03:55 AM

Ohio State selects two scholars for inaugural President’s Prize

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Ohio State University has selected two graduating seniors as recipients of the first-ever President’s Prize, the highest university recognition bestowed on exceptional students committed to social change.

KayMesha Knox, a Columbus native, and Margaret Griffin, of Cincinnati, each will receive a $50,000 living stipend and up to $50,000 in startup funding. President’s Prize financial support is supplemented by access to faculty mentors and other accomplished experts, as well as opportunities to share project ideas with Ohio State’s global community of alumni, friends and partners.

The President’s Prize, to be awarded annually, is funded solely through donor contributions. The prize was initially funded by the generous gift of an anonymous donor in 2015.

Knox is taking on a pressing issue in American higher education: creating pathways for teenagers from low-income families to pursue post-secondary education. Griffin is fighting food insecurity by improving the availability of farm produce for children living in areas with poor access to fresh foods.

The President’s Prize honors Ohio State’s founding purpose of offering an excellent education while elevating society through research, as reflected in the university motto Education for Citizenship.

“These outstanding students have set a standard of compassion and excellence for Buckeyes everywhere,” said Ohio State President Michael V. Drake. “They are intelligent, talented and committed to using their gifts to help others. I am excited to follow their journeys, and to see how many others they will inspire to effect positive change in our communities.”

Knox and Griffin were selected from among a strong group of applicants. Submissions are expected to have the potential to make a meaningful impact on society and further the university’s mission of addressing some of the world’s most important and pressing challenges. The prize is to be awarded to recipients whose applications stand out for the boldness of their ideas, their capacity to champion change and their commitment to the global community.

“As a student who faced financial hardships, I can’t fully express how grateful I am to be nearing graduation from Ohio State and to be awarded the President’s Prize,” Knox said. “My project will focus on helping young people here in the Columbus area who may lack financial means to pursue post-secondary educational opportunities and positioning them to be successful, including right here as Buckeyes.”

“I am immensely grateful to be a recipient of the President’s Prize,” Griffin said. “My project will connect student groups here at Ohio State with local farms and elementary schools to ensure that children who live in food deserts have access to fresh produce. I am honored by the support I have received from our faculty and others in the community, and look forward to working together to help children enjoy healthier lives.”

For more information on the prize, see https://presidentsprize.osu.edu/.