Fresno business, education leaders honor FPU President Harold Haak

In deciding to honor educators, Fresno Compact honored Fresno Pacific University President Harold Haak.

The creation of the Harold Haak Business Partnership Educator of the Year Award was announced March 6 during Fresno Compact’s Business-Education Shareholder’s Luncheon. The prize will be given each year to an educator with an outstanding track record of building partnerships between business and education.

Haak was chosen because his work exemplifies what the award stands for. “Harold has been a giant in education,” said Bill Stewart, executive director of Fresno Compact. “He has been president of two universities and was the first executive director of the compact. He’s an outstanding individual. I think we all appreciate the man.”

In 40 years in higher education, Haak served as president of FPU and California State University, Fresno (CSUF), as well as chancellor and professor of public affairs at the University of Colorado at Denver and dean of the college of professional studies at San Diego State University. Haak holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin and a Ph. D. from Princeton University.

“It was a pleasure to play a part in the birthing of the Fresno Compact and now to see the compact’s maturation as a vital force in supporting and improving public education in our region. I am deeply touched by the naming in my honor of the Business Partnership Educator of the Year Award,” Haak said.

Fresno Compact is a coalition of business, community and education leaders committed to long-term improvements in the achievement and skills of young people. The compact’s mission is to prepare graduates for the increasing demands of society and the workplace through promoting business participation with schools.

The organization’s board includes the mayor of Fresno, the chief administrative officer of Fresno County, the superintendents of Fresno and Clovis unified school districts and the Fresno County Office of Education, as well as the chancellor of the State Center Community College District and the presidents of FPU and CSUF. Business and non-profit leaders come from firms such as SBC Pacific Bell, SC Johnson Wax, United Way of Fresno County, Gottschalks department stores, Greater Fresno Area Chamber of Commerce and Johanson Transportation Service.

Cooperation between education and business makes sense since business can help educators with policy, and education provides business with employees. “The compact is only place in the community where the heads of business and non-profits sit down with the heads of education on a regular basis,” Steward said.

Fresno Pacific University is an accredited Christian university ranked fifth among best values among Western universities—master’s category by U.S. News & World Report. Located on a 42-acre campus in southeast Fresno, FPU has an enrollment of 1,900 students—half in graduate and half in undergraduate programs.  The university also enrolls 12,000 students annually in its professional development studies programs offered locally and throughout the world.