Robert Popa was a 1953 graduate of the J-School who launched his career as a copy editor at the Oakland Press. He left the paper for a two-year military stint at Stars and Stripes before returning to work as a reporter for the Detroit News. He left newspapers in 1972 to becoming the first press secretary to Detroit Mayor Coleman Young. He left that post to be the director of public information for Michigan Consolidated Gas Co. He later became the Michigan press secretary for the Carter-Mondale campaign and launched a successful career in public relations. The scholarship was established by his many friends in the industry following his death in 1989.
Recipients will be selected on a basis of professional goals in journalism and have junior, senior or graduate student status and financial need.