Alanda Courtney Alexandre was the first Montclair State student to win the $5,000 Marie Nesbitt Promise Prize.The prize is awarded to a black entrepreneurship or business student who has achieved academic excellence, and embodies the qualities of leadership, scholarship, initiative, service and entrepreneurship. The prize was first established in 2002 by Vikki Pryor, founder of the Change Create Transform Foundation. The prize was created in memory of Pryor’s grandmother, Marie Nesbitt, who was a great granddaughter of slaves and held jobs ranging from domestic worker to welder and shipping clerk. Nesbitt was also an accomplished writer, photographer and chef, who inspired family and friends to reach for the stars, stand up for what they believe, and to never give up.
The Promise Prize is also awarded annually at Bronx Community College, State University of New York at Buffalo, University of Illinois at Chicago and University of Iowa. Pryor is involved in business and philanthropic efforts in communities across the country, and founded the Change Create Transform Foundation in 2010 as part of her commitment to the community.
The prize was presented to Alexandre at the School of Business Faculty/Staff Recognition Lunch. Alexandre is a junior pursuing a degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance and Management Information Systems and a minor in Mathematics. She has a 3.6 GPA through fall 2013. Alexandre is fluent in French and Creole, and conversational in Spanish. She has been juggling four jobs on campus, but that hasn’t stopped Alexandre from getting involved in a host of extra-curricular activities, just some of which include: vice president of events of National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Education Opportunity Fund conference, Newman Catholic Center, Sinatra Hall Council secretary and basketball intramurals.
Alexandre was chosen by a selection committee that identified qualified candidates, narrowed the list to finalists and then chose a winner. The selection committee included School of Business Dean Brent Chrite, Accounting professor Agatha Jeffers, Economics and Finance professor Hermann Sintim-Aboagye, and Sharon Waters, program manager of the Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship.