News & Updates FORE Announcements

The Reverend LaKeesha Walrond, Ph.D., Joins FORE’s Board of Directors

September 22, 2021

We are pleased to welcome the Reverend LaKeesha Walrond, Ph.D., to FORE’s board of directors.

Dr. Walrond is the first woman and first Black woman to serve as president of the New York Theological Seminary, a 122-year-old institution known for its hands-on ministry, such as helping some 400 incarcerated men at Sing Sing Prison earn higher degrees. Dr. Walrond is also the preaching pastor at the First Corinthian Baptist Church in New York City. Under her leadership the congregation has flourished, increasing from 300 to 10,000 members; people have come not just for services, but also for the mental health programs and free co-working space she has helped to create. As an educator, speaker, and faith leader, Walrond works to engage other leaders in efforts to build community, particularly by empowering women and girls and preventing child abuse.

“Dr. Walrond has a wealth of experience building inclusive environments that promote resilience and encourage empowerment for people struggling with addiction and other mental health challenges,” says Andrea Barthwell, M.D., FORE’s board chair. “Her approach is very much aligned with FORE’s vision of empowering those with lived experience to develop and spread solutions to the opioid crisis.”

Walrond earned her undergraduate degree from Spelman College in Atlanta, Ga.; a Master of Education, a Master in School Administration, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Special Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York, N.Y.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to work in collaboration with the FORE board of directors to combat the national opioid crisis,” says Walrond. “I am hopeful that we will continue to expand in our understanding, support. and advocacy of individuals and families who need it most.”