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Retiring GVSU President Haas shares leadership philosophy

Thomas J. Haas, President of Grand Valley State University photo

Grand Valley State University President Thomas J. Haas is retiring after 13-years leading the institution. Thursday evening he shared his leadership philosophies with the graduating class from the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies. Before the event, President Haas spoke with WGVU.

When it comes to leadership style, Grand Valley State University President Thomas J. Haas refers to it as virtuous leadership. “I have a model that I’ve used forever of the four Cs of leadership; you have competency, commitment, community and character. Character holds the other three altogether and you have to do it in a way that has the moral integrity of the individual first and foremost as the North Star.”

A nautical navigation reference, Thomas Haas is a retired United States Coast Guard Captain with more than 23-years of commissioned service.

As GVSU president, he explains how the university sets the environment for individual competency and commitment to work, family and community.

“And then that community itself comes through because I firmly believe that diversity and inclusivity is critically important and that makes two, but the glue that keeps them all together is that internal compass, one of character, so that you make the right reasons, in the right way you make decisions.”

Haas also believes a good leader simply shows up.

“Whether it be for a student event or for a funeral service for a colleague or a member of the community. You show up and you represent who we are as people, as Grand Valley Lakers. One thing that I’ve taken away throughout my entire career is that you show up.”

Patrick Center, WGVU News.