The award is named for an outstanding engineer and businessman, who received his B.S. in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech in 1911. While a student, Ferst became interested in scientific research conducted in an educational setting. In 1933, he and two other influential Georgians used their own funds to establish the Georgia Tech Research Institute, to make it possible for faculty members to conduct research, in addition to teaching. Ferst’s belief that it is necessary for professors to conduct scientific research in order to stay abreast of their fields and to generate enthusiasm in the classroom also led him to provide funding—during his lifetime and in perpetuity through the Ferst Foundation of Atlanta—for Sigma Xi research awards at Georgia Tech. As the culmination of his life-long concern, his family and the Ferst Foundation established in 1975 a $100,000 trust fund to provide income for the Georgia Tech Chapter of Sigma Xi to carry on the recognition of noteworthy contributions both locally, as before, and nationally through the Monie A. Ferst Medal and the accompanying $10,000 prize.