ALLENDALE, Mich. - The President of Grand Valley State University has announced his retirement.
Thomas Haas, 66, made the announcement Wednesday as a surprise to school employees and students. Haas has been president at the university since 2006.
Haas was only the 4th president in the history of Grand Valley State University. Before coming to Grand Valley, Haas was president of the State University of New York Cobleskill.
Haas' retirement will be effective June 30, 2019. He said that he announced his retirement early so that the Board of Trustees has time to find Grand Valley's next president, and he still has a lot of things he wants to accomplish while still at the school.
"It’s the right time to announce my retirement, but let me assure everyone, I’m as excited to come to work at Grand Valley as I’ve ever been," said Haas in press release. "I can see that there will be another chapter in my life, but it won't start for another year-and-a-half. The university has amazing momentum right now. We're expanding our health campus on Grand Rapids' Medical Mile; we’re expanding our engineering programs into new space downtown; we have renewed energy to work on enrollment and retention as the challenges in higher education grow.
"I’m engaged with my colleagues around Michigan encouraging lawmakers to increase state support for education. I consider it a privilege and an honor to work with the faculty and staff at Grand Valley, the Board of Trustees and our Foundation members on behalf of our amazing students."
The Board of Trustees called a special meeting immediately following the announcement and is starting the search for Grand Valley's 5th president.
The school says that since Haas became president in 2006, the school has added 30 undergraduate programs and16 graduate programs, has opened the Detroit Center and has added 2.5 million square feet in buildings.
After he retires in 2019, Haas will return to the school as a chemistry professor.
We'll have more from campus on later editions of FOX 17 News.