NSU Newsroom



This version of NSU News has been archived as of February 28, 2019. To search through archived articles, visit nova.edu/search. To access the new version of NSU News, visit news.nova.edu.

This version of SharkBytes has been archived as of February 28, 2019. To search through archived articles, visit nova.edu/search. To access the new version of SharkBytes, visit sharkbytes.nova.edu.

News Releases Archive


Division of Public Relations and Marketing Communications
Nova Southeastern University
3301 College Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33314-7796


SharkBytes Archives


Division of Public Relations and Marketing Communications
Nova Southeastern University
3301 College Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33314-7796


Nurses’ Week to Culminate in NSU College of Nursing Naming Event



FORT LAUDERDALE/DAVIE, Fla. – More than 20 years ago, the official dates of May 6 – 12 were declared to honor and observe “National Nurses’ Week,” recognizing the valiant efforts of nurses every day across the country.  South Florida philanthropists Ron and Kathy Assaf agree nurses deserve admiration for their hard work. To show how they value the noble profession, the couple has made a gift to Nova Southeastern University (NSU) and the university will officially rename its College of Nursing as the Ron and Kathy Assaf College of Nursing.

The naming ceremony will take place at noon Friday, May 11, at the Terry Building on the university’s campus, 3200 S. University Drive, Davie.

Recently stepping down after 13 years as NSU Board Chairman, Ron Assaf, and his wife, Kathy, have a long-standing commitment to the university and Mr. Assaf will remain on the board. This gift will support scholarships for nursing students, provide faculty research support and bolster community service.

Assaf Portrait 2018 - 2

Ron and Kathy Assaf

“Kathy and I are thankful that we can do our part to help provide exceptionally qualified nurses to meet the growing needs of communities. We were motivated to support a program that will improve the well-being of so many people,” said Mr. Assaf. “We have been involved with NSU for many years and appreciate the value of this university. We hope our commitment inspires others to join us in supporting NSU.”

In the past, the couple made donations that benefitted NSU undergraduate students, the Mailman Segal Center and research on myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) research in the NSU Institute for Neuro-Immune Medicine. They are members of NSU’s Sharks Circle, which recognizes philanthropists who have given $1 million or more to the university. In 2012, NSU also acknowledged the Assafs’ commitment to the well-being of the entire South Florida community by honoring them with the prestigious NSU President’s Community Service Award.

“Ron and Kathy’s contributions to NSU – both in time and philanthropy – are immeasurable,” said NSU President Dr. George L. Hanbury. “We are proud to have their highly respected name forever associated with our College of Nursing.”

Nurses Photo - Med

NSU bachelor of nursing students and Marcie Rutherford (second from left), dean of the Ron and Kathy Assaf College of Nursing. The caps the students are wearing are historic, dating back to the 1930s – in honor of Nurses’ Week (nurse caps courtesy of Health Museum of the Health Professions Division, Nova Southeastern University)

The dedication of NSU’s Ron and Kathy Assaf College of Nursing marks the end of an era for the university. Ron Assaf joined the NSU Board of Trustees on July 1, 1994. He served as Chairman of both the Executive and Finance committees before becoming Chairman of the Board on May 20, 2005. He officially stepped down as chairman on May 4, 2018 and will remain on the board.

“The university has made numerous significant advances under Ron’s direction as board chairman,” said President Hanbury. “It has been a pleasure and an honor working with him.”



The NSU Ron and Kathy Assaf College of Nursing provides students classroom-based, hybrid, or online educational options, and the opportunity to study on the Ft. Lauderdale campus or at NSU’s Miami, Palm Beach, Ft. Myers, Miramar and Tampa regional campuses.  Clinical training far exceeds statewide requirements, giving NSU nursing graduates a definite advantage when they reach the workplace. Across all programs, there are a total of 1,713 students currently enrolled in the college.

“As the largest educator of pre-licensure B.S.N. nurses in Florida, this commitment will enable NSU’s Ron and Kathy Assaf College of Nursing to continue tackling the major nursing shortage that will arise as the Baby Boomer nurses retire,” said Marcella Rutherford, Ph.D., M.B.A., M.S.N., R.N. and dean of the college. “At all levels, our nursing graduates are being prepared to function effectively in the changing health system and to deliver high-quality, cost effective and patient-focused care.”



Ron’s career began in 1955 in the grocery aisles at Kroger, a retail food chain in Ohio. A decade later he used his retail management experience in co-founding Sensormatic Electronics Corporation, an Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) company. In 1971, Ron moved the company to South Florida. He would later be recognized as the founder of the EAS industry.

In 1996, Ron retired as CEO of Sensormatic, which by then was a NYSE listed company, and retired as chairman of the board in 2001 when it was purchased by Tyco International. At the time, Sensormatic served more than 80% of leading retailers worldwide with annual revenues exceeding $1 billion.

South Florida raised, Kathy’s career in finance as a CPA began as an auditor with Arthur Young & Company and grew into Director of International Services after she joined Sensormatic in 1974.  She became a founding Director of Boca Bank in 1984, and the following year received the Women of Distinction in Finance Award.  Kathy was elected Chairman of the bank’s Board in 1993, and remained as a director after the bank was acquired two years later.

Kathy served on the Board of the American College of Louvain (Belgium) for 17 years and was Chairman from 2001-2009.  In 2005, Kathy was inducted into the University of Central Florida’s Business Hall of Fame.

Kathy served on the Board of Trustees of Saint Andrew’s School where the couple are Founders Society members and where she has since been named a Trustee Emerita. They also are founding members of, and active parishioners at, St. Jude Catholic Church in Boca Raton, where Kathy served as Chairman of the Finance Committee for 18 years.  She presently is the Chairman of the Finance Committee for the Catholic Diocese of Palm Beach and a Director of the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land.

Ron served as a Trustee of the Boca Raton Regional Hospital for 23 years and as Chairman of the Board for four years. They endowed the Ronald and Kathleen Assaf Center for Nursing Excellence at Boca Raton Regional Hospital, which recruits, trains and helps retain critically needed nurses.

Sensormatic’s success enabled the Assafs to act upon their philanthropic goals for nearly four decades.  Along the way, Ron has been honored with numerous awards for business and philanthropy, including The Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s Rainbow Award, the National Conference of Christians and Jews Silver Brotherhood Medallion, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Electronics Association. Three universities have also conferred Honorary Doctorates.

The Assafs further support higher education with endowments at Lynn University, Florida Atlantic University, and the University of Akron, as well as sponsoring scholarships for students living in the Holy Land through the Franciscan Foundation.

They are proud of their five children, 12 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.


Be sure to sign up for NSU’s RSS feed so you don’t miss any of our news releases, guest editorials and other announcements. Please sign up HERE.




About Nova Southeastern University (NSU): Located in beautiful Fort Lauderdale, Florida, NSU is ranked among U.S. News & World Report’s Top 200 National Research Universities and is a dynamic, private research university providing high-quality educational and research programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and first-professional degree levels. Established in 1964, NSU now includes 16 colleges, the 215,000-square-foot Center for Collaborative Research, a private JK-12 grade school, the Mailman Segal Center for Human Development with specialists in Autism, the world-class NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, and the Alvin Sherman Library, Research and Information Technology Center, which is Florida’s largest public library. NSU has campuses in Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Miami, Miramar, Orlando, Palm Beach, and Tampa, Florida, as well as San Juan, Puerto Rico, while maintaining a presence online globally. Classified as a research university with “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, NSU is one of only 50 universities nationwide to also be awarded Carnegie’s Community Engagement Classification, and is also the largest private institution in the United States that meets the U.S. Department of Education’s criteria as a Hispanic-serving Institution. For more information, please visit www.nova.edu.



Marla Oxenhandler | Media Relations
954-262-5135 (office) | 954-770-9204 (cell)
marla.oxenhandler@nova.edu | www.nova.edu

Julie Spechler l Media Relations
954-262-5348 (office) l 954-591-3368 (cell)