Natalie Heinitz ’16 received the Joseph J. Gunn Alumni Medal on Thursday, May 19 at Manhattan College’s Spring Honors Convocation. She will graduate summa cum laude on May 22 at the College’s 174th Commencement.
The Gunn Alumni Medal is one of the College’s highest undergraduate student honors. Since 1983, the award has been granted to a graduating student who embodies the College’s Lasallian mission, and has made a significant contribution to the College during his or her undergraduate career.
“Natalie came to Manhattan College with an awareness of the world, but also with a hunger to understand the ‘why’,” said Meg Walsh ’79, president of Manhattan College’s Alumni Society. “As she gained an understanding of the why, she realized that social justice was the ‘how’ Natalie gave of her time to improve the communities she visited on her L.O.V.E. trips, she became active in government affairs and used her communication skills to share her views on peace and social justice.”
Heinitz is a double major in communication and government and has been an extraordinarily active member of the student body during her college years. She served on the Quadrangle staff during her four years, serving as production editor for three years and as an assistant news editor and opinion and editorials editor during her time on the student newspaper staff.
Since her sophomore year, Heinitz has been involved with the Lasallian Outreach Volunteer Experience (L.O.V.E.) program, participating on service trips to Haiti, Jamaica and the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Browning, Montana. She is a member of the L.O.V.E. executive board and will lead a L.O.V.E. trip to Florida that leaves the day after she receives her Manhattan College diploma.
Heinitz also is the female student representative on the College’s Advisory Committee on Campus Safety, which has made recommendations regarding federally mandated Title IX policies, and assisted in campus communications regarding sexual assaults. She also serves as a Catholic Relief Services student ambassador, helping build campus awareness about immigration and human trafficking issues.
A native of Springfield, Virginia, Heinitz was chosen to participate in the College’s Honors Enrichment Program and has made the Dean’s List in every semester. Heinitz has interned with Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign since October 2015 and will continue on the campaign after graduation.
“Natalie has all manner of possibilities ahead of her,” says Thom Gencarelli, Ph.D., chair and professor of communication. “I am more than confident that she has the intelligence, the professionalism, the ambition, the work ethic, and the perseverance to achieve and accomplish whatever it is she sets out to do.”