Alumni connect, reflect on time with President Haas

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Alumni reflect on their personal connections to retiring President Thomas J. Haas, whether it was receiving career advice, tips while on the softball field, or a friendly hello at an event.

Maddie Cleghorn stands with President Haas and a group of students
Maddie Cleghorn, first row, second from left, stands with President Haas and others.

Maddie Cleghorn '16

(Student Senate President 2015-2016), Georgetown University Law Student

“President Haas has a remarkable way of keeping students at the center of Grand Valley’s mission, and that contribution can be felt throughout the university. Students feel appreciated, empowered, and deeply rooted in the Laker community, and I believe that has everything to do with the student-centered dialogue President Haas fuels.”

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Ann Marie Klotz stands with President Haas

Ann Marie Klotz '02

Associate Vice President of Student Success, The New School, New York City

“What President Haas does so well is make you feel incredibly connected to the university, even if you live outside of Michigan. He has left voicemails personally thanking me for even a small donation, and he always remembers names and faces. It's an incredible talent given how many people he meets!”

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Bishop Dennis J. McMurray

Bishop Dennis J. McMurray '85

Senior Pastor, Renaissance Church of God in Christ, Grand Rapids

“President Haas has represented Grand Valley as a touchable, reachable, and caring person. Everyone knew he was our president. However, his leadership style impacted us as our ambassador. His greatest attribute was his ability to make everyone he touched feel special.”

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Emily Holt stands with Marcia and President Haas

Emily Holt '14

Science Teacher, Mount Clemens High School

“I always had a special connection with President Haas, not only because I was a science major, but I also was a softball player for Grand Valley. Not many people know, but President Haas was a softball coach in his past. He used to come to practice and offer legitimate advice, which surprised a lot of players. He was, and is, a man of many talents.”

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Steve Smith stands with President Haas

Steve Smith '07

Graduate Student at University of Michigan; Lieutenant, Coast Guard Reserve

“I was thinking about joining the military, and I needed help figuring out which branch was best for me. President Haas took the time to help an uncertain graduating senior figure out what would be his next step, and how to go about accomplishing that. He helped me set my sights high, which led me to Officer Candidate School at the Coast Guard Academy.”

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Mohamed Azuz stands with President Haas and others
Mohamed Azuz, right, stands with President Haas and others.

Mohamed Azuz '15 & '17

Enablement Services Architect, Dynatrace

“As an international student, I would like to say thank you to President Haas for everything he has done, for his time and dedication to making GVSU the best home-away-from-home that it could be.”

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Mariana S. Saucedo takes a selfie with President Haas

Mariana S. Saucedo '10

Student Success Coach, National Louis University

“During my time at GVSU I served as the vice president of the Latino Student Union and layout editor for the Lanthorn. Every year, Latino Student Union held an event and march to honor Cesar Chavez. Every year T-Haas stood by us as we marched to remember Chavez’s legacy. Seeing the university president participate in student activities taught me the importance of leadership and community engagement. T-Haas has forever positively impacted me to want to continue serving in education and our communities as a Laker for a Lifetime."

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Julie Bulson

Julie Bulson '99, '07 & '16

Director of Emergency Preparedness, Spectrum Health

“It was obvious the students were very important to Tom and Marcia Haas. Next was his connection with the community and the Grand Valley donor base. Everyone was important to T-Haas, no matter the amount they gave. He was grateful for their support in growing GVSU into what it is today.”

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