Walter A. Haas
Walter A. Haas, Sr. (May 11, 1889 – December 7, 1979), son of the founder of Hellman-Haas Grocery (which became Smart & Final), was a former President and Chairman of Levi Strauss & Co. Haas was credited with saving the once struggling company.
In 1910, Haas graduated with a BS degree from the University of California-Berkeley College of Commerce. (He also earned an honorary degree from Berkeley in 1958). Haas served in the U.S. Army Field Artillery during World War I. Upon his return to the United States in 1919, he worked at the Levi Strauss & Company, then a small drygoods wholesaler and maker of work clothing, owned by the family of his wife. In 1928, he became president and served in that position until 1955; thereafter, he served as chairman until 1970 and remained active in company affairs until his death in 1979. Haas' tenure and dedication at Levi Strauss - along with that of his business partner and brother-in-law Daniel E. Koshland, father of physicist Daniel E. Koshland, Jr. - is widely credited with saving the company leading it through the Great Depression, racial integration at its factories, the global popularization of the Levi brand, and the creation of the Levi Strauss Foundation.
Politics and philanthropy
In 1914, Haas married Elise Stern, daughter of Sigmund Stern, the nephew of Levi Strauss (Strauss had died unmarried and without children and deeded his company to his four nephews). Haas had three children: Rhoda Haas Goldman, Peter E. Haas, and Walter A. Haas, Jr.. In 1989, the University of California-Berkeley Regents voted to rename the business school the Haas School of Business in his honor, after a large gift from the Haas family.
- Who's Who in America 1964
- University of california Berkely website: About Walter Haas retrieved March 27, 2013
- JWeekly: "Daniel Koshland, biologist and philanthropist, dies at 87" by joe eskenazi July 27, 2007
- Butler Koshland Fellopshops: "Daniel E. Koshland, Sr. 1892-1979" retrieved march 27, 2013
- JWeekly: "Levi’s exec Walter A. Haas Jr. recalled for generosity" by NATALIE WEINSTEIN September 29, 1995
- San Francisco Gate: "THE HAAS LEGACY / How one family's generosity and commitment to civic life are transforming the Bay Area" by Julian Guthrie July 1, 2007