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September 11, 2003 - Grand Rapids, Michigan (September 10, 2003) - Rev. George Heartwell, Aquinas College's director of the Community Leadership Institute, has been elected Grand Rapids' new mayor. Heartwell won 84-percent of the votes cast in Tuesday's (Sept. 9) primary election, far outdistancing his two election opponents. By capturing more than 50% of the primary election votes, Heartwell automatically wins the mayoral race. He will take office in January 2004, assuming the duties of current mayor, John Logie.

Rev. Heartwell, 54, a Grand Rapids' City Commissioner for eight years, came to Aquinas in 1999. He developed the Community Leadership Institute in fall of that year and launched classes in January of 2000. The program works with Aquinas students, introducing them to the social, political, economic and institutional issues that confront community residents. Heartwell is also credited with establishing the lead-poisoning prevention initiative "Get The Lead Out!"

Last spring, Rev. Heartwell was honored by the Child and Family Resource Council for his personal and professional efforts on behalf of children advocacy.

Consistently ranked as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the Midwest by U.S. News and World Report, Aquinas College offers an approach to learning and living that teaches students unlimited ways of seeing the world. Founded in 1886 by the Dominican Sisters of Grand Rapids, the College's Dominican tradition of working, service and lifelong learning remains alive today in a diverse student body. Students from more than 20 states and 12 foreign countries are enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs. Within six months of graduation, nearly all graduates are in full-time jobs, enrolled in professional schools of law, medicine, or dentistry, or in a master or doctoral program.