Gustavus Launches Premier Music ScholarshipThe audition-based award provides $25,000 per year to promising Music students.
Posted on June 6th, 2024 by

Leo Mellum '28 won the first-ever Gustavus Premier Music Scholarship after an audition this past spring.

Incoming first-year student Leo Mellum ’28 has been awarded the inaugural Premier Music Scholarship, which was established by Music Department faculty for the rarest and most exceptional talent in music performance.

Premier Scholars must audition for the scholarship in person or via an unedited video submission, and the winner receives $25,000 annually. It is the highest award for musical excellence awarded by Gustavus. Private lesson study on the accepted instrument—for Mellum, the piano—is required every semester, and Premier Scholars will participate in Gustavus Music ensembles every semester. Five finalists were selected by faculty, and the four runners up will each receive a $12,500 annual scholarship.

Mellum, who is from Edina, MN and studied at the MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis, learned of his award earlier this spring. “[The audition] was probably my favorite environment for an audition I’ve done so far in my life,” said Mellum, who’s played the piano since he was four years old. “Going into it, I already knew I was going to get a certain level of scholarship [as a finalist], so I was really relaxed.”

He said Gustavus was already his top choice for college going into the audition, and winning the scholarship clinched his decision. He was familiar with the College because multiple members of his family are Gusties. (This includes his sister Morgan ’23, a decorated student who is currently in a master’s degree program in geology at the University of Texas-Austin.) “From the start, I was looking for a smaller, liberal arts, private school, and once I visited Gustavus I really liked the atmosphere,” he said. “The academics, the Music program, and the Swim Team were all factors for me.”

Mellum said he plans to double major in Music and something else, in addition to joining the Men’s Swim Team. “I’m also interested in studying something like Math or Computer Science,” he said, “but I’m pretty open right now to anything.”


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Luc Hatlestad


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