Volunteer Profile: Michael Hengerer (GAL '16, LAW '23)
March 15, 2023
“NYU has given so much to me—top-rate undergraduate and legal educations; invaluable skills and life lessons; a strong set of values to guide me in a successful life; exciting experiences around the world; and a vibrant, supportive community. These are just the benefits that can be reduced to words; the true value of NYU is indescribable,” says Michael Hengerer (GAL ’16, LAW ’23) [he/him/his]. Michael is a current student and active alum, the newly-appointed secretary of the NYU Alumni Association (NYUAA) Board of Directors, and co-chair of the Board’s NYU Fundraising Committee, which supports One Day, our 24-hour annual day of giving (this year on March 30!).
It is this profound dedication to NYU and giving back that propels Michael to stay involved as a Violet volunteer, “I give back as a way to recognize and appreciate the value that I have gotten out of the University, as well as to ensure that future generations of students can create their own life-altering experiences at NYU” he says.
In addition to his service at NYU, professionally Michael has worked in numerous roles in a wide variety of fields, including finance and law, and his philanthropic endeavors expand across several venerable organizations.
Read more about how and why Michael became involved with the NYUAA, his decision to return to NYU as a law student, the NYU memories that have stayed with him over the years, and much more.
How did you first become involved as an NYU alumni volunteer?
I was involved as a student leader during my time as an undergraduate student, and wanted to remain involved when I graduated. I attended a few alumni events and spoke with alumni staff and volunteers, and quickly became engaged in various committees and groups.
What are you most excited about in your new role with the NYUAA Board?
Serving on the Board for the past six years has been so meaningful because of the inspiring alumni that I have met and the excitement that I have seen in alumni as they reconnect with the University and with this vibrant community. There is nearly endless opportunity when it comes to enhancing engagement within the NYU alumni community; I see this new role as an even greater platform to do so.
What motivated you to get involved with the NYU Fundraising Committee?
I see giving as a critical part of being an engaged alum. Attending alumni events and meeting other alumni has continued to inspire me to support this institution. On the other hand, contributing to NYU has made me feel even more invested in the University, and makes me excited about being an active member of the alumni community. I joined the Fundraising Committee because I wanted to help reshape the conversation around giving; it is not something we do once a year out of obligation, but rather something that comes naturally from the pride and connection we feel for NYU.
Can you share a little bit about your decision to return to NYU for Law School?
I transferred to NYU Law after spending my first year at another very fine law school; one which would have given me a good education and a strong career. Nevertheless, I felt the pull of NYU and could not resist coming back. An NYU education—no matter the school—is unique; we don’t study in a vacuum, rather we learn and explore different academic areas in order to understand and better our community. I knew this as a Gallatin student and I knew it would be the same as a Law student.
How does it feel to be a student and active alum at the same time?
Having had a few years to reflect on my time at NYU as an undergraduate student, I came to appreciate even more the amazing opportunity to learn from the world-class faculty that this University attracts. I’ve gotten the chance to really invest in my academic interests in a way that I was perhaps too young to when I was here the first time around. Being a student again with the perspective that I have gained as an alum is an incredibly rewarding experience.
Why would you encourage other alumni—especially new grads—to get involved?
As you spend time away from NYU you will come to appreciate just how unique this place is. The people in this community look at the world in a different way, seeing not roadblocks and reasons for divisions, but rather opportunities for change and collaboration. Remaining a part of this community will help you bring that perspective with you wherever you go next in the world, and will serve you well personally and professionally.
What’s your proudest (or most fun) moment as an alumni volunteer?
Seeing the floor shake on the 10th floor of Kimmel as hundreds of alumni danced at an Alumni Weekend party. I realized then how special our community is, and how important it is to create opportunities to bring alumni together.
What is something your fellow alumni would be surprised to know about you?
I have run the New York City Marathon twice!
What is your favorite NYU memory?
My admissions tour on March 25, 2011. It was a beautiful spring day, and while I could not quite put my finger on it, I began to realize while walking around Washington Square Park that this was the place for me. Our tour later ran into then-President John Sexton. John talked to us about (and I paraphrase) an ineffable quality that NYU possesses, and warned us that going to college in the middle of New York City is not the right experience for many, and that we should not apply if it was not the experience we wanted. On the other hand, he explained, if that experience appealed to us, there was no other place to get such a unique educational experience. I have had countless memories since, but that admissions tour sticks in my mind at the moment that I knew that this was my place.
What is your favorite:
- Food? Homemade pasta
- Book? My Ina Garten cookbooks
- TV Show and/or Movie? Arrested Development
- Song and/or Musical Artist? Adele. My favorite song of hers is “When We Were Young.” “To Be Loved” is also stellar; it moves me every time I listen to it. For something more upbeat, “Dancing in the Moonlight” (Toploader remix). And “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” is the song that I sing in the car (sorry to all who have experienced this)
- Way to spend a Saturday? Preparing for a dinner party
- Place to travel? London
- Place on the NYU campus? The courtyard of Vanderbilt Hall (at the Law School)