North­eastern Uni­ver­sity alumnus Patrick Gaston, pres­i­dent of the Ver­izon Foun­da­tion, has been named exec­u­tive in res­i­dence with the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund.

Gaston, MBA’92, hopes to play a sig­nif­i­cant role in his native country’s recovery from last year’s dev­as­tating earthquake.

I have always wanted an oppor­tu­nity to con­tribute to Haiti in a larger and impactful way, and I think this is the greatest oppor­tu­nity for me to do that,” Gaston said. “I’m hon­ored, hum­bled and excited.”

As a senior advisor to the Haiti Fund, Gaston will take on a mul­ti­fac­eted role involving global out­reach to increase aware­ness and gen­erate finan­cial sup­port for Haiti. He will assess invest­ments and ensure they align with the organization’s goal to help the country strengthen its economy and drive eco­nomic empow­er­ment. Gaston will also iden­tify busi­nesses and indus­tries in the cor­po­rate com­mu­nity to bol­ster that effort.

In addi­tion, Gaston will focus on building a grass­roots aware­ness cam­paign, and inves­ti­gate ways to leverage new tech­nology to gen­erate addi­tional fundraising and support.

His one-​​year post begins Jan. 17.

After the earth­quake last Jan­uary, Pres­i­dent Barack Obama approached former Pres­i­dents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush about orga­nizing a global fundraising effort, leading to the non­profit organization’s estab­lish­ment. Ver­izon, the New York-​​based global telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pany, was one of the first cor­po­ra­tions to respond to the crisis, with con­tri­bu­tions now top­ping more than $1.3 million.

Gaston was born in Port-​​au-​​Prince, Haiti, and moved to the United States with his family in 1967 at age 9. He said his life­long con­nec­tion to the country, where some rel­a­tives still live, has fueled his desire to spur global engage­ment in its future and help Haitians rebuild their lives.

Gaston attended Northeastern’s Col­lege of Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion part-​​time while working at New Eng­land Tele­phone Co. He rose through the ranks of that orga­ni­za­tion, which, as NYNEX, merged with Bell Atlantic in 1996 to form Ver­izon Communications.

He fondly recalled not only learning from his pro­fes­sors and col­leagues, but also the university’s emphasis on excel­lence. He also studied in France while working toward his MBA.

I was always inter­ested in the global aspects of busi­ness,” he said. “I wound up learning a great deal.”

Under Gaston’s direc­tion, the Ver­izon Foun­da­tion, the company’s phil­an­thropic arm, has col­lab­o­rated with North­eastern to achieve pos­i­tive social change. He launched Ver­izon Thinkfinity—a web­site that mar­shals twenty-​​first-​​century tech­nology to improve K-​​12 edu­ca­tion and stu­dent achieve­ment. Col­lege of Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion mar­keting pro­fes­sors Richard Hanna and Scott Swain have been tapped, through a grant, to study how the site could max­i­mize its ability to meet teachers’ and stu­dents’ needs.

In October 2009, the School of Law’s Domestic Vio­lence Insti­tute also received a grant from the Ver­izon Foun­da­tion to sup­port sur­vivors of domestic vio­lence in Massachusetts.