Toast with T. Haas to celebrate graduating students

GVL / Emily Frye  
President Haas

GVL / Emily Frye President Haas

Drew Howard

Grand Valley State University students graduating in the fall 2015 semester will be celebrated for their hard work and dedication to academic studies during the bi-annual Toast with T. Haas event on Dec. 9.

Just a few days prior to the official commencement ceremony, soon-to-be graduates are invited to the Toast with T. Haas event for an evening of socializing, celebration and free food and drinks that will be hosted by President Thomas Haas himself.

Starting at 6 p.m., graduates will have an opportunity to eat and chat among one another for the first 45 minutes before Haas makes his opening comments.

Maddie Cleghorn, student senate president at GVSU, and Brandon Erhart, member of the Young Alumni Council at GVSU, will also join Haas onstage in toasting and congratulating the class of 2015.

In addition to the toast, graduates will watch a short video highlighting the years leading up to their graduation.

Liz Collver, assistant director of annual giving at GVSU, said the three speakers will focus on the graduates’ time at the university while also looking forward to the future.

“They will all talk about different things,” Collver said. “I would say a lot of it is reflection – asking the people to reflect on their time at GVSU and think about the memories. There will be a lot of congratulating, and Brandon Erhart will welcome everyone into the Alumni Association.”

As of Thursday afternoon, Collver said more than 300 students had already RSVP’d to attend the celebration. For comparison, the last Toast with T. Haas in the fall semester of 2014 saw a total of 260 students RSVP.

Collver added that another 50 to 70 students are expected to RSVP before the deadline. However, students who fail to RSVP ahead of time will still be granted admission to the event.

In its first year, Haas said around 150 graduates showed up. At the most recent Toast with T. Haas in April, 2015, attendance grew to more than 800.

Haas noted that this growth in attendance is one reason why Toast with T. Haas is slowly becoming a GVSU tradition since its creation in April, 2013.

“My colleagues said Toast with T. Haas would be a good opportunity to invest in our students and to celebrate the Lakers for a lifetime mantra,” Haas said. “They wanted to bring me in to have a chance for students to gather and reinforce what they have accomplished together, and to have a chance to say thank you to the graduates for choosing GVSU.”

If there was one thing graduates could take away from the event, Haas said he hopes it is that they know they selected the right school and that they are Lakers for lifetime.

“I’m so proud of our university and our students who are coming to us to pursue their dreams,” he said. “This is a great time of year, and I’m so thankful for our students and what they’ve been able to accomplish while they’re here.”

Toast with T. Haas will take place from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on the second floor of the L.V. Eberhard Center, located at 301 W. Fulton St. in Grand Rapids.

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