Alumni elect Felicia Norwood ’89 J.D. to serve on Yale’s Board of Trustees

Norwood, a corporate leader, was elected in a worldwide balloting of university graduates. She begins a six-year term on July 1.
Felicia Norwood

Felicia Norwood

Felicia F. Norwood ’89 J.D., a business executive and expert in law and policy, has been elected to serve as an alumni fellow of Yale’s Board of Trustees, known formally as the Yale Corporation, in a worldwide balloting of university graduates. She begins a six-year term on July 1.

Norwood is executive vice president and president of government health benefits at Elevance Health (formerly Anthem, Inc.), where she oversees the insurance provider’s Medicaid and Medicare businesses — work that she has called “the perfect marriage of passion and profession,” as it allows her to continue a lifelong interest in reducing health disparities and improving health in marginalized communities. Elevance Health serves over 46 million people, with its Medicaid and Medicare portfolios supporting more than 12 million.

Her thirty-year career in health care and policy began not long after graduating from Yale Law School, when she became the Illinois governor’s senior policy advisor for health and human services. She then spent nineteen years at Aetna — rising from government relations counsel to president of the company’s mid-American region. She returned to public service as director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, before moving on to her current position.

Eligible Yale alumni vote each year to elect one new alumni fellow to the Yale Corporation, the university’s governing board and policymaking body.

Felicia has worked tirelessly over many years to improve health equity for millions of people, and to make a meaningful change in our society in both the private sector and through public service,” said Yale President Peter Salovey. “Her deep commitment to Yale and its mission is clear, as is her thoughtful approach leading complex organizations. I know that she will be an excellent addition to the board.”

Norwood earned her bachelor’s degree at Valdosta State University and a master’s degree in political science at the University of Wisconsin. During her time at Yale Law School, she was involved with the Black Law Students Association, what she has called a “family within the Yale family.”

Norwood’s service to Yale has included membership on both the Yale Law School Fund Board and the Yale Law School Executive Committee. In addition, Norwood sits on the board of Wells Fargo, for which she serves on committees on risk and on corporate responsibility, and she previously held a directorship with Hill-Rom Holdings, a U.S.-based medical technology provider.

In recent years, she has been recognized by Black Enterprise magazine as one of the Most Powerful Women in Corporate America; by Savoy magazine in its listings of Most Influential Black Corporate Directors, Most Influential Black Leaders in Corporate America, and Most Influential Black Executives in Corporate America; by WomenInc. as one of its Most Influential Women Corporate Directors; and by the 2024 Becker’s Healthcare list of Black Healthcare Executives to Know. 

Norwood lives in Indianapolis with her husband, Garry R. Karch, who is head of employee ownership trust services at the London-based law firm Doyle Clayton. Devoted tennis fans, they have attended all four of the sport’s grand slam tournaments.

She looks forward to helping to fulfill Yale’s mission, Norwood has said, particularly its work to educate aspiring leaders who will serve all sectors of society.

Every day I think we witness the importance of leadership in this world, particularly here at home,” she said. “And I think that being able to be a part of an organization and institution that is helping to create that next generation of leaders is very important.”

Candidates for alumni fellow are selected from nominations submitted by alumni from around the world to the Alumni Fellow Nominating Committee, a standing committee of the Yale Alumni Association. (The committee is composed of alumni from across the university’s schools and departments, the secretary of the university, and the vice president for alumni affairs and development.) All alumni are encouraged to submit their nominations of qualified candidates through the online alumni fellow nominations form.

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