Who is Joey Hanzich (AB 2006)?
Future President. Best friend. Inspiring student. Amazing son and brother. Tennis fanatic. World-changer. Fearless dreamer. These few words offer only a glimpse into the incredible life of Joey Hanzich (Leverett House, Class of 2006). Joey left a legacy of unique accomplishment and unparalleled generosity of spirit everywhere he went.
At Harvard, he was a standout contributor to so many facets of campus life; he left a mark on the Harvard community during his four years that will always be remembered. Ranging from his admirable service and dedication to directing the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life to writing exceptional papers that would become the basis for Kennedy School case studies, Joey excelled in a unique and moving way in each area of scholarship, service and leadership. And he did all of this with an incredible smile.
As a scholar, Joey concentrated in government, with a Certificate in Health Policy and a citation in Spanish. His senior honors thesis, “A Perplexing Prescription: Precompetitive Proposals, Prescription Drugs, and the Passage of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003,” was highly acclaimed by Harvard faculty members. The thesis became the basis for a Kennedy School case study, first taught by Professor Roger Porter, with whom Joey served as a research assistant. In addition, he served as a research assistant for Steven Jarding at the Kennedy School.
Joey was very active in volunteer work and community service. He directed the Relay for Life fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, provided Spanish language interpretation support for the Hale and Dorr Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School, and played the bassoon to entertain nursing home patients. In addition to his leadership in the Harvard College Democrats, he was a staff writer to both the Harvard Political Review and the Harvard International Review, and received numerous best delegate awards at Harvard Model United Nations conferences. During his summers, he worked for Mayor Beverly O’Neill of Long Beach, CA on an IOP grant, Senator Edward Kennedy with a prestigious Harvard IOP Director’s grant, and the Chilean National Health Fund on a David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies grant.
In addition to all of these impressive accomplishments, Joey was renowned at Harvard for his kindness towards others, his sense of humor, and his devotion to his family, friends, professors, classmates, and teammates. His scholastic and leadership awards were numerous as he not only graduated Phi Beta Kappa, served as a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship, and also received a Harvard Cambridge Scholarship to study at the University of Cambridge where he earned a master’s degree in public health. An avid basketball and tennis fan, he captained many Leverett House intramural sports teams and played for Pembroke College during his time at Cambridge. Upon completing his master’s degree, Joey ventured upon a lifelong dream to attend law school.
Tragically, on September 13, 2007 during his second week at Yale Law, Joey passed away from a heart attack during one of his favorite activities, playing basketball with friends. It is now up to us to honor Joey and embrace his legacy. There is no doubt that this man who diligently pursued the ideals of excellence and humanity will forever be remembered. Joey’s inspirational story has motivated supporters to develop various awards in his name, including this Fellowship at Harvard – a permanent endowment that is dedicated to supporting outstanding undergraduate scholars at Harvard who share Joey’s ideals of excellence in health policy and public service.
"I am thankful to be taught not how the world is, but rather how it can be."
–Joey Hanzich, September 8, 2007
(6/13/84 – 9/13/07)