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        Accounting, Finance, Student

        Accounting and finance senior Levant receives prestigious President’s Award

        April 16, 2024 By Troy Turner

        All News


        Jacob Levant portrait outdoors

        Jacob Levant, an accounting and finance double major, received the President's and Samford-Cannon Foundation Award April 16, 2024, from Auburn President Christopher B. Roberts.

        God’s grace, supportive family, a great scholastic environment and playing football for the Auburn Tigers are plenty enough building blocks to launch a successful career in business, says Auburn University senior Jacob Levant.

        Those around him at Auburn already are convinced, as Levant was selected as the Harbert College of Business recipient of the 2024 President’s and Samford-Cannon Foundation Award, one of the university’s highest student honors.

        Given each year to one student from each college, the award recognizes students who demonstrate outstanding qualities of leadership, citizenship, character and promise of professional ability. Selected by the dean, Levant received the award from President Christopher B. Roberts on April 16 at the annual President’s Luncheon.

        Levant, from Vestavia Hills, is graduating in May with a 4.0 GPA and a double-major in accounting and finance.

        “I have four older siblings and they all went to Auburn also. I have been going to football games and been around the atmosphere of Auburn since I was a kid,” he said. “I always loved how Auburn was a family atmosphere and how friendly the people are. I have also dreamed of playing football here since I was very young.”

        Regarding his choice of Harbert College of Business, “I have always been interested in business because of my Dad. He is a chief investment strategist for a multi-family office in Birmingham,” Levant said. “He loves his job and has been teaching me about finance/investing for as long as I can remember. He always told me ‘If you find something you love to do, then you'll never have to work a day in your life,’ and I knew I had found the same love for finance and accounting that he did.”

        ‘Devoted to everything’

        Colby Lakas, Harbert’s School of Accountancy program champion and director of recruiting and development, nominated Levant for the honors and shared high praise for his work ethic.

        “Jake is a standout in many areas,” she said. “He’s fully devoted to everything he does and fulfills his obligations with excellence. Not only was he a scholarship member of the football team, he had perfect academics in his double major and was involved in Beta Alpha Psi. He’s got two amazing internships in New York City, as employers recognized his tremendous intelligence and talent for multitasking.”

        Jacob Levant Auburn football on field

        Jacob Levant (foreground) played linebacker and special teams for the Auburn Tigers football team.

        Football is much more than just a fun sport, said Levant, a linebacker on the Auburn team since 2020 and a four-time All-SEC Academic Honor Roll member. He also played special teams for the Tigers.

        “Football has taught me more life lessons in the last four years than anything else in my life,” he said. “I know it's a cliche thing to say, but that's only because it's true. I have always loved the game so much, and I spent most of my childhood dedicating an enormous amount of time to it. In college, it has taught me how to be selfless and focus on making the people around me better.

        “It has also taught me the importance of attitude and consistency. Doing the same thing over and over every day can get difficult sometimes, but I've learned that it is what is required to be successful in anything you do in life, and your attitude about it creates your perception of reality,” Levant said. “Your attitude is a choice and can make your life either extremely fulfilling or miserable depending on what you choose. I am proud to have dedicated so much time and work toward football in my life, regardless of the results. I am a better man because of it.”

        A tiger in New York

        He has taken that same work ethic into two impressive internships that Harbert helped prepare him for, including in New York at KPMG, which focuses on a variety of accounting services, and in investment banking at Goldman Sachs.

        That kind of experience and the accomplishments he has earned at Harbert will make him an excellent representative of Auburn University and Harbert College of Business, says Lakas.

        “Jake will make Auburn look good, especially at his Goldman internship this summer where he’ll be surrounded by students from Ivy League institutions,” she said. “When we have students like Jake enter a market like New York, it’s always fun to see how they rise to the top and make a name for our college.”

        Levant is firm in where he places the most credit for his success.

        “God's grace is the only reason I can even be considered for any award. He has blessed me with the support I need through my family and friends and has given me the will to accomplish everything I've accomplished,” he said. “All I've done is show up every day and try to have a good attitude, whether it's class or practice. I haven't been perfect at it, but I've tried my best.”


        The Harbert College of Business which is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Raymond and Kathryn Harbert's transformational naming gift, is a nationally ranked hub of undergraduate, graduate and continuing business education that is inspiring the next generation of business leaders. Our world-class faculty deliver unparalleled academic rigor in the classroom, while our research-driven scholarship advances thought leadership and best practice across business disciplines. The largest college on Auburn's campus, Harbert enrolls more than 6,900 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students.