History of George W. Jenkins Scholarship

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The George W. Jenkins Scholarship Program was established through the generosity of Publix Super Markets Charities, Inc., and the University of Miami in honor of Publix founder George W. Jenkins. 

George W. Jenkins came to Ybor City, Florida, in 1925 with only $9 in his pocket. At age 17, he began his career as a broom pusher and store clerk at Piggly Wiggly Grocery. Jenkins quickly earned a promotion but was distraught when an absent owner purchased the store and refused to meet with him. A true self-starter, Jenkins bought a vacant space next door and opened the first Publix Food Store in 1930. 

As Jenkins expanded his grocery chain, he maintained the belief that Publix stores should be places where "customers find it a pleasure to shop and employees find it a pleasure to work." Today, Publix is the largest employee-owned supermarket chain in the United States, with more than 1,000 stores—a testament to Jenkins' strong work ethic and desire to achieve. It is these qualities the George W. Jenkins Scholarship Program wishes to encourage and reward in today's students.