Back to News Mount Saint Vincent Presents First Kathleen Tracey, S.C. Medal for Service and Leadership

Mount Saint Vincent Presents First Kathleen Tracey, S.C. Medal for Service and Leadership


Riverdale, N.Y. – On May 19, the eve of its 105th Commencement, the College of Mount Saint Vincent was proud to present its first Kathleen Tracey, S.C. Medal for Service and Leadership to a graduating senior in the natural sciences. The award—named in honor of beloved Mount community member Kathleen Tracey, S.C.—recognizes the honoree’s exemplary service and leadership in the Mount’s Division of Natural Sciences.

This year, Gabriela Mendoza ’17 received the honor.

Earlier this year, Ms. Mendoza, a native of Yonkers, N.Y., was among five students who presented their original genetic research at the 58th Annual Drosophila Research Conference in San Diego, CA. Sponsored by the Genetics Society of America, the Drosophila Research Conference is the preeminent meeting for Drosophila researchers.

On May 10, Ms. Mendoza presented her research titled “Forms of Scrapie Propagation” during the Mount’s seventh annual Student Research and Service Symposium.

The medal’s namesake, Sister Tracey, is Professor Emerita of Biology. As Associate Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Public Relations for more than two decades, Sister Tracey has served as a cornerstone in the Mount’s fundraising efforts.

Additionally, Sister Tracey is a proud Mount alumna, having graduated from the College in 1948. After joining the Sisters of Charity of New York shortly after graduation, she earned her Ph.D. in biology from Fordham University. Sister Tracey then completed post-doctorate programs at the Universities of Chicago, Tennessee, and Illinois before returning to the Mount’s science department, where she became its chair in 1976. She held the post for three independent terms — from 1976 to 1984, in 2006, and from 2008 to 2010. As chair of the Mount’s Cooperative Program with Manhattan College, which ended in 2006, Sister Tracey taught generations of both Mount and Manhattan College students.

​“Sister Tracey embodies every strength and quality the College celebrates,” said Mount President Charles L. Flynn, Jr. “A path-breaking scholar, she created one of the first undergraduate programs in marine biology in the country. With Fr. James Griffin, she also taught the first undergraduate bioethics course anywhere.”

President Flynn added that Sister Tracey inspired students to pursue graduate school in biology, genetics, medicine, and biochemistry. “She remembers every one of those students, their siblings, their parents, their cousins, everyone,” President Flynn said. “She was demanding. She was loving…and the students and colleagues loved her back. She shows us all that rigor and compassion are not only compatible, but demand each other. This medal is one way of celebrating Sister Tracey, and it is a way of celebrating the virtues Sister Tracey embodies in our current students.”

About the College of Mount Saint Vincent
Founded in 1847 by the Sisters of Charity, the College of Mount Saint Vincent offers nationally recognized liberal arts education and a select array of professional fields of study on a landmark campus overlooking the Hudson River. Committed to the education of the whole person, and enriched by the unparalleled cultural, educational, and career opportunities of New York City, the College equips students with the knowledge, skills, and experiences necessary for lives of professional accomplishment, service, and leadership in the 21st century.