Education and Government

College receives $1M gift

November 6, 2015
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Tammy Huizenga and J.C. Huizenga. Courtesy GVSU

A university center has received a $1-million gift from a local married couple with decades of experience as business owners.

Grand Valley State University said today that its Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies was given the gift from J.C. Huizenga and Tammy Huizenga in honor of the center’s namesake, Ralph Hauenstein, and to support the center’s continued impact on emerging leaders.

"Finest young people"

The Hauenstein Center will allocate the $1-million gift toward expanding the impact the center has in West Michigan and across the country, while it continues to provide programming to develop “ethical, effective leaders for the 21st century."

Gleaves Whitney, director at the Hauenstein Center, said the "extraordinary gift" will help the center achieve its mission of expanding its reach.

“The Hauenstein Center is dedicated to enlarging Col. Hauenstein’s legacy of leadership and service to the students, emerging leaders and citizens we can reach,” Whitney said.

Karen Loth, VP for development at GVSU, said the gift will "significantly" help to carry out Hauenstein’s vision, which is "very much needed in today’s world."

“We are extremely grateful to the Huizengas for their generous gift,” Loth said. “This is really an investment in the finest young people in the region.”


Both J.C. and Tammy Huizenga serve as directors for the Grand Valley University Foundation, and J.C. also serves on the executive board for the Hauenstein Center and has been involved with the Seidman College of Business advisory board.

J.C. Huizenga’s is the founder of the National Heritage Academies and was the owner of JR Automation Technologies for nearly 20 years through the Huizenga Group.

Tammy Huizenga is a physician and owns and operates Born Preventative Health Care Clinic in Grand Rapids.

The center

The Hauenstein Center was established in 2001 and named for Hauenstein, who was a former city editor of the Grand Rapids Herald and chief of Army Intelligence in Europe during World War II.

The center is intended to inspire emerging leaders to make a positive impact on the world and offers three primary programs: the annual open forum known as the Common Ground Initiative for intellectuals, scholars and political leaders to identify common ground between diverse communities; Cook Leadership Academy, which provides students with access to professional mentors to develop their leadership skills; and Wheelhouse Talks for community leaders and entrepreneurs to share their stories.

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