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.


“Inspired by Ralph Hauenstein's life of leadership and service, the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies is dedicated to raising a community of ethical, effective leaders for the twenty-first century.”

The Hauenstein Center

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

Faye Richardson-Green

Bipartisan Policy Panel: Immigration

Celebration of Veterans Day: Lieutenant Jason Redman

GVNext News Coverage

An American flag flies outside the Lubbers Student Service Center.

Hauenstein Center panel to offer insights on patriotism

GVSU's Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies and its Common Ground Initiative welcome three guest speakers to address and explore the contemporary understanding of patriotism among Americans in the early 21st century.

Apr 15, 2024

Aseel Ayesh standing outside in a maroon hajib

Top students will be recognized at annual award convocation

The Student Award Convocation on April 8 will recognize top scholars and students who will receive Excellence-in-a-Discipline Award.

Apr 2, 2024

Head shot of historian Brooke Barbier

Hauenstein Center presents historian to discuss Founding Father John Hancock

The Hauenstein Center will host author and historian Brooke Barbier for a presentation and Q&A session on March 14 at the DeVos Center on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus, starting at 6 p.m.

Mar 11, 2024

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Page last modified March 15, 2024