Our Celebration of Student Leadership

St. Cloud State students are leaders throughout the campus and community - in academics, campus activities, student employment, internships, volunteering, athletics, or in countless other places. Since 1988, the Excellence in Leadership Award has recognized students who have demonstrated outstanding leadership at SCSU based on an evaluation of their academic commitment and leadership experiences.

Students are considered for this honor by either being nominated by a faculty or staff or self nominating. Throughout the application process, students are considered to receive the top honor of the Dennis M. Thayer Award. 

Important Dates

36th Annual Excellence in Leadership Banquet 
Sunday, April 14, 2024

2024 Student Applications and Nominations

2025 Student Applications and Nominations
Check back in the fall for nomination window

Nominating and Self Nominating

Excellence in Leadership logo
Nominating a Student For faculty, staff and community supervisors

Faculty or staff  may submit a nomination (or multiple nominations) for outstanding students with whom they work. A nomination is different than providing a reference. A nomination is not required in order for a student to submit an application. A reference, however, is required. The goal of a nomination is to provide encouragement for the student to apply. The nomination period for the 2024 awards closed January 26, 2024.

A reference essay goes into detail about the student’s leadership ability, and is a required part of a student’s completed application. When a student completes their application in Huskies Scholarships, they are asked to enter the name of one reference (faculty, staff, or community member supervisor). The reference selected will receive an automated email to complete a series of written questions in the Huskies Scholarships system, which relate to the student’s contributions that align with Our Husky Compact. The goal of a reference is to provide narrative evidence of observed leadership, and the reference will be scored during the judging process. If you have been selected to be a reference the due date is 11:59pm Feb 4, 2024. Please review the Reference Instructions (PDF).
Excellence in Leadership logo
Student Self Nomination For current SCSU students

Submit your application through the Huskies Scholarship system. Applications must include a reference essay provided by a St. Cloud State faculty/staff member or community member supervisor. Applications are considered once the student application is complete and reference letter is received prior to the deadline.

Are you eligible?

  • You must have student status during the current academic year (Fall graduates may apply)
  • 2.5 cumulative GPA for undergraduate and 3.5 cumulative GPA for graduate students
  • 90 semester credits earned for undergraduate and 18 for graduate (current term's credits do not apply)

Before submitting your application, ensure it is complete and free of spelling and grammatical errors. Incomplete applications are not considered.

2023 Excellence in Leadership Award Winners

Group photo of 2023 winners

The Dennis M. Thayer Award

Black and white photo of Dennis Thayer

The Dennis M. Thayer award is given annually to the top scoring student in the Excellence In Leadership application process. In addition to a small monetary award, the winner joins a distinguished group of alumni whose commitment to leading and serving others exemplifies the life of former St. Cloud State staff member Dennis Thayer, who was killed in an auto accident in 1995.

Recent Recipients

Ashton Hobza, Marketing and Professional Selling Specialization (2023)
Claire Shea, Nursing with Biology minor (2022)
Emily Hacker, Information Systems and Management (2021)
Taylor Richards, Master of Social Work (2020) 
Kaushalya Nissanka, Mechanical Engineering (2019)

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.

President John F. Kennedy

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