Jim and Maria McKenzie (at right) of Port St. Lucie recently donated $50,000 to assist teachers and professional support staff from St. Lucie County Public Schools who are working toward their undergraduate degrees from FAU in preparation for initial state teacher certification.
The donation extends an existing scholarship established in a collaborative effort between FAU and the St. Lucie County Chamber of Commerce. Over the past two years, the scholarship has provided tuition assistance to more than 30 aspiring teachers.
“This scholarship program embraces the ‘growing our own workforce’ philosophy,” said Jim. “My wife and I were very interested in this opportunity to build a strong base of new teachers, to aid in the local critical teacher shortage and to help secure the educational futures of children in St. Lucie County.”
Jim McKenzie, president of Labor Finders/LF Staffing in Port St. Lucie, is very involved in area education. He actively serves on the FAU Treasure Coast Campus Advisory Board, FAU Treasure Coast Corporate Partners and the St. Lucie County Chamber Foundation Board. Jim is also proactive in the local business community as a board member for many organizations, including the St. Lucie County Chamber of Commerce, the Workforce Development Board of the Treasure Coast and the St. Lucie County Economic Development Council.
Jim and Maria have lived in Port St. Lucie for 15 years. “Through our involvement with the school system, civic organizations and business associations, we recognized the need for this type of scholarship support,” said Jim.
“By building a strong tradition of tuition assistance programs, Florida Atlantic University is opening more doors for more students,” said Gerri McPherson,Treasure Coast Campus vice president. “We sincerely thank Jim and Maria McKenzie for creating a scholarship that will have a far-reaching, positive impact on the local school district.”
Dr. J. Gregory Bushong has been named an associate dean and associate professor of accounting for the Barry Kaye College of Business. He will be overseeing all academic programs offered by the college at the Treasure Coast campus, including accounting, business administration, finance, general management and marketing.
“I am pleased to continue my career at a growing university like FAU and to live in the booming Treasure Coast region where the possibilities seem to be endless,” said Bushong.
Bushong holds a Ph.D. in accounting and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Certified Managerial Accountant (CMA). He comes to FAU from the University of North Carolina at Asheville, and has conducted extensive, published research concerning accounting and other related financial topics.
“Dr. Bushong is a welcome addition to the Treasure Coast campus,” said Gerri McPherson, campus vice president. “He possesses the rich teaching and research background that helps set FAU’s business programs apart from the rest.”