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Trocaire College names Natalie Barnhard ’04 as Distinguished Speaker for commencement


Trocaire College is pleased to announce that the distinguished speaker for its May 2022 commencement will be Natalie Barnhard, PTA, LMT ’04.

Natalie Barnhard

Having suffered a devastating spinal cord injury in 2004 where Barnhard had to leave Western New York to receive the specialized care she needed, propelled her to start Motion Project Foundation Inc. in 2008. Today, Barnhard serves as founder and president of Motion Project Foundation, which has funded more than $300,000 in quality-of-life grants for others living with spinal cord injuries.

In 2021, Barnhard opened Motion Project: The Natalie Barnhard Center for Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation and Recovery in Cheektowaga. This neurological recovery center provides the necessary rehabilitation with specialized adaptive equipment and services for people with spinal cord injuries.

She also started the Western New York Chapter of United Spinal Association to bring much needed programs and resources to the community. Barnhard was the recipient of the Finn Bullers Advocate of the Year Award in 2021 from the United Spinal Association.

Barnhard earned her associates in Applied Science Degree in Trocaire’s massage therapy program in 2004 and was the recipient of the college’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2015. She also received her AAS degree in the physical therapy assistant program from Villa Maria College in 2002.

Trocaire will host its 67th Commencement on May 17 at 7 p.m.


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