Campus News Winter 2014

Hauenstein gives major gift to center

Longtime Grand Valley supporter Ralph W. Hauenstein made another substantial investment into the university's Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies.

Hauenstein made the initial investment to begin the center, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary. The goal of the center is to teach ethical leadership skills to the next generation of leaders while engaging students and the community alike in stimulating conversations about history, politics and the greater civic good. Hauensteins $1 million gift, given in December, will help enhance and expand academic and event-based learning opportunities for the leaders of tomorrow.

"I have ample opportunities to invest in many worthwhile programs and projects, but I can think of no better investment than the one to ensure our future leaders are wise and ethical," Hauenstein said.

Hauenstein served under Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower in an intelligence role in World War II and was one of the first Americans into liberated Paris.

Hauenstein became successful in business after the war. He owned Werner Lehara of Grand Rapids, a food equipment manufacturer that produced Goldfish crackers, Andes mints, windmill cookies, pastas, and many other foods familiar to Americans. At the age of 101, Hauenstein has never retired and continues his philanthropic endeavors throughout West Michigan.

"The Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies is an incubator for leaders of the future, and Ralph Hauenstein's investment into the Center for Presidential Studies ensures our ability to continue to do good, meaningful work in the world of leadership and ethics," President Thomas J. Haas said. "On top of his initial gift, this is a very substantial commitment to the center on its 10th anniversary from a very involved philanthropist and friend."

Students who have benefited from the Hauenstein Centers mission of ethical leadership development currently occupy prominent roles in business, government, communications and nonprofit organizations. The center has hosted hundreds of programs over the past 10 years, including notable events like Hitchens v. Hitchens, presentations by several first ladies, Madeleine Albright, Gen. Brent Scowcroft and others.


Ralph Hauenstein and Gleaves Whitney

Ralph W. Hauenstein, left, stands with Gleaves Whitney, director of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies. Hauenstein gave a major gift to the center in December.

Veterans honored, new lounge dedicated

Grand Valley joined all Michigan public universities in an announcement that veterans would receive in-state tuition.

The announcement was made on Veterans Day. Grand Valley celebrated by hosting a breakfast that included remarks by President Thomas J. Haas before 80 students, faculty and staff members who are active military members or veterans.

Haas was joined by U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga and state Reps. Robert VerHeulen and Roger Victory, who all spoke about the importance of providing in-state tuition for veterans.

"Providing in-state tuition to veterans and making sure all have access to affordable and quality higher education is the right thing to do," said Haas, a retired captain in the U.S. Coast Guard. "Our veterans sacrifice for our way of life and possess skills and attributes employers want. Grand Valley is proud to support these men and women in any way we can."

The new Student Veterans Lounge, located on the second floor of the Kirkhof Center, was dedicated following the breakfast. It will serve as a gathering space for the more than 500 Grand Valley students who are active military members or veterans.

Grand Valley also provides in-state tuition for active military members who are stationed in Michigan and their spouses or dependents. The university is a member of the Consortium of Michigan Veteran Educators, a statewide network of two-year and four-year institutions that supports military members and veterans and ensure access to resources that can lead to employment.

For more information, visit


Area colleges create scholarships for GRPS students

Grand Valley has partnered with the Grand Rapids Community Foundation to create a new scholarship for Grand Rapids Public Schools students, offering them the opportunity to attend and succeed in college.

President Thomas J. Haas and officials from three other participating institutions — Ferris State, GRCC and Aquinas — made the announcement at Harrison Park Elementary School November 8. The new scholarships created by these institutions will support GRCF's Challenge Scholars program, which is designed to prepare, encourage and provide resources for students to attend college.

"We're thrilled to be able to provide the opportunity for these students to go to college," said Haas. "The Challenge Scholarship Program fits perfectly with Grand Valley's mission to provide access to a college degree and increased opportunities. The students are remarkable and show such promise. This program will make a difference in their lives and the future of our community, and I can't wait to welcome some of them to our campus."

The program, which launched two years ago, begins with sixth-grade students at Harrison Park School and Westwood Middle School. Each scholarship package differs in requirements and what is provided. Students who complete program requirements and graduate from Union High School will receive a Last Dollars scholarship from GRCF. The value of the scholarship depends on family income and which college the student chooses to attend.

Troy Wilbon, principal of Harrison Park Elementary School, thanked the colleges and universities for continuing to work as a community to offer opportunities for students to be successful. "To sum up all the support we've received, Wow, is all I can say. These students are our future," said Wilbon.


Challenge scholars group photo

The presidents of Grand Valley, Ferris, GRCC and Aquinas stand with Harrison Park students following an announcement that the colleges partnered with Grand Rapids Community Foundation to offer scholarships for the Challenge Scholars program.

Students put engineering, computing creations to test

Have you ever second guessed whether you turned off the lights or locked the door? The PyAutoHome, a system that includes a mobile app designed and built by a group of Grand Valley computing students, aims to alleviate those concerns. It was one of many projects that were showcased at Grand Valleys Project Day, December 5.

Hosted by the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing, more than 150 students from schools in the Grand Rapids area attended the event to see nearly 60 projects designed and created by Grand Valley students during the fall semester.

The event, sponsored by Perrigo, at Kennedy Hall of Engineering demonstrates to high school students how engineering and computing is relevant to everyday life.

The projects on display included MARBLEous, a machine that separates black and white marbles; SARR an autonomous search and rescue robot; Worphles, a real-time Web application 3-D word game where players compete to be the best speller; and a FM radio that was made using old transistor technology.

GVSU teams win big at business competition

Team Soletics from the Seidman College of Business took first place and won $25,000 at the Accelerate Michigan Innovation competition November 14 in Detroit. Grand Valley alumnus Ryan Vaughn, 11, took first place in the Company Award category, winning $500,000.

Accelerate Michigan is an international business competition designed to bring together later-stage entrepreneurial companies with local, national and international investors.

Soletics competed among 35 teams in the student competition. Three undergraduate students were on the team: Michael Kurley, chief executive officer; Lindsay Noonan, chief marketing officer; and Vanessa Gore, public relations specialist.

Soletics creates smart, outdoor athletic gear. The team is creating a jacket system, tailored to skiers and snowboarders, that will cool the core, heat the extremities, and provide excess power that can be used to charge a mobile device. The system uses a mixture of solar and thermoelectric fabrics and materials to provide power.

Vaughn, formerly an Entrepreneur in Residence at Grand Valleys Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, is the co-founder and CEO of Varsity News Network. Vaughn called VNN the of high schools sports. "Local media coverage of high school sports can be limited, plus schools don't have sports information directors or the budget to have a college-like brand," said Vaughn. "We put the software in place so designated fans can provide content and promote their teams on the Web."

VNN employs 22 people, besides Vaughn and co-founder Matthew Anderson. Vaughn said the prize money will be used for national expansion and development of a mobile app.


Women's cross country earns third national title

Women's cross country team

The women's cross country team celebrates its third NCAA Division II title in four years, following the championships in Spokane, Washington.

The men's and women's cross country teams finished, respectively, first and second at the 2013 NCAA Division II Cross Country National Championship in Spokane, Washington. The women's team claimed its third national title in the last four years and the men's team finished in second, the best mark in program history.

The women's team dominated the field with 54 points to easily outdistance second place Adams State, with 91 points. Adams State won the men's title with 54 points; Grand Valley tallied 104 points.

Head coach Jerry Baltes was named the Division II Women's National Coach of the Year for the third time in four years. The honor is presented by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. Baltes also won the award in 2012 and 2010, the other two seasons that GVSU has taken home the national title.



Two recognized for 45 years of service

Two people were recognized for 45 years of service at Grand Valley during the university's annual service award and holiday celebration December 5.

Lynn Blue, vice provost and dean of Academic Services and Information Technology, and Samir IsHak, professor of management for Seidman College of Business, started working at Grand Valley in 1968 and have witnessed countless changes.

Blue came to a campus that had no computers. "One of my early jobs was to run the key punch machine, punching holes in particular spots on an IBM card that could then be used to sort information, ultimately printing class lists," she said.

IsHak has worked for 14 deans and 16 department chairs. He estimated he's led 400 courses and taught 11,000 students.

"I learned from the students more than what they probably have learned from me," he said. "That is what encouraged me to stay for these years."

Blue echoed that sentiment and said as Grand Valley's mission has broadened and developed, so have the opportunities for professional development. She began as a clerk typist and was promoted to director of Records and Registration in 1976.

"I have been committed to enrollment, recruitment and retention my entire career," she said.

IsHak said he tried to emulate and improve on the teaching style of his Harvard University professors. "I pushed my students to their potential and many appreciated that and are still in touch with me in the U.S. and abroad," he said.

Chick Blue

Lynn Blue

Samir IsHak

Samir IsHak

Page last modified August 22, 2014