Testimonials & Achievements

"I truly cannot express how profoundly grateful I am for all of the opportunities the Hauenstein Center has afforded me. I also want to articulate how much respect I have for you as a person. Your unwavering commitment to common ground and bipartisanship, your ability to foster civil discourse in such divisive times, and your willingness to engage and connect with developing leaders like myself is inspiring."  ~2016-2018 Fellow

“I have learned that leaders are truly developed in the face of humility. A place that challenges us to step beyond our comfortable realm of familiarity and control, to listen and learn. Many people underestimate the value of humility and learning beyond one’s comfort zone — only those who have experienced challenging roles of leadership or similar situations find it a worthy investment. It is because of the incredible generosity of the Hauenstein Center that I will have the opportunity to grow as a leader in a way so powerful yet rarely practiced by many of our aspiring leaders today. An experience like this and others the Hauenstein Center invests in will develop fellows to be leaders of leaders — leaders that grow in lives of practice and progress — able to connect and create change in our local communities to our global systems. I have no words powerful enough to describe how entirely grateful I am from the center of my heart, you have changed my life. Thank you.
~2014-2016 Fellow

“The most meaningful personal/professional experience of my adult life was my time spent as a Cook Leadership Academy Fellow with the Hauenstein Center at GVSU. The wisdom, knowledge and friendships I gained during this time have helped shape me as an individual, father, husband and engaged citizen. Thank you, Ralph Hauenstein and Peter C. Cook for your vision to create this powerful experience!

Thank you, Gleaves Whitney, Brian Flanagan, Liza Van Buren, Kathleen Rent, Chadd Dowding and Grand Valley State University for everything you shared during my time with the Hauenstein Center. Thank you to the many individuals who serve as mentors – a special nod to those that continue to impact my life: Kathy S Crosby, Rosalynn Bliss, and Mary Dailey Brown.”
~Jordan O’Neill
2010-2013 Fellow

“If I may, I just want to express my gratitude for being a fellow. Some of the experiences I’ve had so far with Cook Leadership are things I’ve dreamt of but never imagined being realized so soon. I’m just a guy from Detroit and some of these opportunities people don’t have access to, and for that, thank you to Chadd and the rest of the staff and donors that makes this possible! Truly, thank you so much.”
2015-2016 Fellow

“I just finished meeting with Matt, my mentor. He has been such a great support! Every time I leave from our meetings I feel so confident and happy! He has gave me great advice when I was feeling lost last year, going through the LSAT and now applying to law schools. Today he gave me a book on life and its different philosophies. I’m excited to start reading it.

I wanted to share this with you so that you know the mentors really do make a positive impact on the fellows”
2014-2016 Fellow

“Thank you for the opportunity to attend the Othering and Belonging Conference. The different perspectives shared at the conference expanded my understanding of inclusion and equity within society. The experience also provided the time and space to strengthen my bond with other fellows. Several of us are planning to stay connected through the summer and collaborate on a few projects this upcoming year. Thank you again for the great experience.”
2014-2016 Fellow

“Prior to becoming a fellow in the Cook Leadership Academy, I never once thought I would be able to join such a prestigious program. Without our donors, this program would not exist and though I know they hear this often, I would like to say once more: thank you. Thank you for playing a big part in changing my life as a leader and as a person. I have met so many individuals in my short time here that are extraordinary and I have learned so much from them. For that I am and will always be grateful.”
Rose Turuka
2015-2016 Fellow

“This program has been a blessing in my life. The amazing students and mentors that are a part of this program have inspired me to push myself to my fullest potential. The opportunities that are given within this program are amazing and have helped me develop into a better leader both on and off campus. It is programs like this that truly make GVSU stand out. The emphasis on helping students succeed is extremely present. This program is special and unique, there is truly nothing like it!”
~Natalie Joaquin
2015-2016 Fellow

“This academy is serious about professional development; I have learned so much in such little time from this wonderful experience. The CLA has offered me unparalleled access to Grand Rapids’ professionals, more so than any other professional society at Grand Valley.”
Angel Gamon
2015-2016 Fellow

“The Hauenstein Center has been an invaluable resource for me. CLA is incredibly unique in its ability to offer support, guidance, and opportunity to its fellows. From mentorship encouragement to dynamic special events, this program has offered me a way to transform my leadership abilities.”
~Devon Fata
2015-2016 Fellow

“I truly enjoyed the networking opportunities, business knowledge I acquired, and events I participated in when at the Cook Leadership Academy. The experience with the Hauenstein Center helped me so much in my personal development as a leader.”
~Lindy Barnes
2012-2013 Fellow

“I thank you for inviting me into the astoundingly supportive culture of the Hauenstein Center–a culture that, above all, enables fellows to pursue opportunities, goals, missions that they would have otherwise thought unattainable.”
~Joseph Hogan
2013-2016 Fellow

“I cannot believe how much exposure I have had as a fellow—it has been such a short time. Thank you so much for the opportunity!”
~Jessica Parker
2011-2012 Fellow

“To Tori, Kathy, Gleaves, Adam and any others behind the scenes at the Hauenstein Center, I would like to express my sincerest gratefulness for the past year, coincidentally on the card and pre-postaged envelope provided to me. I have been stretched as a leader, exposed to networking, given a free high-quality portrait, and am being sent to Varnum Consulting and a conference at no cost to me. Not to mention, introduced to several mentors and fellows that will likely be lifelong friends. And the list goes on with many other opportunities! Thank you again for all your hard work in making the Academy so successful, I look forward to another year.”

“Thank you for leading the organization that led to my Rhodes scholarship application and the refinement of my philosophy. Had there been no Hauenstein Center and Cook Leadership Academy, I would never have progressed so far. Thank you for the exposure to great leaders.”

“Thank you for two solid years in the Cook Leadership Academy. I tell everyone I can that the CLA is the best thing I have done in college. I’ve enjoyed making lifelong friends, and I am very grateful for the extensive resources, connections, and training to become a great leader, carrying on the spirit and mission of Ralph Hauenstein and Peter Cook. I’m sad to see my time with the CLA end. All your hard work in making the CLA so great has meant so much to me.”
~Evan Crain
2012-2014 Fellow, 2013-2014 CLA President

“I wanted to take a moment and thank you for the experience I have had through the Cook Leadership Academy. The relationships I have built and the principles I have learned have been invaluable to my growth as a leader. …The staff at the Hauenstein Center have acted as complete professionals with the highest integrity.”
~Trevor TenBrink
2012-2014 Fellow

“I just wanted to take a little bit of time and thank you for all the work you do at the Hauenstein Center. I am so glad and thankful that I had an opportunity to be a part of the Leadership Academy and learn from the best!”
~Olga Sarayeva
2013-2014 Fellow