Bill and Gay Krause have high expectations for their $9 million gift to The Citadel.

Program goals

Cadets focus on an aspect of leadership each of their four years at the school. The program builds on what cadets learned the previous year.

Year Focus

Freshman Prepare

Sophomore Serve

Junior Lead

Senior Command

Quite simply, they want it to change the world.

The Krauses have committed the money to support, advance and endow the military college’s leadership curriculum. Leadership activities at The Citadel are held campus-wide, but they are led by the Krause Center for Leadership and Ethics. The center was created in 2001 with a $2 million gift from the couple. The new gift places them among the top three lifetime donors in the college’s history.

The school’s leadership program is a four-year, step-by-step program that trains cadets to lead. It is woven throughout cadets’ activities, and includes classroom study, military training and seminars.

Bill Krause, a 1963 graduate of The Citadel and president of LWK Ventures, said the school always has been about leadership. But he and former President Maj. Gen. John Grinalds in 2000, after a long conversation, decided leadership alone wasn’t enough. Leaders needed to be principled.

At the time, Krause said, he was frustrated by unethical activities of business executives, such as those at Enron, WorldCom and Tyco International.

Krause said his philanthropic work focuses on educating young people because they are critical to the democratic process, and because an educated workforce is necessary to compete in the global economy. He also has a more lofty goal: “Educated people give you a better chance of finding peace in the world,” he said.

The gift to The Citadel meets his philanthropic goals, he said, and it allows him to give back to the school to which he attributes his success. “I’m convinced that if I hadn’t gone to The Citadel, I wouldn’t have had anywhere near the financial success I’ve had,” Krause said.

Lt. Gen. John Rosa, the school’s current president, said the Krauses’ gift is transformational for the leadership training program at The Citadel. It provides consistent funding, and will allow the college to further develop and evaluate the program.

While Krause is grateful to his alma mater, he also is critical of its shortcomings. And he hopes his gift will help to remedy them.

Krause said he was distraught over the behavior of some cadets and alumni when Shannon Faulkner enrolled as the first woman in 1995. “They acted like Neanderthals,” he said.

Faulkner left the school after less than a week, citing abuse and physical exhaustion.

He wants the leadership program to promote diversity. And he wants the overall cadet system to be changed from an “adversarial autocracy” to a “mentoring meritocracy.”

He wants the school to undergo “a cultural change to bring The Citadel into the 21st Century,” he said.

When he was a cadet, “The Citadel was the quintessential bully,” he said. But he thinks those days are fading away, a move he attributes largely to younger alumni.

He wants the leadership program to be so effective that it becomes a model for other schools. And he hopes cadets who complete it become adults who are leaders and who give back. “In order to do good, one must first do well,” he said.

Rosa said that in the past, cadets could only look to those ahead of them to learn how to lead. With a structured leadership curriculum and program, “we are giving men and women tools and an instructional program to become effective leaders,” he said. “That,” Rosa said, “is the culture change.”

Reach Diane Knich at 937-5491 or on Twitter @dianeknich.