Enriching Wayne State through teaching, scholarship and philanthropy


Though it was over 30 years ago, Professor Donald Haase remembers vividly the faculty meeting that changed the course of his career. He was meeting with departmental colleagues from Wayne State University’s German area, discussing courses that might be of interest to non-majors.

“I had seen some exciting new directions in scholarship on the Brothers Grimm, so I said, ‘What about fairy tales?’” Haase recalled. “They said, ‘Why don't you develop a course?’ It became a popular course; it just took off. And so I got involved in modern fairy tale studies at a really important moment because of my students.”

A specialist in German Romanticism, Haase developed a strong research interest in folktales and fairy tales after teaching that initial course. Since then, he has earned a national and international reputation in the field of fairy tale studies, in part due to the support he has received at Wayne State.

When Haase took over editorial responsibilities for the international journal Marvels and Tales, he brought it to the Wayne State University Press. Since then, it has grown into a leading academic periodical examining folktales and fairy tales from a variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives. The WSU Press also established a related book series with Haase as editor and used a fund endowed by the late folklorist and faculty member Thelma James to advance both the journal and series.

“Wayne State really has become well known around the world as a place where fairy tale studies is promoted and advanced,” Haase said. “That’s one of the reasons I’m so indebted to the university and to the Wayne State University Press. I’m grateful for what they’ve done for the field and, frankly, for what they’ve done to make the career I’ve had possible.”

Haase has authored dozens of articles, reviews and book chapters exploring the works of the Brothers Grimm and other fairy tales, and he has edited The Reception of Grimms’ Fairy Tales: Responses, Reactions, Revisions (1993), Fairy Tales and Feminism: New Approaches (2004), and, with Wayne State Professor of French Anne Duggan, the four-volume encyclopedic work, Folktales and Fairy Tales: Traditions and Texts from around the World (2016).

In addition to his scholarship and teaching, Haase has served as an academic ambassador to the community as a member and former president of the Wayne State University Academy of Scholars. He also has supported the university philanthropically since 1984, making a number of significant gifts to the WSU Press, faculty research, student scholarships and more. Haase recently became a member of the university’s Old Main Society by including Wayne State in his estate plans, another way to contribute to the university’s community and mission.

“It’s a very special thing to be a member of the faculty and a great privilege to spend your career at a place like Wayne State,” Haase said. “For me and for many other faculty members, this is something we believe in, something we’re committed to. I see myself as part of this community, so it makes perfect sense for me to give.”

For more information on how to make a difference with a gift from your estate, please visit Wayne State's planned giving site.

(June 13, 2016)

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