College of Business Administration alumna Lalita Booth, ’09, was introduced to a national audience recently when she appeared in a segment titled “The American Spirit” on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. Correspondent Michelle Miller interviewed Lalita and delved into her remarkable “homeless to Harvard” story. Of her improbable journey to great success, Lalita says, “it’s an amazing feeling.”
At 16, Lalita was legally emancipated from her parents, and dropped out of high school to support herself. By 17 she was married; by 18 she was a mother. She struggled with poverty, homelessness and single motherhood for four years before enrolling at Seminole Community College (now Seminole State College) in 2004. In 2006 she came to UCF, where she founded the Lighthouse for Dreams Financial Literacy Project, a not-for-profit program dedicated to helping teens and foster children learn how to manage money. In 2009 she graduated with Honors in the Major as the College of Business Administration’s Top Honor Graduate, with degrees in accounting and finance. She was also awarded the Order of Pegasus (the highest honor UCF awards to students), the UCF Alumni Association’s Distinguished Student Award, and became UCF’s first Truman Scholar.
Now at Harvard, Lalita is earning her master’s in business and public policy, and spends time on Capitol Hill, where she lobbies for single mothers.