KILMARNOCK—Gordon A. Haaland, 77, former president of Gettysburg College and the University of New Hampshire (UNH), died Oct. 23, 2017, at the VCU Medical Center in Richmond.
He is survived by his wife Suzanne of Richmond, children Lynn (Michael) of Mamaroneck, N.Y., and Paul (Betty) of Silver Spring, Md., and four grandchildren. He was predeceased by Carol Haaland, his wife of 44 years.
Gordon was born April 19, 1940, in Brooklyn, N.Y., the son of the late Ole and Ellen Haaland. Gordon graduated from Wheaton College in Illinois in 1962 and received his doctorate from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Gordon served as president of UNH from 1983 to 1990. During his tenure, Gordon established the UNH Foundation, the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space, and oversaw the completion of a number of centers of academic excellence. Prior to his time as president, Gordon was a professor of psychology at UNH, a visiting professor at the University of Bergen in Norway, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Maine and UNH’s vice president for academic affairs.
Gordon became the 12th president of Gettysburg College in 1990. During his tenure, Gettysburg advanced into the U.S. News and World Report’s top 50 liberal arts colleges. Gordon expanded the student body by roughly 20 percent, oversaw major capital improvements, created new academic chairs, departments and majors, and helped establish the Lincoln Prize for civil war history and the Center for Public Service. Gordon left office in 2004 having achieved his major goals, including the completion of a $100 million capital campaign. Both UNH and Gettysburg College have renamed buildings on their campuses in his honor.
In retirement, Gordon lived in Kilmarnock, Southwest Harbor, Maine and Naples, Fla. He was a member of the Indian Creek Yacht and Country Club in Kilmarnock, the Causeway Club in Southwest Harbor and Bear’s Paw Country Club in Naples. He served as president of the Causeway Club and was president of Bear’s Paw at the time of his death.
Gordon was an experienced and passionate sailor, enjoying in particular sailing off the coast of Maine near Mount Desert Island with his family. He owned a succession of sailboats, several of which were named Eventyr (“adventure” or “adventure story” in Norwegian). In his youth, Gordon worked on tugboats and, in 1995, earned his 100-ton license in honor of his father, who was a tugboat captain. He was active in the Gulf of Maine Ocean Racing Association summer competitions and served as vice-commodore of the Northeast Harbor Fleet.
Gordon also was an avid sportsman, playing golf and tennis, bicycling, hunting and fly-fishing. He won the Maine state tennis championships in doubles with Carol and later taught Suzanne how to play golf.
He loved spending time with his grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother, Carl (Marilyn); three stepchildren; 10 step-grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and his dog, Bogie.
Funeral services will be private. There will be a celebration of his life at Indian Creek Yacht and Country Club on November 5. There will be additional memorials in Florida, Gettysburg and Maine at later dates.
In lieu of flowers, please send contributions to the Carol and Gordon Haaland Scholarship Fund at Gettysburg College, 300 North Washington Street, Gettysburg, PA 17325 (or donate online), or to the Ole E. Haaland Endowment Fund at the University of New Hampshire, 105 Main Street, Durham, NH, 03824.