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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release

Dec. 11, 2009

Lowell Kruse to deliver winter commencement address

Lowell Kruse

Lowell Kruse

Winter commencement ceremonies at Northwest will take place at 1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18, in Bearcat Arena. Doors open at noon.

About 380 students from Northwest's three colleges are expected to receive bachelor's degrees. Another 65 candidates will receive master's degrees or education specialist degrees through the University's Graduate School.

Candidates for graduation may pick up caps and gowns at the Student Services Center on the first floor of the Administration Building from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 14, through Thursday, Dec. 17, and from 8:30 to 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 18.

Graduates are limited to 10 guests each, and tickets will be included in cap-and-gown packets.

Complete details about winter commencement at Northwest are posted on the Senior Spot Web site (

This year's commencement speaker is Lowell Kruse, recently retired president and CEO of Heartland Health in St. Joseph, a role he served for 25 years. Kruse, who has worked in health care administration for more than 40 years, now serves in a volunteer capacity as a Senior Fellow-Healthy Communities for the Heartland Foundation. He is well known regionally and nationally for his commitment to quality and passion for improving the quality of life within the region.

During his tenure with Heartland Health, Kruse successfully facilitated the merger of two community hospitals into a medical center that is nationally recognized for quality. A quintessential humanitarian, Kruse has a penchant for the region's youth, in whom he sees boundless potential and hope for the future. Through his work with the Heartland Foundation, Kruse has championed initiatives to provide structured education designed to inspire middle school students to aspire to seek post-graduate education then return to live and work in the region where they will bring their potential to fruition.

Prior to serving Heartland Health, he was president and CEO of Upstate Health System Inc. as well as Park Ridge Hospital and Nursing Home, all in Rochester, N.Y. Kruse received his bachelor's from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D., and a master of hospital administration from the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis. In addition, he is a graduate of the Health Forum's Healthier Communities Fellowship Program.

Kruse lives in St. Joseph with his wife, Leslie, and serves on a variety of regional and national boards, committees and task forces.

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468