He applied to only two other places—MIT and Rose-Hulman—for studies in his eventual quest to become an actuarial.
He loved the smaller campus here, the talented staff and the fact that he could get more individualized attention.
He also loved the fact that he was named a Herbert Presidential Scholar.
So did his parents, Samantha Kennedy and Tim Kennedy.
“It is an amazing honor,” Samantha Kennedy said.
Kennedy also feels honored and humbled: “I really didn’t know it was coming. It’s very nice.”
The scholarship pays for more than a university education for Kennedy and the 69 other awardees in the Indiana University system. They all receive a new laptop computer and a stipend to study overseas during their junior or senior years.
Kennedy is looking forward to visiting Germany with his stipend and possibly more places around the world after he earns his bachelor’s degree – and then a master’s degree.
“Mathematics has pulled me,” he said. “Working as an actuary offers good security and pay. It would allow me to do things I want to do.”
He believes he gets the best of the extensive Indiana University world by coming to IU East. “A college education is pretty similar across the board. It’s nice at a small institution (such as IU East) that the quality is high,” he said. “It can get you here, there and everywhere else.”
Kennedy was nominated by guidance counselors at Lawrenceburg High School, where he was an honors student and heavily involved in musical endeavors. He served as band captain for three years, played piano for the show choir and also played in the orchestra.
He also found the time to earn an associates degree through Vincennes University, mainly by taking online courses while in high school.
Kennedy makes the 80-minute drive to campus three times a week, but is planning to get an apartment soon near the campus in Richmond. He hopes to work at Whitewater Broadcasting while attending IU East.
He has found IU East to be friendly and inviting. “It’s pretty easy to meet people,” he said.
He’s already developed a connection with Young You, assistant professor in the Natural Science and Mathematics Department. “I am going to work with him on being an actuary,” Kennedy said. “It’s so great to get that personal attention.”
Herbert Scholars are selected for their talents, diversity, interests, academics and leadership. Many also have overcome personal challenges.
Kennedy’s father is a disabled veteran. Being a scholar and taking college-level classes in high school means a financial burden is lifted on his parents.
Samantha Kennedy said she was shocked and amazingly proud when she read the letter announcing Kennedy’s award and discovered what it covered.
“Because he had always done so well academically, we thought it would help. I had no idea it would be a full-blown scholarship,” she said.