Skip to main content

The Impact of Giving

The Impact of Giving
Dr. L. Dale Cruse and Peggy Jackson Cruse

Dr. L. Dale Cruse '55 and Peggy Jackson Cruse '61 were very good students academically and shared a passion for athletics, which was the driving force behind their collegiate careers at McKendree University.

Dale, a self-described "poor country boy" from southern Illinois, credits McKendree for providing him both academic and athletic scholarships which, along with affordable housing options and a job painting rooms on campus, allowed him to be successful in college and complete his bachelor's degree.

A skilled athlete, as well as president of his junior class and president of the student body his senior year, Dale was hired as McKendree's director of physical education and head baseball coach at the almost unheard-of age of twenty-four!

Peggy was also an outstanding athlete as she competed successfully in eight sports while at McKendree. She once won a women's free throw shooting contest (making 92 out of 100 attempts) and played for the Texas Cowgirls, who headlined for the Harlem Globetrotters.

Though Dale and Peggy were at McKendree at the same time, their paths did not cross again until many years later when Dale was an administrator, professor, and department chair at the University of Utah, and he returned to McKendree for a class reunion and reconnected with Peggy. They married in 1987. In the years since, Dale and Peggy had remained loyal to their alma mater by supporting McKendree on an annual basis.

Their philanthropy included support for the new Convocation Center at McKendree, helping to endow a scholarship in honor of Coach James Collie and another scholarship in Peggy's name to support a female athlete in the sports of basketball and softball at McKendree. When Dale's son Randy passed away from Multiple Sclerosis in 1997, Dale endowed a scholarship in Randy's name at the University of Utah. In the early 2000's, Dale endowed a scholarship to support a basketball or baseball student-athlete at McKendree.

He wanted to establish this scholarship at his alma mater both as a memorial to his son and in recognition of all of the McKendree professors, coaches and administrators who helped him along the way.

In addition to their endowed scholarships, Dale and Peggy continue to give back annually to many areas of the University, including the annual fund, the Hettenhausen Center for the Arts, the science building project and to their beloved athletic department. The Cruses have encouraged fellow alumni to either support an existing endowed scholarship or create one in honor or in memory of a family member.

One of Dale's favorite quotes is, "If you want to know the value of an individual, ask not for the sum of all that he owns, but look instead to the total of all that he has given."

The Cruse's subscribe to this philosophy, and with their generosity, they do make a difference in the lives of McKendree students now and in the future.