The president of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust will be the keynote speaker for East Carolina University’s Fall Commencement Ceremony, the university announced this week.
Dr. Laura Gerald will speak to graduating students during the ceremonies beginning at 9 a.m. on Friday in Minges Coliseum.
Gerald joined the Reynolds Charitable Trust in 2016 and oversees grantmaking of $24 million annually from assets of more than $570 million. The trust was created to help achieve Reynolds’ vision of improving the health and quality of life of vulnerable North Carolinians.
A pediatrician who was born and raised in rural North Carolina, Gerald now manages such programs as Healthy Places NC, an initiative to improve health in rural counties; and Great Expectations, an early childhood effort in Forsyth County.
“As the outstanding leader of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, Dr. Gerald knows ECU and its mission very well,” said Dr. Ron Mitchelson, interim chancellor. “She and the trust have been very supportive of ECU’s efforts to improve health in rural and underserved areas of North Carolina.”
Gerald holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges, a medical degree from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and a Master of Public Health degree from Harvard University School of Public Health.
She began her career as a pediatrician in her hometown of Lumberton before turning her attention to statewide health efforts including Community Care of North Carolina and the N.C. Health and Wellness Trust Fund Commission. By 2014, Gerald was overseeing statewide health policy serving as the state health director and the director of the Division of Public Health.
At the national level she has worked at Evolent Health, partnering with health systems across the country to transform health care delivery on a pathway to more value-based care.
Gerald has served on the boards of Grantmakers in Health, the Southeastern Council of Foundations and the N.C. Network of Grantmakers. She is a board-certified pediatrician and fellow in the American Academy of Pediatrics and an adjunct assistant professor at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.