Office of the President

President Thomas J. Haas
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President Thomas Haas

Thomas J. Haas, PhD

Office of the President
3035 James H. Zumberge Hall


President Thomas J. Haas is Grand Valley State University’s fourth president.

Dr. Haas has had a distinguished career in higher education for more than 35 years. He has served as a tenured faculty member, department chair, dean, vice president and president. Just prior to his appointment as president of Grand Valley State University in 2006, he was president of the State University of New York, Cobleskill. Haas is also a professor of chemistry in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Students affectionately call him “T-Haas.”

During his tenure, Grand Valley has seen a steady rise in enrollment to more than 25,000 students, and dramatic increases in the number of graduates, now more than 5,300 per year.  During the same time, 32 new majors have been established, including the Doctor of Nursing Practice and nine other graduate programs. He has overseen a growth of 2 million square feet (40% increase) in facilities, led by the innovative Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons in Allendale, the L. William Seidman Center in Grand Rapids and the GVSU Detroit Center. The result is 18 LEED-certified structures and five more pending.  

Haas guided the completion of a highly successful comprehensive campaign focused on student scholarship, facilities and faculty chairs. The campaign doubled the university’s endowment to more than $100 million.

He has degrees from the U. S. Coast Guard Academy, the University of Michigan, Rensselaer Institute of Technology (New York), and the University of Connecticut. Haas has held fellowships at Western Michigan University and Yale, and received an honorary doctorate degree from Kingston University in the U.K. He is an internationally recognized expert in hazardous material transportation, strategic planning and higher education leadership, and has published numerous articles in a variety of journals. He is a retired captain after 23 years of commissioned service in the U. S. Coast Guard and is a member of the Athletic Hall of Fame and a distinguished graduate from his alma mater. 

He is active in the community and serves on a number of national boards. Haas is married to Marcia (Knapp) Haas, a native of Union City, Michigan, and a graduate of Albion College. They have three children and four grandchildren.

(Grand Valley State University, one of the 100 largest universities in the nation, attracts 25,000 students with high-quality programs and state-of-the-art facilities. Grand Valley is a comprehensive university, serving students in more than 200 areas of study, 85 undergraduate and 36 graduate degree programs, from campuses in Allendale, Grand Rapids and Holland, and from regional centers in Detroit, Muskegon, and Traverse City. The university is dedicated to individual student achievement and success, going beyond the traditional classroom experience, with research opportunities and business partnerships.)  

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Page last modified May 13, 2016