Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Award

The Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Award was established in 2013 by Dr. Curtis L. Patton. A United States Army veteran, Patton earned M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Michigan State University in Microbiology. Patton joined the Yale University Faculty in 1970 as assistant professor of Microbiology and retired from Yale in 2006. In January 2013, an Endowment Agreement between Michigan State University and Dr. Patton resulted in the establishment of The Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Award. The award is named in honor of Edward A. Bouchet (1852-1918), who became the first African American to earn a doctorate from an American university when he earned a Ph.D. in Physics from Yale University in 1876. Dr. Patton has been long committed to Bouchet’s legacy. The 2004 recipient of the Edward A. Bouchet Leadership Award Medal, he recalls that he was first introduced to Bouchet’s monumental accomplishments when he was a freshman at Fisk University by Mathematics Professor Lee Porch. In honor of Bouchet, the Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Award seeks to enhance financial support for Ph.D. students at MSU who demonstrate the kind of achievement, intellectual and emotional courage Bouchet exhibited.

The fellowship is intended to support graduate students in the natural sciences and mathematics in recognition of academic achievements, research goals, contributions to a diverse educational community, and a record of overcoming obstacles whose progress in their chosen scientific discipline enhances educational diversity at MSU as may be evidenced by personal history and experience, research goals, and/or promotion of understanding among persons of different backgrounds and ideas, or by having demonstrated significant academic achievement in spite of barriers such as economic, social, and/or educational disadvantage. Preference for the fellowship will be given to students studying microbes or microbial disease.

Terms of Award

Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Award recipient(s) will receive a one-time fellowship award in the spring semester. The number of awards made in a given year and the amount of the awards will be based upon available expendable amounts in that year. The awardee(s) will express acceptance and appreciation of the award in writing to the donor, Dr. Curtis L. Patton, prior to receiving the funding.


Applicants must be MSU PhD students in the natural sciences and mathematics who contribute to the university’s diverse educational community and demonstrate a record of overcoming obstacles (see above description of award).  

The Selection and Application Process 

Applications will be evaluated by a selection committee appointed by the Terah Chambers, Associate Dean of the Graduate School.  Applications should include a current curriculum vitae (c.v.) that adheres to the standards of the applicant’s discipline and a letter of application (500 words maximum) that explains how the applicant meets the criteria for the award. Applications should be emailed to the Graduate School at: fellowshipapps@grd.msu.edu

Due Date: 
Funding Amount: 
Semester Due: 
Fall Semester