Dare To Dream

April 24, 2006
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Last week it was hometown boys RichDeVos and PeterSecchia snaring major awards from the Woodrow Wilson Institute. This week kicks off with another biggie.

RalphHauenstein has lived an extraordinary life that exemplifies service and leadership. That life, which includes working as chief intelligence officer in Europe during World War II and turning a successful entrepreneurial career into growing philanthropic ventures, will be honored tonight by the Jamestown Foundation.

Former Michigan Gov. JohnEngler and award-winning author and historian RichardNortonSmith , former director of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, will be guest speakers for the reception in Washington, D.C.

West Michigan and GrandValleyStateUniversity have been recipients of Hauenstein's generosity and his desire to inspire a new generation of leaders devoted to public service. The university carries out this mission with the HauensteinCenter for Presidential Studies.

"Ralph Hauenstein's story illustrates why the Greatest Generation is indeed the greatest," said GleavesWhitney, director of the HauensteinCenter for Presidential Studies. "His life is the embodiment of the American Dream. Besides recognizing Ralph's brilliantly successful business career, we honor him as a hero in the struggles against racism, the Great Depression and totalitarianism."

The reception also marks the newly published book, "Intelligence was My Line, Inside Eisenhower's Other Command," as told to DonaldMarkle by Ralph Hauenstein.

During the Second World War, the former city editor of the Grand Rapids Herald rose to the rank of colonel and served under General Dwight Eisenhower as chief of the Intelligence Branch in the Army's European theater of operations. In 1945, he was among the first Americans into liberated Paris, war-torn Germany, and Nazi concentration camps. After the war, Hauenstein saw opportunities to build bridges between the United States and a Europe devastated by war. He went into international trade and partnered with European enterprises to provide goods and services to consumers in Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere where democracies were struggling. A risk-taker, he underwrote a modern bakery in, of all places, Haiti, providing jobs for hundreds of workers and thousands of individual distributors at a difficult time in that nation's history. He also set up a school in Florida that taught people from developing countries how to run a fully-automated bakery and provide good jobs in their local economy.

By his own admission, Hauenstein has never retired. At the age of 94, he works almost every day and is active in numerous causes. He served as an auditor at the Second Vatican Council in Rome, was part of the team that supervised the first free elections in Russia, and contributes to numerous charitable causes. His philanthropy has benefited a variety of organizations devoted to medical research and to education.

  • Get rid of a ban on dancing and now look what happens. CornerstoneUniversity is spreading its wings (just a little bit) and creating a new division that offers journalism, media and theater majors.

What's next, smoking on campus?

Well, not yet. But students of the communications and fine arts will be able to expand their horizons with help from some local talent that has some pretty good credentials.

DaveAnderson, the founder of Compass Arts Institute in Grand Rapids, will be teaching media-film emphasis. Anderson did some consulting work for Pyramid Films and the Oxford Film division of Paramount Pictures in the late '70s, and created and incorporated many techniques for film marketing during the development days of video. His filmography includes more than 380 titles.

AlBlanchard teaches journalism, advises the campus newspaper staff and coordinates the summer high school Cornerstone Journalism Institute. His newspaper experience in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and New Mexico is extensive, ranging from reporter to publisher. In fact, Blanchard still owns the Clare (Mich.) Sentinel.

Also, there is no truth to the rumor that it will be called the RushLimbaughSchool of Journalism.

  • The West Michigan Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America handed out 29 PRoof Awards at its annual ceremony last week.

Top honors went to McLoughlin Public Relations' "Rethinking the Garage in the American Home" marketing program; Alticor Inc.'s internal communication package, "INFORM: What in the world is going on?"; and Mackinac Straits Hospital and Health Center's millage fact postcard.

Latricia Stockard of the Grand Rapids Convention & Visitors Bureau was named Newcomer of the Year. The Grand Rapids Press development reporter ChrisKnape was named Journalist of the Year. (By the way, it's not a scoop if you are given the information two days before the competition.)

Betty Pritchard, a professor at GrandValleyStateUniversity, and Ruth Steele-Walker, public relations manager at Foremost Insurance, received Lifetime Achievement awards. Both will retire this year, with Steele-Walker assuming a role at Due North Marketing Communications in Omena (it's near Traverse City).

GrandValley student Lisa Travnik won the Hal Walton Scholarship.

For her work with the Kalamazoo Promise, Janice Brown of the Kalamazoo Public Schools was honored as Communicator of the Year.    

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