EFSC Foundation Newsletter April 2021

EFSC Remembers Benefactor and Friend Bernie Simpkins
Volume 8 April 2021
Dear Foundation Friends :

It is with a certain nostalgia and many fond memories that I write you today with my decision to retire from EFSC at the end of April . It has been a wonderful 13 years during which President Richey supported us and our many talented and devoted professional staff , both past and present , to bring the EFSC Foundation to its current record level strength . You succeeded and should be very proud of these remarkable achievements , particularly knowing that they helped countless students here successfully pursue their college journey .

President Richey has tapped our colleague Vice President , Jack Parker , to become the new college executive liaison to the Foundation . Jack ’ s many roles here at EFSC center around public affairs , including oversight of Campus Security , the Public Safety Institute , Police Fire and EMT training . He also manages our many Workforce Development programs like avionics , welding and aircraft maintenance , athletics and all grants along with representing the College with Federal State and Local government officials . These many engagements , and Jack ’ s long public service career in Brevard County make him a wonderful choice for the Foundation . Please join me in both welcoming and supporting Jack in this position .
Happily , our plans are underway and we hope this horrific pandemic will soon be beaten . We are all grateful to the thousands of scientists and support staff who worked tirelessly in recent years to perfect techniques for rapidly developing vaccines that could be used in just such a crisis … some of whom , we ’ re proud to write , trained right here at EFSC and benefited from the Foundation . Mark your calendars for the upcoming golf tournament on October 29 , 2021 at Rockledge Country Club and an even bigger and better “ Back Yard Barbeque ” on February 19 , 2022 . I quipped to our team that though retired , I would be happy to help and was immediately told “ you ’ re on !” Maybe I spoke too soon … but see ya there .
My sincere best wishes to each of you along with special thanks for the many happy occasions during which we successfully worked together . Keep it going !! It ’ s a great cause !!
Richard K . Laird , Vice President , Operations Eastern Florida State College Klaird1 @ cfl . rr . com 321-693-9230
EFSC Remembers Benefactor and Friend Bernie Simpkins
Bernie Simpkins , 92 , a highly successful businessman and philanthropist , died October 16 , 2020 . Bernie was an important part of the EFSC Foundation family . His support , wisdom and love for education inspired all who came in contact with him at the College and the community .
Simpkins was among the college ’ s strongest supporters for decades . He served on the Board of Trustees when EFSC was Brevard Community College and helped create programs to benefit business students .
“ Bernie was the embodiment of the EFSC spirit and what we aspire to teach students about the importance of knowledge , setting goals high and giving back to the community where they live ,” said college President Dr . Jim Richey .
“ He was passionate about education and enjoyed meeting with students and encouraging them in their careers , especially young entrepreneurs who he saw as essential to our country ’ s future .”
“ He changed lives for the better and left behind a rich and empowering legacy at EFSC and in Brevard County that will resonate for many years to come .”
In 2000 , Simpkins donated $ 250,000 to start the Simpkins Speaker Series that brings some of the nation ’ s most innovative entrepreneurs and business leaders to the college to share their stories of success .
He also provided scholarships to promising business students and in 2007 donated $ 1 million to start an Entrepreneurial Business program to teach the next generation of business owners .
The Simpkins Fine Arts Center , which is home to the college ’ s Performing and Visual Arts programs on the Cocoa Campus , is named in his honor .
Richey summed up the feelings of many at EFSC this way : “ Bernie was among the very best friends the college ever had . I am going to miss him and so are many others . We will always be grateful for
his contributions and he has a special place in our hearts .”
Bernie Simpkins presents a Simpkins Entrepreneurial Scholarship to student Corwin Decker in November 2018 .