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A giving family

Carlos Quintanilla and his family empower students to give back to their communities.

For nearly a decade, Carlos Quintanilla and his wife Clara have been endowing scholarships at several universities where their family members have received an exemplary education.

Quintanilla is president of Quintanilla, Hache y Asociados, a family business focused on investments in the Mexican financial services industry and the development of industrial parks in the United States. The company is based in Monterrey, Mexico – where Quintanilla received a B.S. in chemical engineering from Monterrey Tec. in 1976 – so he knows full well the value of a good education, especially in engineering.

Quintanilla’s daughter Marigot graduated from Monterrey Tec. as an industrial engineer, and attended Berkeley as an exchange student during her junior year. Quintanilla’s two sons, Carlos and Andres, took their core engineering courses at the University of Texas-Austin (Quintanilla’s father received a UT-Austin degree in chemical engineering in 1949) – and both transferred as juniors to Michigan Engineering, where they also earned bachelor degrees in industrial and operations engineering (IOE).

“My children wanted to follow in my footsteps,” says Quintanilla. “They wanted to combine my interest in engineering with financial engineering.”

Quintanilla says Carlos and Andres chose Michigan because of its prestigious IOE program and its robust curriculum in financial engineering. And both of his sons “had a great time in Ann Arbor,” where they “enjoyed the diversity and different backgrounds and nationalities of the Michigan students.”

But Quintanilla recognizes that many without means do not have those same opportunities. And as a successful businessman, Quintanilla always has felt an obligation to give back.

When their son Carlos (BSE IOE ’09) graduated in 2009, Carlos and Clara established the Carlos R. Quintanilla Scholarship for Michigan IOE students. In 2012 they marked the graduation of Andres (BSE IOE ’12) by endowing the Carlos and Clara Quintanilla Scholarship.

These scholarships are intended to make higher education more affordable for students of Mexican heritage who require financial assistance. The Quintanilla family is hoping to improve the lives of young people by helping to present them with a broader range of opportunities – including the opportunity to support their own communities following graduation.

For more than two decades Quintanilla has grown a company that has brought an enhanced set of development and other opportunities to his local community. This is the tradition Quintanilla hopes will be carried forward by recipients of the Quintanilla family scholarships.

The Quintanilla family also has established similar scholarships at UT-Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering, and at Cornell University’s Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management. Quintanilla received an MBA at Cornell in 1980, and his son Carlos earned a Johnson MBA in 2015. Andres has enrolled for the fall term, and expects to earn his MBA in 2018.

While his sons were enrolled at Michigan Engineering Quintanilla became well acquainted with what he calls the impressive variety of its top-ranked degree and international programs and its large and renowned faculty – as well as the Center for Entrepreneurship. Quintanilla says he is grateful for the advantages that institutions such as Michigan Engineering have afforded his family – and for his own opportunities to be helpful to others.

John Balbach, Executive Director of the Office of Advancement, is likewise thankful that the Quintanilla family has become a member of the Michigan Engineering family.

“Carlos and Clara are not only committed to providing more and better opportunities for a diverse set of students, they are also willing to give so much of themselves to make that a reality,” says Balbach. “In addition to their generous support, the Quintanillas have been active volunteers, serving on the College’s Campaign Committee and Advisory Council.”

Quintanilla says that students of Mexican heritage who are educated in the United States are well positioned to cross boundaries – and that making contributions to the growth and well being of their own Mexican communities is a good place to start.

“NAFTA has become the most powerful economic block in the world,” Quintanilla says, which has made the U.S. and Mexican economies “intertwined, with a strong and consistent annual growth. And this synergy has created a lot of job opportunities for the most educated people.”

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Zach Robertson

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