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FIU's college of nursing establishes Jorge M. Pérez and Darlene Boytell-Pérez 50th anniversary scholarship endowment

Florida International University (FIU) today announced a generous gift from Jorge M. Pérez and Darlene Marie Boytell-Pérez ’89, MS ’96 to establish a new endowment at FIU’s Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences (NWCNHS). The Jorge M. Pérez and Darlene Boytell-Pérez 50th Anniversary of Nursing Scholarship Endowment will address the shortage of nursing professionals throughout Florida by establishing a permanent source of funding to help nursing students pay for tuition and related educational expenses.

“Students from FIU’s Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences represent the next generation of nurses, set to sustain our healthcare system for years to come. It’s an incredible honor for us to support their journeys through this endowment,” says Boytell-Pérez, a two-time FIU nursing alumna. “A thriving healthcare system holds immense importance in fostering a stronger, more resilient South Florida. My family and I look forward to the positive impacts these individuals will create as they progress at FIU and become integral parts of our community.”

According to a report commissioned by the Florida Hospital Association and the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida, the state will face a shortage of nearly 60,000 nurses by 2035. Much of the nursing deficit stems from the difficulty many potential nurses face in paying tuition. Nationally, the Bureau of Labor projects 203,200 openings for RNs each year through 2031.

“This important gift from Jorge Pérez and Darlene Boytell-Pérez comes at a time of major enrollment growth of the nursing program for the Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences,” said Acting NWCNHS Jorge Valdes. “We are very grateful for their generous gift and longstanding support of our college, as it will directly impact the lives of our students and increase the nursing workforce for our community. Jorge and Darlene truly embody FIU’s forward-thinking, innovative and unstoppable spirit.”

The $250,000 endowment will provide scholarships of up to four years for full-time nursing students who demonstrate outstanding scholastic aptitude and accomplishments and financial need, especially those expressing a desire to stay in the South Florida community after graduation.

The support of Jorge M. Pérez, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of the Related Group, and his wife, Darlene Boytell-Pérez, have has been integral to FIU’s growth in multiple areas. FIU established the Darlene & Jorge Pérez Collection—100 Years of Cuban Art, after a donation of Cuban art from the Pérezes to the university’s Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum and the Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs. Notably, their support led to the establishment of the university’s Jorge M. Pérez Metropolitan Center, an applied research institute that provides policy solutions to public, private and non-profit organizations in South Florida. They have also established the Jorge and Darlene Pérez Scholars Endowment in the university’s Honors College.

The new Jorge M. Pérez and Darlene Boytell-Pérez 50th Anniversary of Nursing Scholarship Endowment represents the Pérez family’s 15th gift to NWCNHS. In 2008, FIU unveiled the Jorge M. Pérez and Darlene Boytell-Pérez Basic Skills Lab in the STAR Center, providing simulation education and experiences to NWCNHS students. To date, the Pérezes have given over $2.5 million to FIU.

Boytell-Pérez is an advanced registered nurse practitioner and clinical researcher at Gastro Health with more than 20 years of experience specializing in gastroenterology. She is also a founding member of the Dean's Leadership Council at NWCNHS and serves as Honorary Chair of the 50th Anniversary of Nursing celebration from 2023-24. Boytell Pérez is the recipient of FIU’s Alumna of the Year, Distinguished Alumna Torch Award and the FIU Commencement Medallion of Honor.