Welcome to the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies at Grand Valley State University

What do we do?

As a PRESIDENTIAL STUDIES center, Hauenstein Center programming routinely welcomes authors, historians, and presidential scholars to our stage to share their research and works. Programs include discussions on presidential history, our democracy, and celebrations of national holidays like Constitution Day, Veterans Day, and Presidents’ Day.

Since 2004, the PETER C. COOK LEADERSHIP ACADEMY has instilled leadership excellence in a select group of undergraduate and graduate students across the institution. The program is co-curricular and cross-disciplinary, offering our student fellow candidates unique opportunities for reflection, engagement, and learning with and from a diverse cohort of their peers throughout the academic year. Candidates are admitted to the Cook Leadership Academy for one or more years. Each applicant must meet the criteria of high academic achievement, active involvement in the campus community, dedication to the public good, a passion to lead, and a commitment to personal growth.

The COMMON GROUND INITIATIVE is West Michigan’s premier forum for the promotion of civic engagement and intellectual curiosity on the issues facing our region, nation, and world. The Common Ground Event Series invites leaders and scholars to engage in dialogue across political and ideological divides and model the common ground approach for our community.


2023-2024 Programming Theme
Empowered Citizenship

What does it mean to be a citizen in contemporary times, and how does that align with the ways we lead and show up in the world as individuals? 

As we approach an election year, how can we reclaim our agency and fully lean into our individual responsibility – to each other and to the world? Our theme of empowered citizenship will bring conversations to the forefront about what it means to be a citizen, the rights and responsibilities it entails, and how we can all unite to foster progress and greater understanding. 

CLA Students: What does it mean to be an Empowered Citizen?

CLA Students: What does it mean to be an Empowered Citizen?

Programming Suggestions

Have you ever listened to a podcast, watched or attended a lecture, read a book/article and wanted to bring the speaker/conversation to your community? Now’s your chance! The Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies wants your input on potential speakers, topics, and programs. We’re serious, we want to hear your ideas!

 Click here to fill out a suggestion form! 

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Recent Past Events

Progressive / Conservative Summit 2023: Preventing Political Violence



GVNext News Coverage

Faye Richardson-Green speaks with students during her honors seminar class.

Faye Richardson-Green will share life experiences in lecture series

The talk opens the 2023-2024 Wheelhouse Talks and the Meijer Lecture Series, which present leaders from a variety of backgrounds to share their philosophies and expertise with the Grand Valley community.

Sep 26, 2023

Vincent Phillip Muñoz speaks during Hauenstein Center event

Constitution Day speaker: Founding Fathers wanted active legislative branch in religious freedom cases

Vincent Phillip Muñoz, the Tocqueville Professor of Political Science and Concurrent Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame, discussed the intent of the Founding Fathers when it came to the First Amendment and the Establishment Clause.

Sep 20, 2023

Author and historian Victor Davis Hanson answers a question during Hauenstein Center event.

Hauenstein panel: Middle class essential to empowered citizenship

The middle class' declining economic power poses the greatest threat to empowering American democracy and its citizens, according to the two speakers at the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies' premiere event of its 2023-2024 season.

Sep 8, 2023

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Page last modified September 29, 2023