Supporting Civic-Minded Students

Autumn Bishard and Thomas Strasser

NSU students Autumn Bishard and Thomas Strasser are both pursuing careers in fields that help other people. Bishard plans to work at a non-profit organization, and possibly as an advocate for the disabled. Strasser wants to become an orthopedic surgeon.

These civic-minded millennials are achieving their goals with help from the Berkowitz and Potamkin Family Endowed Scholarship. The scholarship fund was established in 2011 after Jeffrey Berkowitz and his partners, Alan and Robert Potamkin, agreed to fund an endowed scholarship for undergraduate students at NSU’s H. Wayne Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship. Berkowitz had discussed the scholarship with Randolph Pohlman, Ph.D., former dean at the college.

“I hope to inspire others to follow their passions and dreams,” said Bishard, a sophomore majoring in marketing and political science. “Disability advocacy work is a cause close to my heart, as I have cerebral palsy. This scholarship makes a significant difference in my education because it gives me the opportunity to pursue all of the incredible knowledge and experience that NSU has to offer.

“I am originally from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and I lived there my whole life,” Bishard said. “I chose NSU because it stood out to me from the moment I stepped on campus as a place with endless opportunities. It just seemed special. I hope to promote and give back to NSU as much as I can as a thank you for everything I’ve been able to achieve thus far.”

When Thomas Strasser enrolled at NSU, he was just three weeks past his 17th birthday.

“Because I graduated early [at age 16] from high school, I started college at the same time as my older sister and my older brother,” said Strasser, who grew up in South Florida and was homeschooled during middle school and high school.

With a double major in business administration and biology, Strasser plans to attend medical school–like his grandfather–and build a career as a surgeon. “Upon graduating from medical school and finishing my residency, I plan to start a private practice of my own.” He knows there is a long road ahead of him.

“This scholarship will make a big difference…and I am ever grateful for it. I hope the Berkowitz and Potamkin Family Endowed Scholarship will continue to help NSU students and their families for years to come,” Strasser said.

Jeffrey Berkowitz is chairman and founder of Berkowitz Development Group, a pre-eminent retail developer in Miami-Dade County. In addition to longstanding ties to NSU, he chairs the Miami Children’s Museum and actively supports several charitable organizations. Philanthropists Alan and Robert Potamkin led Potamkin Automotive, the Miami-based automotive group founded by their father, Victor.

For an annual gift of $1,000 (or $83.34 per month), committed for 5 years, donors have an opportunity to name a Changing Lives Scholarship. For $5,000 paid each year for five years into NSU's endowment, a donor can create a named scholarship, research, faculty support, or program fund designed to last for generations. For more information, please call (954) 262-2111. 

For information about creating a legacy gift, please contact Andrea Darlow, senior director of development for legacy gifts at (954) 262-2135 or at