David W. Preus Servant Leadership Award 2014

The David W. Preus Servant Leadership Award was established in 1988 to honor the contributions to civic and religious life of Dr. David W. Preus at the time of his retirement as Presiding Bishop of the American Lutheran Church. Through his ecumenical and religious leadership and his commitment to the common good through educational, governmental, and community life, David Preus exemplified servant leadership for the sake of the church and the world. Past recipients of the Award were broadly representative community members recognized for their dedication to servant leadership through non-profit organizations for the betterment of society.

In 2009, for the first time in its history, the Award was granted to a student of Luther Seminary to recognize and to encourage outstanding leadership. We intend to continue the award in this way, granting it to a student to support a structured experience intended to build understanding and encourage outstanding leadership that expresses itself in service to others.                                                     

Eligibility for Award

The David W. Preus Servant Leadership Award (approximately $5000) provides the opportunity to pursue a 2-3 month servant leadership project. Students eligible for the award need to have at least part-time student status, be enrolled in a first theological degree program of Luther Seminary, and have completed at least one semester of academic work.  The successful applicant will designate a project in one of the possible following arenas:

  • Servant leadership in civic life
  • Global servant leadership
  • Servant leadership in ecumenical or inter-faith relationships
  • Congregational servant leadership

Timeline for Award

Applications are due March 7th, 2014. The award will be announced at the beginning of April. The project needs to be completed by the end of the summer, with the reflection report due by September 30, 2014.



To apply, an applicant should submit the following:

  • A statement explaining how the proposed experience or project will help the applicant to advance and embody their understanding of servant leadership (maximum 500 words)
  • A brief description of how the applicant hopes to use the funds (this could be for their own housing and financial support, for travel, for conference or book fees, for specific elements of a project, etc.), including a timeline (maximum 250 words)
  • A letter of reference from someone who knows the applicant well and can vouch for their ability to accomplish an independent project of the type they propose
  • A letter of endorsement from a person within the credible nonprofit or public entity who will guide, sponsor, and support the work of the applicant

More information on servant leadership is available at the Greenleaf Center, and we also recommend that applicants read “The Servant as Leader” by Robert Greenleaf, available via e-reserve in the library or from the Office of Student Services.

At the end of the Award period, the awardee will be asked to write a reflection report on the experience that includes the insights gained into servant leadership. The awardee will share the report in a public setting within the Luther Seminary community that seeks to engage the reflection and response of the community by lifting up and promoting the concept of servant leadership.

Applications may be submitted to Dr. Mary Hess, Associate Professor of Educational Leadership (box in Gullixson Hall), or via email to her address.

Direct questions/inquiries to Prof. Hess, ext. 232; mhess@luthersem.edu