Making summer plans with T. Haas

GVSU president plans to spend time by the lake, balance work and leisure

By Kayla Tucker | 5/7/17 9:20pm

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GVL - Courtesy of Marcia Haas


For Thomas Haas, the president of Grand Valley State University, the summer really begins after commencement.

With activity on campus slowing down in the summer months, Haas is able to relax and unwind while preparing for the business of the fall and winter semesters. Whether it’s traveling, spending time with family, dining with donors or playing a game of golf with some friends, the GVSU president stays busy with both work and leisure.

To kick off the summer, Haas is traveling to Italy to visit schools where GVSU has partnerships, as well as Albania, where the mayor of the capital is a GVSU alumnus. While he plans to do some vacationing, Haas will still have a busy nightlife.

“During the summer, for me, there are less hectic days, the meetings are not as numerous, but the nighttime activity for us still continues with dinners with friends, with donors, with members of the Grand Valley community and family members,” Haas said.

With his family, Haas will travel 45 minutes to his cottage that sits on a lake, where he has already started gardening.

“Marcia already has some tomatoes,” Haas said, talking about his wife. “She started some seeds with our daughter that are about six inches tall, and they’ll go in (the ground) around Mother’s Day.”

The natural environment provides some peace and relaxation for the university president.

“We have some kayaks; we do enjoy that activity, especially early in the morning when the lake is calm,” he said. “We do have a powerboat where we can pull our grandkids and others on the tube, or Marcia and I can go out for a leisurely cruise around the lake.”

Haas’ children are Eric, Gregory and Sarah. They will often spend time together at the cottage, usually with Haas' grandchildren, too.

“When I do have the grandkids here, we go fishing off the dock that we have,” Haas said. “We have largemouth bass, and the kids love fishing for them.”

Also at the cottage, Haas plans to catch up on some reading he’s been saving for a less-busy time.

“I’m going to be able to read some interesting books that I’ve put on the shelf for the year, one of which is about President Bush … that I’m excited about reading,” Haas said.

Finally, Haas and his wife have a tradition with other couple friends to “Nine and Dine,” where they play nine holes of golf and go out to dinner.

For the rest of the summer, Haas said family may come visit them at the cottage, and they may go visit family like they did last year when they went to Alaska to visit their son who is in the Coast Guard.

While he plans to spend more time with family, Haas knows this summer isn’t all play.

“Of course, I and my staff have to get ready for the new academic year, and that takes up some time with planning preparations so that we can welcome our new students," he said.

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