APPLY: College Honors Former Student in Scholarship Name

Julie Eckard poses on her graduation day in 1987 after earning an Associate in Science in Nursing from CFK. Photo provided by The College of the Florida Keys

The Julie Eckard RN Scholarship has been reinstated at the College of the Florida Keys for students seeking associate or bachelor’s degrees in nursing.

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According to a news release from CFK spokeswoman Amber Ernst-Leonard, Dr. Kevin Mallinson and his husband, Robert Hansen, donated $20,000 to the CFK Foundation to endow the scholarship, which was 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.

According to Ernst-Leonard, the scholarship will help student nurses who are passionate about advocating for patients who face struggle, stigma, and/or discrimination, just way AIDS patients did in the 1980s and 1990s. The donation will be invested and the returns will offer scholarship awards to students in perpetuity, eternally memorializing Eckard and supporting nursing education at CFK.

Eckard was pursuing an associate’s degree in nursing at CFK when she was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS at the age of 23, according to Ernst-Leonard. She overcome considerable physical and social obstacles in order to finish her degree and become a Registered Nurse.

According to Ernst-Leonard, Eckard cared for many persons living with HIV in Key West during the height of the AIDS epidemic during the next three years before succumbing to AIDS and became a champion 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,” Dr. Mallinson stated, who recently organized a reunion of the college’s 1987 nursing class at CFK’s Key West campus.

Dr. Mallinson was inspired by his slain classmate to devote most of his career to HIV/AIDS healthcare. He worked as an ICU nurse after graduating from CFK, caring for many HIV/AIDS patients while pursuing his study.

Dr. Mallinson worked on national committees and advisory boards for 36 years, conducted research, published several articles, and shared his intellectual work on five continents. He worked as a consultant for a US Surgeon General and numerous African Ministers of Health. He also served as President of the HIV/AIDS Nursing Certification Board and on the National Board of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care. Dr. Mallinson just departed from George Mason University as an Associate Professor and Director of the Ph.D. in Nursing program. At the Spring Commencement event in May, CFK presented him with the Distinguished Alumni award.

The Julie Eckard RN Scholarship of $2,000 will be awarded this fall semester, which begins Aug. 18. The deadline to apply for the scholarship is Sunday, July 16.

For details about this scholarship and other opportunities, visit the “Ways to Pay” section of the college’s website at For 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

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