Class of 2020 Commencement Speaker

President Bob Iuliano announces the Commencement speaker for the Class of 2020.

July 8, 2021

Dear Members of the Class of 2020,

It is my great honor to announce that 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 your Commencement ceremony on Sunday, September 26 of Homecoming Weekend.

Yours is a ceremony unlike any other we have held at the College, and we are excited to welcome you back to campus. The passage of time since your graduation offers the opportunity for a special moment of reflection and celebration. You are now out in the world, beginning to apply the skills you acquired and the relationships you built at Gettysburg. You ideally have begun to see more tangibly how your experience here has prepared you to think critically, to pursue your passions, and to advocate for yourself and others in the workplace and in the world. Above all else, I very much hope it has shown that you are capable of creating change and contributing to the world you aspire to see.

Given the distinctive nature of our upcoming Commencement ceremony, I can think of no better person to join us than Ms. Bright. 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. As she addresses you and your class this fall, Ms. Bright will speak from her personal and professional experiences to offer her thoughts on what it means to be a Gettysburgian, in the context of the challenges and opportunities confronting us today.

In her role with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Ms. 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, Ms. 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, Ms. 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.

Ms. Bright is a passionate and loyal supporter of her alma mater. 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, Ms. 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, Ms. 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, Ms. 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.

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. I encourage you to join your classmates, friends, and the generations of fellow Gettysburg alumni in attendance for this joyous celebration in your honor.

I look forward to congratulating you from Pennsylvania Hall on September 26!


Bob Iuliano