Gainesville Student Wins $23,000 Scholarship for Business Studies

December 05, 2011

Gainsville_StudentAntron McCullough, a 23-year-old business administration student, won $23,000 in scholarship money as part of the Dr. Pepper Tuition Giveaway during the Big 10 Championship Game on Saturday, December 3, between Michigan State University and the University of Wisconsin. The game and the tuition contest were held in Indianapolis.

McCullough emerged as one of two finalists Friday in the national competition. He then faced off against another college student in a one-on-one competition that was televised during the half-time segment of the game, broadcast on Fox Sports.

Gainsville_Student_2 The two finalists competed to see who could throw more footballs into a replica of an oversized Dr. Pepper can. They were required to throw from a distance of five yards, in a timespan of only 30 seconds, using brand-new footballs. It was a test of precision and speed. McCullough got eight footballs into his can in a neck-and-neck competition, while his opponent landed nine, securing the grand prize of $100,000. Still, as runner-up, McCullough is grateful that he qualified for $23,000 from Dr. Pepper.

“I was very happy with the way it turned out,” McCullough said Monday. While he is still looking for aid to offset some student loans, he already had financing in place for his junior year, he explained, and can now apply his winnings toward his senior year expenses. The grand prize winner, he added, had an even more compelling financial need, so it was satisfying to see the larger sum go to the other student.

All the Dr. Pepper contestants had to make a compelling case, through video submissions, that they deserved to be able to compete in this sports-themed national college scholarship competition. McCullough explained during his homemade video that he spent much of his youth in foster care, and continues to advocate for young people. He would like a career as a motivational speaker for young people, and is also interested in exploring public policy that concerns youth.

McCullough transferred to Saint Leo after he earned an associate degree at Santa Fe College, a two-year public college in Gainesville that is a partner institution with Saint Leo University. Graduates from Santa Fe can transfer with ease to Saint Leo’s regional education center in Gainesville to complete their bachelor’s degree requirements. McCullough followed the advice of friends who told him that if he selected Saint Leo as his transfer institution, he would receive personal attention and encouragement from faculty – an important consideration for him. “The professors really take the time to make sure you are learning,” he said. “They will sit down with you and do whatever is needed.”

McCullough will return to Florida now to complete his fall semester studies. He expects to graduate in 2013.