J. D. Kennedy

Major: Conservation and Wildlife Management and Ecology and Field Biology

J.D. is grateful for the opportunity to work, rather than pay, for his education.

J.D. Kennedy, Student Body President at Hard Work U. is passionate about conservation wildlife management, serving others, and living a life devoted to Christ.

After an injury in high school, J.D.’s plans to play soccer in college were thwarted. Although this setback was challenging, it led J.D. to apply to College of the Ozarks – a place where he knew he could work, rather than pay, for his education. He sees God’s hand in his journey.

“God, in His perfect will, worked in my life to orient my paths to lead me here. It is not an easy place, but it is a place full of people who encourage and push you to grow in the deepest ways. I am truly grateful for the way that God guided me here and how God has worked during my time here.”

J.D., along with all full-time students at Hard Work U., participates in the Work Education Program, where he works 15 hours per week at his assigned workstation and two forty-hour workweeks during the academic school year. This work has proven valuable to J.D.

Plant seeds of success.



An investment in College of the Ozarks is an investment in students like J. D.


Working at places like the cafeteria, landscaping, and mail operations, J.D. learned a variety of skillsets. He was also able to work in the Conservation Department on campus, which aided in learning more about the field about which he is passionate. He now serves as the Student Body President, a high honor and significant responsibility.

“Through these workstations, I have met and learned from some of the most gifted individuals. I learned what it looks like to listen well, meet people where they are, and treasure Jesus more today than yesterday.”

The work hasn’t always been easy, but J.D. has faced his challenges head-on and is stronger because of them.

“College of the Ozarks is a special place that I will always hold dear in my heart.”

“I believe the best approach is to have a willingness to embrace challenges and overcome them.”

J.D. has also had some fun along the way.

“From campus events like MudFest or Sadie Hawkins to living life with roommates and suitemates, I have built relationships that I will cherish forever.”

These relationships, combined with a Christian environment, and caring professors, have assisted in growing J.D.’s walk with Christ.

“To say that my faith has been strengthened while at the College would be an understatement. I was able to draw closer to Christ, more tangibly grasp the heart of Christ, and grow in a relationship with Him.”

J.D. will graduate in May as a double major in Conservation and Wildlife Management and Ecology and Field Biology.

“I would like to work with private landowners to help them manage their properties for conservation. I believe that conservation is a great way to steward the gifts that God has graciously given us.”

Hard Work U. has left an indelible mark on J.D.’s life. “College of the Ozarks is a special place that I will always hold dear in my heart. I have grown academically, relationally, and spiritually in four short years. I truly cherish my community at C of O and recognize I could not have gotten this anywhere else.”