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Hauenstein Center namesake to posthumously receive Michigan Historical Commission award

  • Ralph Hauenstein, right, shakes hands with President Gerald Ford, left.
  • Ralph Hauenstein, namesake of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies, with director Gleaves Whitney in 2013.
  • H.W. Brands sits in a chair

Posted on February 19, 2018

Ralph Hauenstein, the namesake of Grand Valley State University's Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies, will be honored posthumously with the MAK Award by the Michigan Historical Commission. The award recognizes significant contributions to the preservation, understanding and promotion of Michigan's history through lengthy and visionary service.

The award presentation will follow a lecture and discussion by H.W. Brands, a noted historian and author, about the parallels between the drastic polarization of the pre-Civil War years and political polarization in the modern political era.

Brands' lecture will focus on the "Golden Age" of the Senate, specifically the first half of the 19th century, when the "Great Triumvirate" of Henry Clay, Daniel Webster and John C. Calhoun were representative of the varying sectors of the American public and gave them a distinct voice.

The MAK Award, which will be bestowed on Hauenstein, is the signature award of the Michigan Historical Commission and is named for Gov. William G. Milliken, Michigan Historical Comission member Elizabeth Sparks Adams and Attorney General Frank J. Kelley.

The presentation by Brands is sold out, but video of the discussion will be available after the event online at

The event, presented in partnership with the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum.