A scholarship in memoriam: the legacy of Jozy McGinnis
One day, Jozy McGinnis (pictured above) stood outside her home in Chicago when school let out at a Catholic grade school across the street. She noticed a student walking down the sidewalk looking particularly unhappy. She asked him why, and the student said he was getting bad grades in math without anyone at home to help out.
During their conversation, he admitted that math was a struggle for him and he was worried he would flunk. Jozy offered to help the boy with his math comprehension. The boy accepted, and for as long as he wanted help she provided it.
Years later, her husband, Mark, was working out in the yard when a young man walked up to him and asked to speak with “Miss Jozy.” Mark informed him that Jozy had recently passed away but asked if there was something he could help with. The young man said, “I came by to show Miss Jozy my college diploma. I’m the kid she helped with math many years ago. And I wanted to thank her. Without her help, I never would have achieved this.”
Jozy attended Loyola University Chicago, and from that time on through adulthood, friends and family describe her as the most selfless person one would meet.
“Jozy and I were best friends for about 25 years,” said Janice Colosi (pictured below). “She was a very kind and generous person. She enjoyed surprising friends, family, or even strangers with unexplained kindness. She lived the philosophy of ‘paying it forward,’ often saying, ‘it will always come back.’”
Emy Rubio (pictured below), another close friend, said, “Jozy was always there for me—for everyone. If I needed to talk or to have a good cry or just have some fun or simply do nothing, together—she was always there.”
In 2005, Jozy was diagnosed with cancer. She received surgery and medical treatments that provided her six more good years until the cancer returned in full force in 2011. She passed away in May 2012.
“I wanted to do something lasting in her memory,” said Janice, “something that would please her and make a difference. So I approached Mark with the idea of a scholarship, and he agreed.”
Mark loved the idea, and together—along with friends Terry and Barbara Peterson—Mark, Janice, Emy, and the Petersons contributed toward the establishment of the Jozy McGinnis Endowed Scholarship.
“One hundred years from now, hundreds of students will have benefited from this scholarship,” said Mark. “Their future and destinies were unknown when they applied for help, and the Jozy McGinnis Endowed Scholarship was their vehicle to success and support in reaching their full potential.”
The story above about Jozy helping a young man with math was shared by Terry and Barbara and was also the driving reason behind their desire to support the scholarship. "She was quite a woman and a force for good in the world," they said.
“I supported this scholarship fund, because it continues to bring Jozy's spirit to others,” said Emy, “especially deserving young people in need of assistance, the kind of people for whom Jozy cared deeply.”
Recently, Janice and Emy got to meet the first recipient of the scholarship, Christine Dankha (pictured below), a microbiology major who recently finished her junior year at Loyola. And Christine and Mark also connected through a video phone call.
“When I learned that I was receiving the Jozy McGinnis Endowed Scholarship,” said Christine, “I was incredibly honored to be the first recipient. This scholarship helped me and my family through hardship, and Jozy will forever be in our hearts.”
Asked why scholarships are important, Christine said, “Scholarships help students become more confident in themselves. Scholarships mean someone out there believes in them and supports them. A little extra push can carry students a long way.”
(Photo from left to right: Janice Colosi, Emy Rubio, Christine Dankha, Dale Blanchett/Advancement staff)