Jake Kennedy

Major: Business Administration
College: Warrington College of Business
Hometown: DeLand, Florida

Jake Kennedy is small-town boy with big career dreams.

But following his dreams wasn't easy for him and his family.

Born and raised in DeLand, Fla., Kennedy had to help his mother when she couldn't walk after surviving a car crash. School was always something he excelled at and his family stressed the importance of working hard.

"I had to learn how to do the laundry before I learned how to tie my own shoes," Kennedy said. "Life was really bad when my parents' divorce left us without money."

Kennedy became the president of his high school student government and rose to the top of his class upon graduation. He considered attending college out of state when the passing of his grandfather inspired him to attend UF and help his mother. It was when he received the Florida Opportunity Scholarship that assured his decision to stay.

"I became a Gator when someone else was nice enough to give me a chance," Kennedy said. "The small town feeling I got when I came to Gainesville told me this was where I belonged."

Kennedy is pursuing a bachelor's degree in Business Administration so he can one day own his own business. He's now a new member of UF's Bike & Build, a student-run non-profit organization advocating affordable housing through Habitat for Humanity. Kennedy is raising enough money so he can ride across the country with fellow students in efforts of raising the club's awareness.

"One of these days I hope my name can be engraved on one these building walls as a donor to prove that I've given back," Kennedy said. "Without the scholarship, I'd have to work full-time and take off time from school to afford it later"