Hollingsworth Scholars Program

In 1973, Bernie Little, Jr. was conscripted into military service while attending Emory University.  The draft was ended before he was called into service and instead of returning to college, he moved to Lakeland to join his father in a new business venture.

In 1986, Mr. Little was asked to serve on the Polk Community College Foundation Board of Directors.  It seemed ironic to him that he was serving on a college board of directors when he had not finished college.  Thus with the encouragement of the college president, Dr. Maryly VanLeer Peck, he enrolled at Polk Community College.

Mr. Little graduated from PCC in 1988 with an associate of arts degree.  He then transferred to Florida Southern College and graduated in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in financial management.  He then transferred to Rollins College and graduated in 1992 with a master’s degree in business administration.

While at Rollins College, Mr. Little interacted with Dr. Ann Kerr, the associate dean for the business school.  In 2004, Dr. Kerr would become the president of Florida Southern College.  Dr. Kerr brought a high level of energy and a sense of urgency to FSC that caused the college to move to a much higher level of academic excellence.

It was Dr. Kerr that proposed the Hollingsworth Scholars Program to Mr. Little.  For a premier scholarship program to be successful it requires an endowment large enough to sustain the program.  In 2013, Mr. Little and his wife, Mary Jane Hunt, provided the initial endowment to fund the program.  This multimillion dollar gift will allow 30 Hollingsworth Scholarships to be awarded over the next four years, and a minimum of 12 each year after that.

The Hollingsworth Scholars program is not intended to inclusive.  It is available only to students whose academic accomplishments demonstrate superior intellect, unwavering character, and robust ambition. The program provides a full, four-year scholarship, covering tuition, room and board, and study abroad.

In all of his involvement with Hollingsworth Scholars Program, Mr. Little tried to keep the focus on the program and especially on the students.   In providing the initial endowment to fund the program, it was not his intent to receive personal recognition.

For more information, please visit: http://www.flsouthern.edu/admissions/financial-aid/scholarships.aspx


Hollingsworth Scholars Program Brochure