Salem, OR— Mary Louise VanNatta, CEO of VanNatta Public Relations, was awarded Willamette University’s 2023 Distinguished Alumni Citation Professional Achievement Award. As a Willamette Alumni, VanNatta graduated with a triple major in Political Science, International Studies, and Spanish in 1986.

VanNatta received her recognition from Willamette President Steve Thorsett during Alumni Weekend on June 16, 2023.

This outstanding alumni award was granted in recognition of VanNatta’s award-winning, 40 years career experience.  She was previously honored as 2020’s “Woman of Vision” by the Oregon Daily Journal of Commerce, Distinguished Service from the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce and multiple awards from the Public Relations Society of America.

VanNatta is a generational alumnus following her parents’ and grandparents’ footsteps of graduating from Willamette University. “Willamette was always a part of our family. It’s generation after generation of people building on positive environmental, social, and political philosophies that last beyond ourselves, and I learned that at Willamette,” said VanNatta.

VanNatta Public Relations is a PR Agency in Salem that also helps plan events for nonprofit organizations, expands the company’s consumer outreach, and commits itself to helping businesses thrive. They have consulted with major organizations like the NFL, NBA, and Salem’s Fire Foundation. The firm has also won additional awards from the Public Relations Society Spotlight Awards, Oregon Business Magazine Powerbook and received the SEDCOR (Strategic Economic Development Corporation) award in 2021.

“I wanted to do something that would make a difference in the world, and I found that public relations is a way I can do that,” said VanNatta. As VanNatta continues to grow her company to help local organizations highlight their purpose to their clients,  VanNatta does the same to continue her growth using the skills she learned at Willamette University

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