Marnix Heersink was not only an outstanding athlete but also a community builder, through his philanthropic endeavours, in
Canada and the US, where he now resides. Dr. Heersink is an individual who Burlington is proud to call
one of its own.
Marnix’s youth was spent playing every sport possible. He competed in hockey, softball, soccer,
tennis, and football in minor leagues in Burlington. He also played basketball in the1965
CANUSA games. When asked what the benefits of playing so many sports are? Marnix
explained that he gained the movement skills from each sport which helped him in all athletics
and he also had the confidence to try anything, and indeed he excelled at most. Marnix
commented that he enjoyed team sports because he loved the camaraderie, understanding
team dynamics, and learning how to work with people.
Marnix excelled academically and athletically while attending Burlington Central High School
and was a key member of the basketball, football, and track teams. In 1964 Marnix was named
team captain of the Central Junior Zone 1 basketball champions and MVP of the prestigious 8
As part of the graduation ceremony, in 1965, Marnix was awarded the M.M. Robinson Medal
for his athletic and academic achievements.
After graduating, Marnix followed his older brother, Ben, to the University of Western Ontario.
While at Western he played one year of inter-collegiate soccer, but his heart was on the
basketball court and this is where he achieved fame and accolades. Marnix played varsity
basketball from 1966 to 1972 and was a three-time team MVP for the Mustangs. Marnix led
the Western Mustangs to the 1968 O-QUAA championship, winning the E.C. Lebel plaque as
playoff MVP; he was named a league all-star in 1967, 1968 and 1972 and awarded first team
Marnix was honoured in 2010 at Western University, when he was inducted into the Mustang
Backcourt Club Hall of Honour and in 2011 inducted into the John P. Metras Sports Museum,
including the “W” Hall of Fame.
An impressive athletic resume! However, it is what Marnix has achieved off the court that
truly amazes and inspires.
Marnix completed his BA, as well as his medical training at Western, graduating Magna Cum
Laude. He then completed an internship at Montreal’s Royal Victoria Hospital and residency in
Ophthalmology at the Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia.
Marnix and his wife Mary Parks Heersink moved to Dothan, Alabama, where he is the founding
partner of Eye Centre South. He specialized in cataract surgery complemented with lens
implantation and laser vision correction. Dr Heersink has professional affiliations throughout
Alabama and the southern US. Marnix and Mary have dedicated their lives to raising their
family, and supporting numerous health-related initiatives, providing opportunities and
incentives for their community and beyond.
Marnix has shown financial and leadership support by serving on many boards and institutions in
Alabama, including, among many others, The Boy Scouts of America, Troy University, and the
University of Alabama at Birmingham.
The Heersink Family Foundation has endowed scholarships and fellowships including a Cornea
Fellowship at Wills Eye Hospital, a Glaucoma Fellowship and Optometry Scholarships at the
University of Alabama at Birmingham. He also founded the Eye Education Foundation, a non-
profit educational institute for eye care professionals.
Through his philanthropic efforts, Marnix contributes to many Health Science related
endeavours. In the last two years, Dr. Heersink generously contributed to two universities, one
in his adopted home at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, which named its medical
school the Marnix E. Heersink School of Medicine, and locally at McMaster University, where
the newly- minted Marnix E. Heersink School of Biomedical Innovation and Entrepreneurship
will open in the fall of 2023.
The Heersink Family Foundation is active internationally, where it supports many cultural
endeavours from museums to music, promoting student exchange between the Netherlands
and the US through scholarships. For these efforts, they were presented with the Netherland-
America Foundation Ambassador’s Award in Washington in 2022.
Never forgetting his roots in sports, Marnix has coached multiple youth teams and was the
Middle School basketball coach for Houston Academy.
Marnix and Mary have been married for 45 years, have six adult children; one dentist and five
doctors. All of their children have in turn learned the value of volunteerism and philanthropy.
The Burlington Sports Hall of Fame is very proud to induct Dr. Marnix Heersink into the Athlete