CFK Distinguished Alumnus endows Julie Eckard RN Scholarship
KEY WEST, FL, June 28, 2023— The College of the Florida Keys announces the re-establishment of the Julie Eckard RN Scholarship for students pursuing associate or bachelor’s degrees in nursing at CFK. Dr. Kevin Mallinson, CFK’s 2023 Distinguished Alumnus, and his husband Robert Hansen donated $20,000 to the CFK Foundation to endow the scholarship, which was initially established in 1991 following the death of the well-known HIV/AIDS nurse and Dr. Mallinson’s fellow classmate in the nursing class of 1987. The scholarship will support student nurses who are passionate about advocating for patients challenged by adversity, stigma, and/or discrimination—much like AIDS patients were in the 80s and 90s. By endowing the scholarship, the donation will be invested, and its earnings will provide scholarship awards to students in perpetuity—forever memorializing Eckard and supporting nursing education at CFK.
Eckard was working toward an Associate in Science in Nursing at CFK when she was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS at 23 years old. She overcame significant physical and social barriers to complete her degree and become a registered nurse. Over the following three years, before she succumbed to AIDS, Julie cared for many people living with HIV in Key West during the height of the AIDS epidemic and became an advocate for the rights of those facing stigma and discrimination.
“This scholarship honors Julie’s love of the nursing profession and serves to remind us of her unwavering strength, tenacity, and sense of humor,” said Dr. Mallinson, who recently organized a reunion of the College’s 1987 nursing class at the Key West Campus.
Inspired by his fallen classmate, Dr. Mallinson went on to dedicate much of his career to HIV/AIDS healthcare. After graduating from CFK, he worked as an ICU nurse caring for many HIV/AIDS patients while continuing to pursue higher education. Over the course of 36 years, he served on national committees and advisory boards, conducted research, published numerous articles, and shared his scholarly work on five continents. He was a consultant for a U.S. Surgeon General and several Ministers of Health in Africa. He also served on the National Board of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care and as the President of the HIV/AIDS Nursing Certification Board. Dr. Mallinson recently retired as an Associate Professor and Director of the Ph.D. in Nursing program at George Mason University. CFK honored him with the Distinguished Alumni award at the Spring Commencement ceremony in May.
The Julie Eckard RN Scholarship of $2,000 will be awarded this fall semester, which begins August 18. The deadline to apply for the scholarship is July 16. For details about this scholarship and other opportunities, visit the “Ways to Pay” section of the College’s website at cfk.edu. For more information about how to give to the CFK Foundation, contact Lana Gaspari, CFK Vice President of Advancement and CFK Foundation Executive Director, at 305-809-3214 or email email@example.com.