Elexis Grimes receives the Featherstone Endowed Prize

Remarkable seniors nominated by faculty for Richard Lee Featherstone Endowed Prize

Elexis Grimes, a recent graduate of the Eli Broad Business College in accounting, has been named the 2018 recipient of the Richard Lee Featherstone Endowed Prize.

The Richard Lee Featherstone Endowed Prize is given to the most outstanding MSU graduating senior, to be used for future growth and development, travel, graduate study, or meditation.   

The prize was created in 1986 by a group of MSU College of Education alumni to celebrate Dr. Richard Lee Featherstone’s life and contributions to scholarship, research and leadership. Qualifications for the award winner include status as an MSU senior, an open, curious, creative approach to education and ideas, as well as intellectual ingenuity.  Additionally, the award recipient must demonstrate exceptional character and leadership in enriching the lives of others and a commitment to community service and lifelong learning.

Grimes is one of forty-five recently graduated seniors who were nominated for the prize by MSU faculty and academic staff. She is a first-generation college student who excelled in studies and dedicated her time to community service, ranging from mentoring in the Lansing Boys and Girls Club, leading within the Broad College Residential Business Community, and as an intern at a U.S. State Department NGO in Tanzania, teaching English to Swahili speakers to facilitate business practices. One of her nominations said, “Elexis has dedicated herself to help others faced with socioeconomic challenges through supporting and educating about business growth and development and hopes to one day be an international consultant.”

Grimes attributes much of her success to opportunities afforded her at MSU, and says, “It is because of my journey through MSU I have realized my true passion of creating growth and empowering communities through socioeconomic development. Through working for the global professional services firm, EY, and the Richard Lee Featherstone Endowed Prize, I aim to make a positive impact on society. When support meets persistence, change is made.”

Four other outstanding students were named finalists:


  • Anna Cumming, recent graduate of the Honors College who double majored in history and political science in the College of Social Science, and devoted leader of various campus organizations combatting sexual assault, will attend graduate school in the U.K. for women’s studies then study law at Georgetown.

  • Hannah Jones, recent graduate of the Honors College who double majored in political science and criminal justice in the College of Social Science, has interwoven her major with her devotion to enrich the lives of others through the Michigan Municipal League and community service opportunities. Her interest and dedication to original research about injustice will serve her as she pursues a law degree.

  • Sumaya Malas, recent graduate of the Honors College who triple majored in comparative cultures and politics and international relations in James Madison College and Arabic in the College of Arts & Letters, plans to continue assisting Syrian refugees and expanding dialogue about Islam and Islamophobia by pursuing a graduate degree in humanitarian policy and human rights, with a focus on the Middle East.
  • Genera Walker, recent graduate of James Madison College, who majored in social relations and policy, and recognized for her dedication to community service and improving racial and academic climate, will pursue graduate degrees in public administration and education policy and management, with the goal of working within unjust and under-performing school districts to analyze and solve inefficiencies.  

Chairperson of the Featherstone Prize, Jacqueline Taylor, says, "On behalf of the Featherstone Prize Committee, it is a very special privilege to congratulate our finalists and to award the Featherstone Prize to Elexis Grimes. These outstanding MSU seniors are definitely leaders of the future who are committed to building a better world.  Our MSU faculty are also to be congratulated for their dedication to creating an atmosphere of learning and growth for our MSU students. The Featherstone Prize Committee is truly proud to be able to recognize outstanding graduating seniors who epitomize community service, global education, and leadership."

R. Sekhar Chivukula, MSU associate provost for undergraduate education, presented the award to Grimes at the Eli Broad College of Business graduation ceremony on May 5, 2018.

Read another piece about Elexis Grimes here.

Photo credit: Matthew Mitchell, courtesy of the Eli Broad College of Business