Alumnus Receives Bush Foundation Grant

Posted on April 30th, 2009 by

The Bush Foundation has named Gustavus Adolphus College alumnus Jess O. Luce ’99 a 2009 Leadership Fellow. The Bush Fellowship will allow Luce to pursue a master’s degree in public administration with a concentration in aging issues in the Maxwell School at Syracuse University.

“Being named a 2009 Bush Leadership Fellow is an incredible honor and great responsibility — to fulfill my commitment to help Minnesota communities prepare for their aging populations,” said Luce.

After receiving his bachelor’s degree in political science and English from Gustavus, Luce became a VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) volunteer, organizing elderly residents who were at risk of losing their housing. “Gustavus certainly played a strong part in my development as a student, activist, and someone who wants to work within the system to change it for the betterment of society’s disadvantaged,” said Luce.

As the baby boomer generation enters retirement, Luce hopes to lead conversation about how communities and governmental programs must adapt. “The aging of baby boomers is going to define our society over the next two decades as we prepare for the year 2030 when one in four Minnesotans will be age 65 or older,” said Luce “Currently most communities are not prepared for this massive population shift.”

He added, “Communities need to begin long-term planning initiatives, access the needs of their boomer residents, and lay the groundwork for coordination of services to ensure that boomers remain active and engaged as assets to their communities.”

Currently, Luce serves as Director of Organizing and Civic Engagement for Child Care Works, a nonprofit organization that advocates for quality, accessible, and affordable child care in Minnesota.

A prestigious and highly-competitive award, the 2009 Bush Fellowship was awarded to eighteen individuals from Minnesota, South Dakota, and North Dakota. The Bush Foundation provides grants to those seeking to further their education, while improving their community. In order to qualify, candidates must have a record of leadership and demonstrate integrity, emotional maturity, intelligence, and the ability to communicate. Through these fellowships, the Bush Foundation aims to improve the quality of life in Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota.

Founded by Archibald Bush and his wife Edyth in 1953, the Bush Foundation has provided more than $800 million in grants and fellowships, primarily funded by 3M investments.

Luce is more than thrilled to have been selected. “I’m excited that my ideas have been validated by an amazing foundation which is committed to having a positive impact on communities,” he said. “The fellowship affords me the opportunity to have my ideas challenged by the leading public affairs school in the country — the Maxwell School at Syracuse University — which in turn will help expand my knowledge of aging issues and come back to share what I have learned with Minnesota communities.”


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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