Thomas J Haas

Thomas J Haas

LET IT BE KNOWN, that it is with great respect and admiration that we honor Captain Thomas Haas, U.S. Coast Guard (Ret.) upon his induction into the Michigan Military and Veterans Hall of Honor. Capt. Haas’s exemplary military service and contributions to the nation throughout his military career serve as an example to which we all should aspire.

Thomas Haas was born on March 5, 1958. He graduated from the Coast Guard Academy with honors in 1973. Whereas in his first assignment, Haas was an ensign on the Coast Guard Cutter ACACIA stationed in Port Huron, Michigan. The ACACIA sailed from Detroit to Alpena, servicing aids to navigation, including lighthouses. The cutter had a reinforced bow, so it was also used in winter months to break the ice on the Great Lakes. Haas also trained and served on several cutters, including the USCGC MACKINAW in Traverse City, Michigan, the USCG DUANE in the north Atlantic, and the USCGC EAGLE in Connecticut. He met his wife, Marcia, in Traverse City while the MACKINAW was docked in town for a week.

While on the ACACIA, Haas was selected for advance degree training and attended the University of Michigan to earn master’s degrees in Chemistry and Environmental Health Sciences. Upon graduation he served a tour at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington DC and worked with the United Nations to establish protocols for the safe shipment of cargos in and out of U.S. and international ports, becoming an internationally recognized expert in hazardous materials transportation.

In 1981 he was appointed to teach and coach at the Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut where he was promoted to lieutenant and then captain. During this time, he also earned another master’s degree in human resources management from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Doctorate in chemistry from the University of Connecticut. His expertise in chemistry and hazmat cleanup resulted in being detailed as part of the Coast Guard team that responded to the Exxon Valdez oil spill. He retired from the Coast Guard in 1996 after 23 years of service but returned to the Academy as a civilian for a five-year appointment as their chief academic officer.

In 2006, Thomas Haas was appointed as President of Grand Valley State University in Allendale Michigan, and served until retiring in 2019, now holding the title of President Emeritus. During his tenure, Haas became a state and nationally recognized leader in educational initiatives to support Veteran’s Educational opportunities. Recently, the university was selected as a top school in the 2017 Military Education and Transition Magazine’s “Guide to College and Universities”. For two years, the university received gold status — the highest status — from the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency for its dedication to helping student veterans and their dependents navigate the G.I. Bill and other education benefits.

RESOLVED BY THE MICHIGAN LEGISLATURE, That we honor and commemorate the military service and commitment to educational excellence of Captain Thomas Haas. His selfless service and commitment to our state and country must never be forgotten. Captain Haas exemplifies the essence of American public service and should be recognized as a role model by all individuals.

IN SPECIAL TRIBUTE, Therefore, this document is signed and dedicated to honor Captain Haas for his exemplary service to the State of Michigan and to the United States of America, and to commemorate his induction into the Michigan Military and Veterans Hall of Honor.