As high school graduation approached, his mother encouraged him and his older sister, Deidre, to apply for scholarships through the CFO.
“Coming from a middle-class family, there wasn’t going to be much help with college,” he says. It was up to him to find a way to afford higher education.
A talented athlete and part of Hillcrest’s basketball program that finished runner-up in the state in 2012, Hardy considered an athletic scholarship at University of Missouri–St. Louis. “I could have gone to college to play basketball, but ultimately, it was the Straus scholarship that kept me in Springfield, kept me in the community.”
The largest scholarship administered by the CFO, the Henry J. and Lucille J. Straus Scholarship Fund now awards a renewable $6,000 a year to more than 50 students attending private universities. Both he and his sister received the scholarship, enabling them to attend Drury University. He graduated in 2017 with degrees in finance and economics, a minor in entrepreneurship, and little student debt.