Higher Education and Human Resources

University president announces retirement

February 28, 2018
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Thomas Haas
Thomas Haas. Courtesy GVSU/Bernadine Carey Tucker

The president of a university in the area is retiring.

Grand Valley State University said President Thomas Haas will retire on June 30, 2019.

The university’s fourth president said the early announcement is to ensure the university’s board of trustees has adequate time to find a replacement, and he still has several projects he would like to finish before that date.

"It’s the right time to announce my retirement, but let me assure everyone, I’m as excited to come to work at Grand Valley as I’ve ever been," said Haas, 66. "I can see that there will be another chapter in my life, but it won't start for another year and a half.

“The university has amazing momentum right now. We're expanding our health campus on Grand Rapids' Medical Mile; we’re expanding our engineering programs into new space downtown; we have renewed energy to work on enrollment and retention, as the challenges in higher education grow.

"I’m engaged with my colleagues around Michigan encouraging lawmakers to increase state support for education.”

The board called a special meeting immediately following the announcement to begin the search for the fifth president.

Since Haas became president in 2006, GVSU has added 30 undergraduate programs and 16 graduate programs. It has opened the Detroit Center and added 2.5-million square feet in buildings. GVSU has 21 LEED gold, silver or platinum buildings.

"President Haas brought his wonderful mix of experiences to Grand Valley a dozen years ago, and the university has prospered under his leadership," GVSU Board of Trustees Chair John Kennedy said. "His respect for planning and public-private partnerships has created stability within the university and trustworthiness within the larger region. We recognize the challenge in front of us to find the next right president for Grand Valley, and look forward to capitalizing on Tom's leadership as he finishes his successful tenure here."

After a break following his June 2019 retirement, Haas will teach chemistry for the GVSU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The board will serve as the search committee, with Kennedy as the chair, and VP for University Relations Matthew McLogan as staff to the committee. An executive search firm will be hired to assist in locating “well-qualified and diverse candidates.”

The board will appoint an advisory committee consisting of four trustees and 11 others who are members of faculty and staff, one representative each from the Student Senate, alumni and the general public.

The Presidential Search Advisory Committee, assisted by the search firm and staff, will solicit comments from the university community and constituencies outside the university on the needs of GVSU and the qualifications for the next president.

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