Gerri Slater ’78
Syracuse University shaped Gerri Slater’s professional and personal identity in many ways—from her student years and an unconventional career path, to becoming an SU parent and active volunteer.
Beyond the lasting friendships she made, Slater recalls several memorable experiences from attending Syracuse in the late 1970s. “Doing the first news shift of the day at WAER was an adrenaline rush, working under the pressure of writing, editing, and reading the news on air,” she says. “I was also part of the Sour Sitrus Society and had the unique experience of performing, supporting, and traveling with the Orange basketball team. Making the post-season every year definitely gave me the thrill of victory and agony of defeat.”
Perhaps one of the greatest ways Syracuse influenced Slater, a broadcast journalism graduate from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, was her route into the financial services industry. “It goes back to a summer internship which changed my career trajectory. Working for a TV news program, I found I was more interested in the business aspect of the industry than being ‘on air,’” she says. “I came back to school my senior year and took as many business electives as I could. Fortunately, my communications skills helped me land my first job in banking.”
Slater has worked in various roles for Bank of America (BOA) and its affiliates for her entire professional career, spanning over 30 years. Today she leads many of BOA’s business integration efforts, serving the financial needs of individuals, companies, and institutions by connecting them with capabilities across BOA businesses in local markets.
Slater has always loved the University because of her experiences, but she never anticipated the feelings of watching her daughter choose Syracuse. “Her decision was her own, but I couldn’t believe it when she said it was the only school she wanted to attend,” Slater says. “I’ll never forget the special mother-daughter trip we took to visit SU when she was a junior in high school. Being able to show her the special places from my time there in addition to the official campus tour just rekindled my love for the ’Cuse.”
For the next four years Slater relived the Syracuse experience through her daughter’s eyes, further solidifying her strong Orange bond—and she’ll always cherish the memory of having her own mother return to campus after three decades for her granddaughter’s graduation in 2014.
With a lifetime of fruitful and heartwarming experiences, Slater has been committed to giving back to the University. “I’ve been very fortunate and owe a lot to my time at the University, so I wanted to do something in return. I started with small contributions, which have grown over time, but still wanted to do more,” Slater says. “When the opportunity came to volunteer my time with the regional council, I grabbed it.”
Slater was recently named chair of Syracuse’s Boston Regional Council and is eager to continue raising the University’s profile in the area. “Boston has many first-rate universities, but it also has a significant number of people with Syracuse University connections, and I’d like to see more of our local community members strengthen that bond,” she says. “We’re already planning our first immersion program for students this spring, and the regional council will be heavily involved. With so much happening on campus, including the changing physical footprint, this is a great time to further solidify SU’s Boston ties.”