three years as president. Given her position as president, she had an ex-officio role on the Gettysburg College Board of Trustees from 2017-2020. During this time, she offered exceptional leadership and thoughtful insights as a member of the Academic Affairs Committee; Audit, Compliance and Risk Committee; Gettysburg Great Campaign Leadership Committee; and Presidential Search Committee.
In 2020, upon completion of her term as Alumni Board of Directors president, Bright became a full Board member. She now serves as the Vice Chair for the Enrollment & Educational Services Committee; Governance and Nominating Committee; and Endowment Committee.
Above all, Bright’s longstanding commitments to Gettysburg College have centered around assuring a dynamic and rewarding student experience, so all Gettysburgians may apply their education to lead fulfilling lives and forge meaningful careers out in the world. Over the years, she has generously volunteered her time and expertise on behalf of the Garthwait Leadership Center and the Center for Career Engagement, in addition to various Reunion committees. A dedicated steward of the institution, Bright has consistently supported the College through the Gettysburg Fund and a number of special campus initiatives, including the Student Emergency Fund amid the pandemic.
For more information about Commencement for the Class of 2020, please refer to the Commencement website. It will be updated frequently in the weeks leading up to the ceremony.
Photos by Shawna Sherrell and Jason Minick