President Emeritus Haas inducted into Michigan Military and Veterans Hall of Honor
GVSU President Emeritus Thomas J. Haas was honored for his military service and leadership on November 19 when he was inducted into the Michigan Military and Veterans Hall of Honor.
Haas, who served as president of Grand Valley from 2006-2019, was selected for his longtime service in the Coast Guard and his leadership at the university.
Haas graduated with honors from the Coast Guard Academy in 1973 and served two years aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter, Acacia, in Port Huron. He spent most of his 23 years of service as a chemistry professor and a member of the Permanent Commissioned Teaching Staff at the academy in Connecticut, where he was promoted to lieutenant and then captain.
Haas is an internationally recognized expert in hazardous material transportation, strategic planning and higher education leadership. He worked with the United Nations to establish protocols for the safe shipment of cargos in and out of U.S. and international ports.
His expertise in chemistry and hazmat cleanup resulted in being detailed as part of the Coast Guard team that responded to the Exxon Valdez oil spill. He retired from the Coast Guard in 1996 but returned to the academy as a civilian for a five-year appointment as chief academic officer.
Haas was Grand Valley’s fourth president; he led the university through a steady period of managed growth and success. Under his leadership, the Health Campus and engineering programs were expanded and the Detroit Center was opened. Haas also helped position Grand Valley as a leader in sustainability, with silver, gold and platinum designations for buildings.
Also inducted into the Michigan Military and Veterans Hall of Honor was President Gerald R. Ford. Ford is a decorated World War II veteran and the only person from Michigan to go from lieutenant commander in the Navy to commander in chief of the nation.
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