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Scholarship established in memory of Dr. Marshall Banks

Marshall Banks PictureDr. Marshall Banks’ legacy at MSU is one that will be remembered for generations to come.  He was a trailblazer in the world of collegiate athletics during the civil rights movement. Now, he will be forever remembered through a memorial scholarship that has been established through the Morehead State University Foundation.  

Marshall D. Banks (Class of 1962) enrolled in MSU in 1958 and was the first Black athlete to receive an Ohio Valley Conference athletic scholarship. He started his collegiate career as a basketball player for the Eagles, but due to Jim Crow laws and civil rights issues, he decided to switch sports and joined the track and field team, where he became an all-conference student-athlete. Banks was a member of the Dean’s List all four years at MSU, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in 1962. In 1965, he returned to campus, first as a faculty member and a year later to become the head coach of MSU Track and Field, the first Black head coach in any sport in the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC).    

Banks became a two-time graduate from the University of Illinois. He earned a master’s degree in 1963 and was an assistant track and field coach while earning a Ph.D. in 1973. He later served as an associate professor in the Recreation Education Department at SUNY (State University of New York) Cortland and associate professor of the Department of Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Colorado from 1974 to 1978. Banks continued his career at Howard University in Washington, D.C., earning a tenured position and serving as chairman of the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation for two terms (1978-89 and 1993-99). He retired from Howard University in 2012 as a professor emeritus after 34 years of service.   

In 1987, Banks was inducted into the MSU Athletic Hall of Fame and later received the Founders Award for University Service in 2008. He passed away on Oct. 6, 2020, at the age of 80. To honor his commitment to education and continue his legacy as an Eagle, the Banks Family established the Marshall Banks Memorial Scholarship in his memory.   

“Marshall strongly believed when you open a book you unlock the door to new adventures, knowledge and the power to become an independent thinker,” the Banks family said in a statement. "This scholarship in his name will open doors for future generations.  

Scholarship recipients must graduate from a high school located in MSU’s 22-county service region, be an incoming freshman, and have a 3.0 GPA. Preference will be given to African American students. Awards will be used to assist students with textbook purchases. The first scholarship will be awarded in the fall 2022 semester.   

Students interested in applying to this scholarship and other privately funded scholarships managed by the MSU Foundation should visit the online scholarship application at  

For more information on this scholarship, or to establish your own, contact MSU’s Office of Alumni Relations and Development at 606-783-2033, email or visit to contribute today.