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FORUM Vol. 42, No. 9 December 18, 2017

Hauenstein family gives major gift to three institutions

Grand Valley’s Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies was one of three West Michigan institutions — along with Aquinas College and Mercy Health — to receive a major gift from the family of Ralph W. Hauenstein on December 11.

The gift will allow the center to reach more students, and transform them from learners into leaders, said Hauenstein Center director Gleaves Whitney.

“Ralph Hauenstein was an American hero, and we honor him in all we do at the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies,” Whitney said.

group photo, five people

Photo by Bernadine Carey-Tucker

Celebrating the Hauenstein family gift are, from left, Dr. Philip Gorelick, Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences; Brian Hauenstein; Sister Damien Marie Savino, F.S.E., Aquinas College; Ralph D. Hauenstein; and Gleaves Whitney, director of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies.

Brian Hauenstein, Ralph W. Hauenstein’s grandson, said the gift represented a gift to the “mind, body and soul,” three things Ralph W. Hauenstein thought were very important.

“These organizations are something he strongly believed in,” Brian said. “That’s why he lived to be nearly 104 years old, because he believed that all three of those things were very important.”

Ralph Hauenstein, who died in January 2016, lived his life in service, helping others through his military career and using his success in business to further causes that he supported throughout his life as a generous philanthropist.

His son, Ralph D., presented the gifts to each institution to support the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies, Aquinas College’s Grace Hauenstein Library, and Albertus Magnus Hall of Science expansion, and the Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences Center.

“I feel elated that I am able to carry out my dad’s wishes regarding the important work these places do,” said Ralph D. “My dad believed in the mission of education, health care, and leadership and integrity in all aspects of life. I’m the guy carrying the ball over the finish line, and I’m honored to do so.”

Hauenstein’s previous gifts to Grand Valley led to the creation and support of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies, and the center’s Cook Leadership Academy Fellows.