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EMU Foundation

A Legacy of Lifelong Learning

Pozo Family

Members of the Pozo family pose with a portrait of Raul Pozo.

by Jeff Samoray

Raul Pozo never received a college degree. But he didn't let that stand in the way of becoming a renaissance man.

"Dad was a lifelong learner," says Cecilia Pozo Fileti (MA92), a graduate of EMU's Nutrition and Dietetics program and member of the Physician Assistant Program Advisory Board. "Just before his death at age 84, he was teaching himself to read Chinese and he remained very engaged in life. He loved to talk with friends about religion, politics and investments. He committed himself to lifelong learning."

After Pozo's passing in 2012, his wife, daughters, family and friends established the Raul A. Pozo Endowed Scholarship with a generous $24,000 gift. Scholarship awards will be made to bilingual students who demonstrate financial need (with preference given to English and Spanish-speaking) in Eastern's College of Health and Human Services. The scholarship is aligned with Pozo's legacy of embracing life, encouraging continuous self-improvement, and strengthening the world for our collective good.

"When dad passed, we discussed as a family what we could do as a tribute," Fileti says. "We knew creating a scholarship would be a great way to honor him."

Pozo was born in Ecuador in 1928 and he was the eldest of six children. He attended law school for several years but withdrew when his father died. Thrust into the role of family patriarch, Pozo came to the United States in 1952 to seek better economic opportunities. An ambitious, dedicated and hardworking young man, Pozo settled in New Jersey and worked for International Pulp and Paper in its import-export and shipping departments. Eventually, he earned enough money to bring his mother, siblings and new bride to the U.S.

Following his entrepreneurial spirit, Pozo developed properties and launched his own import-export business. He also taught English as a Second Language classes part-time to businessmen, all while being a dedicated father and husband. In 1996, he and his wife relocated to Michigan to be close to family. Later in life, Pozo served as president and board member of several community organizations. He also enjoyed poetry, chess, tennis and bocce.

"Dad was a kind and generous humanitarian who was committed to service," Fileti says. "He also helped bring other families to the U.S. from Ecuador. They, in turn, had families and created businesses, which adds to the richness of America's fabric.

"Even with all his accomplishments, not having a college degree really bothered dad. But he'd be very proud to know that the scholarship in his name will help students achieve that dream." n

EMU Foundation is located at 112 Welch Hall, 850 W. Cross St., Ypsilanti, MI, USA 48197 Phone: 734.484.1322