Family awards $3.5M in gifts


The Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences Center is located in downtown Grand Rapids and is part of the system's St. Mary's campus.

A late philanthropist’s estate has given gifts totaling $3.5 million to three institutions in West Michigan.

The donation announced today by the Ralph W. Hauenstein estate will be split among Grand Valley State University, Aquinas College and Mercy Health Saint Mary's.

Hauenstein, who died in January 2016, was a military veteran, businessman and philanthropist.

The donation was presented by Hauenstein’s son, Ralph D. Hauenstein.

"I feel elated that I am able to carry out my dad's wishes regarding the important work these places do," Hauenstein said. "My dad believed in the mission of education, health care and leadership and integrity in all aspects of life. I'm the guy carrying the ball over the finish line, and I'm honored to do so."

At GVSU, the gift will support the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies.

Ralph W. Hauenstein's previous gifts to GVSU led to the creation and support of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies, an academic center that focuses on ethical leadership and public service, and the center's Cook Leadership Academy Fellows.

"Ralph was able to create one of the region's jewels in the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies,” said Thomas Haas, president, GVSU. “It's so important today to have discussions about ethical leadership in our nation. He was always forward-thinking and supported efforts to shape the leaders for the 21st century."

At Aquinas, the gift will benefit several programs and projects, including the Grace Hauenstein Library and the current renovation and expansion of the Albertus Magnus Hall of Science.

“Through their leadership and contributions, there is no question that the Hauenstein family have helped make Aquinas College what it is today,” said Kevin Quinn, president, Aquinas College. “This recent gift shows their continued impact on Aquinas and so many other organizations in West Michigan.”

The family’s contribution will also continue to support the Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences Center in Grand Rapids.

The center's opening in 2009 was supported by Hauenstein. He had an interest in improving the care of Parkinson's patients, since both his father and his close friend, Amway Co-founder Jay Van Andel, died of the disease.

"Mr. Hauenstein wanted to leave his legacy while he was alive and fully appreciate the impact his thoughtful giving was going to make," said Michelle Rabideau, president, Saint Mary's Foundation. "This gift is one that truly keeps giving, because the impact on the thousands of patients and their families is significant and one of Mr. Hauenstein's proudest philanthropic moments."

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