Theodora Rutherford Inclusion Award
The Theodora Rutherford Inclusion Award highlights students who have centered inclusiveness in their student experience at Columbia Business School. Selected students will have demonstrated a commitment to the values and experiences that were central to Theodora Fonteneau Rutherford, the School’s first Black graduate student. Theodora, who earned a master’s degree in accounting in 1924, was one of the first Black individuals to graduate from a top business school in the United States and later, became the first Black woman Certified Public Accountant in West Virginia.
Despite facing over 30 years of discriminatory laws and regulations in her field, Theodora built a distinguished career as an educator by leveraging her exceptional education and aptitude. She appreciated immersing herself in different cultures, and was an important mentor to her students. Selected students must articulate how they embrace the values and experiences that defined Theodora and how they’ve supported the School in becoming a more inclusive space for their peers:
Diverse Experiences: From being immersed in different cultures to exploring unconventional pathways, diverse experiences are fundamental to shaping perspectives and supporting self-reflection.
Professional Perseverance: Challenges are a part of every journey, particularly ones around careers. Pathways are never linear and challenges often become catalysts for change. How individuals overcome challenges help define who they are as a person.
Leading Inclusively: There are many different ways to be an inclusive leader. Such leaders use their voices to advocate for change and encourage their peers to support various initiatives that drive their organizations toward being a more inclusive space for all students.
The application is open to Columbia Business School students (second year MBA students, second year EMBA students, graduating MS students, and PhD students who have completed their first year). Interested students can submit their application online from February 14, 2024-March 15, 2024.
Four (4) Award recipients will be invited to an exclusive dinner with a distinguished alumnus in the Spring semester and will receive a $500 stipend per person.