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Grand Valley State board appoints university's new president

Posted on July 10, 2006

ALLENDALE, Mich. -- The Grand Valley State University Board of Trustees appointed Thomas J. Haas the university's fourth president at the July 10 board meeting.

Haas has been president of the State University of New York campus at Cobleskill since 2003. He is succeeding Mark A. Murray, who is leaving the university August 1 to become president of Meijer Inc.

"We assured the university community in January that we would work diligently to find the right person who would embrace our vision and bring the skill set needed to continue to build upon the successes of this outstanding university," said Donna Brooks, chair of the Presidential Search Advisory Committee and the Board of Trustees. "His qualities meet the highest standards and leadership criteria set forth by the board and we are confident he and his wife are the perfect fit for Grand Valley and West Michigan."

Haas has professional and personal ties to Michigan. He is a 1973 honors graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and served two years on the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Acacia in Port Huron. He then earned a Master of Science in chemistry and another in environmental health sciences at the University of Michigan. Haas also holds a Master of Science in human resource management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Connecticut.

During the past 20 years, Haas has been a tenured faculty member, department chair, dean, vice president and president.

Haas is an internationally recognized expert in hazardous material transportation and has published more than 70 articles in a variety of journals. In addition to his appointment as president of Grand Valley, Haas has also been appointed professor of chemistry.

"Dr. Haas is the visionary, collaborative, experienced leader that Grand Valley needs in its next president as the university continues to grow and develop," said Gayle R. Davis, interim president and provost at Grand Valley. "I'm anticipating a great future for all of us."

Haas' official appointment date is July 10, 2006, although he will assume the duties of the office August 22, 2006. His annual salary will be $185,000 and a deferred compensation plan of $25,000 per year will be established that requires Haas to complete three years as president of Grand Valley State University.

Haas' nomination for president was considered by the 18-member presidential search advisory committee, made up of faculty, staff, a student, an alumni representative and a community member. He was subsequently interviewed by the committee and the Board of Trustees. He is the Board's unanimous choice to be Grand Valley's next president.

"I am thrilled to be called to service at Grand Valley," said Haas. "The legacy of Mark Murray and others is a solid foundation upon which to build Grand Valley's mission of shaping students to shape their societies. I look forward to working with colleagues inside and outside the university to advance Grand Valley as a learning community with a global vision."

Haas is married to Marcia (Knapp) Haas, who is a native of Union City and a graduate of Albion College. They have three children and one grandchild and have other family living in Grand Rapids.

There is more biographical information, a streamed video interview and a downloadable photo of Haas available at

Grand Valley State University attracts more than 22,000 students with high quality programs and state-of-the-art facilities. Grand Valley is the comprehensive regional university for the state's second largest metropolitan area and offers 70 undergraduate and 26 graduate degree programs. It has campuses in Allendale, Grand Rapids, and Holland and centers in Muskegon and Traverse City. The university is dedicated to individual student achievement, going beyond the traditional classroom experience, with research opportunities and business partnerships.

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