The Community Performance Excellence Leadership Award

The Community Performance Excellence Leadership Award

Deadline for Applications: March 1st
Award: $5,000 per year



The Community Performance Excellence Leadership Award has been established to provide financial assistance of up to $5,000 to three deserving students each year. Recipients will be known as Kruse Scholars. The award is available for junior and senior year, as long as expectations are continually met. Students must demonstrate a strong commitment to improving the health and vitality of communities through the use of proven quality principles and collaborative leadership practices across all sectors and generations. Students will learn and develop skills that will be useful in their professional, personal and civic lives in the future. They will also establish a professional and academic network through relationships formed as a Kruse Scholar.

Establishing the Scholarship

Lowell and Leslie Kruse, initial funders of the award, are motivated by a vision in which the use of Community Performance Excellence Standards (modeled after the Baldrige Performance Excellence Criteria) and collaboration among community leaders from all sectors and generations is the cultural norm. Their vision is simply that the use of a Community Performance Excellence Framework and a strong commitment to a truly collaborative leadership model will systematically address a community’s root cause drivers of the social determinants of health and vitality. They have provided initial funding for this award at Augustana with the goal to support students whose personal mission it is to collaborate with fellow leaders and use quality principles to improve communities. Lowell and Leslie have generously offered their guidance as recipients of this award conclude their undergraduate careers and embark on their professional career and/or education.

Lowell C. Kruse is a 1965 graduate of Augustana where he majored in business administration and psychology. He went on to the University of Minnesota where he was a 1967 graduate of the Masters of Healthcare Administration (M.H.A.) program. From 1984 to 2009, Lowell served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Heartland Health, an integrated health system in St. Joseph, Missouri. He is well known regionally and nationally for his commitment to excellence in healthcare and passion for improving the quality of life in communities around the country.  In 2009, Heartland Health received both the National Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award and Foster G. McGaw Prize for Excellence in Community Service. 

The recipients will be known as Kruse Scholars at Augustana College. The Community Performance Excellence Leadership Award will be administered by the Office of Financial Aid.


Student recipients are required to meet the following expectations.

• Each semester recipients will be required to work with fellow Kruse Scholars to complete a project.
• Attend regular meetings with the faculty advisor.
• Available to participate in a January course in Sioux Falls (optional). This would be part of your Kruse Scholar project, which is related to the Community Performance Excellence initiative.
• Scholarship is renewable for senior year only if recipient is meeting expectations in a satisfactory manner.
• Students will intend to be on campus for the fall and spring semesters of their junior and senior years (this does not include January term).
• Attend two-day Performance Excellence Network (PEN) conference each April in Minneapolis. This is also an opportunity to collaborate with University of Minnesota Kruse Scholars.


Qualified applicants must meet the following criteria:

• Applicants will be junior status for the 2016-17 academic year.
• Applicants must be enrolled full-time (12 credits or more).
• Demonstrated engagement in building collaborative partnerships in the community and an articulated personal mission of continuing this work throughout your career.
• Have a strong record of academic achievement.
• Option to enroll in an independent study course (not required).

Up to three Augustana students are eligible for a $5,000 award per year for up to two years, contingent on the following:

• Maintain engagement in extracurricular activities.
• Maintain an excellent grade point average.
• Participate in meetings/discussions once per semester with Lowell & Leslie Kruse.
• Participate in developmental leadership opportunities as they come available (e.g., campus visit(s) with Leslie & Lowell Kruse, virtual town hall meetings, site visits, etc.).

Funds will be deposited automatically into your student account at the beginning of each semester. The amount deposited into your account will be credited toward any institutional charges (e.g., tuition, fees) for that term. Any remaining balance will be disbursed to you by the Student Accounts Office. Receipt of these scholarship funds may affect total financial aid eligibility and/or tax liability.

Application (Deadline is March 1st)

Complete a biography in paragraph form. Tell us about yourself and answer the following questions (700 words or less):
1) Describe how you have been involved in building collaborative relationships in the community.
2) State your personal goals for the future/life-long involvement and commitment to improving the health and vitality of communities through collaborative partnerships.
3) State your commitment and availability to have regular meetings with the faculty advisor.


Include the contact information of two (2) professional references who can best speak to your ability to be a successful participant in community collaborations.

Reference 1

Reference 2

Please note: Final candidates may be asked to interview with the Scholarship Committee.
I hereby authorize scholarship committees of Augustana College to have access to my college files for purposes of determining my eligibility for scholarships. I understand that the College reserves the right to renew its scholarship commitment(s) from any college-funded award source. I understand that any scholarship awarded to me based on the application will be considered as a part of my total financial aid eligibility at Augustana College and that I must enroll as a full-time student for classes on campus.

Appendix 1
How are recipients chosen?

  • Preference is given to a recipient in each division: Natural Science Division, Humanities Division and Social Science Division.

Who is the point of contact for student recipients?

  • Faculty representative Dr. Ryan Sougstad will arrange meetings – both physical and virtual – with student recipients and Lowell Kruse.

How will students find out about the scholarship?

  • Applications will be dispersed to faculty and students who are currently in their sophomore year.