Aquinas Remembers Ralph Hauenstein

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Ralph Hauenstein Headshot

Aquinas College reflects on the life of friend and philanthropist, Ralph Hauenstein who died at the age of 103 on January 10, 2016.

According to President Juan R. Olivarez, “Ralph was a generous and intelligent leader who cared deeply about people. He always sought ways to improve the human condition. He was a kind and thoughtful friend to many, including Aquinas College. As we look around the community, we will always feel his presence and impact on our lives in so many significant ways.”

His passion for education and medical research can be seen in the Grace Hauenstein Library at Aquinas College, named after his wife who preceded him in death, Mercy Health Hauenstein Neuroscience Center, and the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies at GVSU. His son, Ralph Jr. and grandson, Brian both graduated from Aquinas College.

Ralph Hauenstein was a remarkable philanthropist and business leader. Born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, he lived nearly all of his life in Grand Rapids. He served in World War II for two terms, including service as chief of the Intelligence Branch in the Army’s European theater of operations under General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Witnessing the devastation caused by Nazi concentration camps, Ralph committed his life to seeking peaceful solutions to conflict.

Between tours of duty, Ralph became city editor of the Grand Rapids Herald. As a member of the greater Grand Rapids community, Ralph was a generous intellectual and financial supporter to many causes, both locally and internationally. His contributions extended to Europe, the Middle East, and Haiti, where he underwrote a modern bakery to create jobs. Among his many accomplishments, he served as an auditor at the Second Vatican Council in Rome.