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Hello Fellow Alumni,

I am extremely honored to announce the $5000 gift pledged by my mother (Denise Smith) and myself, toward Eastern Michigan University Black Alumni’s Scholarship Program for the inception of the Above All Odds Scholarship in memory of Mario D. Smith. This will be a $500 scholarship awarded over the next 10 years to 1 deserving student (each year) who exemplifies through community service, essay and enrollment his or her dedication to persevering through life’s challenges with a determination to achieve Above All Odds!

Mario D. Smith (my brother) had his life stolen from him at 16 years young (10 years ago). He was a Junior in High School, academic scholar, star football player, loved helping others; and had dreams of attending FAMU and becoming a doctor. However on November 30, 2002 those dreams were cut short. Not only would he never attend college, but he also never had the opportunity to graduate from high school. Education was extremely important to Mario, and he understood that achieving in life meant taking school seriously, but also taking the time to help others along the way.

The Above All Odds Scholarship in his honor and memory is one of the best ways to share his legacy. In my service with EMUBA I have reviewed numbers of scholarship applications from students who may have missed the grades and required GPA, but through the courage, strength and determination expressed in their essays cried out for someone to simply give them a chance by believing in their potential despite the picture their grades painted . And that's what this scholarship will do...inspire someone to keep striving ahead; Above All Odds.

The awarding of this scholarship will follow the same timeline and process as the EMUBA Book Scholarship, and will be made available starting the 2013-2014 scholarship cycle.

My mother and I are extremely grateful for this opportunity and look forward to making a positive impact on deserving students of Eastern Michigan University.

Leslie Love Smith

EMUBA President