Richard P. Cole, Esq., credits his father with starting a family tradition of community service and philanthropy. Mr. Cole’s dad, Robert, served as the first chair for the Baptist Health Board of Trustees through the merger of Baptist, South Miami, Homestead and Mariners Hospitals, creating Baptist Health South Florida. His father also had a great affinity for the nursing staff and supported them through philanthropy.

Established in 1994, the Robert B. Cole Distinguished Nursing Lecture Series, to celebrate and inspire nurses was Robert Cole’s legacy. When his father died in 1997, the younger Mr. Cole continued supporting and attending the two-day event. “I feel the way my father did,” said Mr. Cole. “People are more important than bricks and mortar. We wanted the nurses to know how appreciated they are and that they are one of the greatest assets of the organization.” The Nursing Lecture Series falls under The Center for Excellence in Nursing, a fund that provides Baptist Health nurses access to advanced courses, training in new technology and scholarships.

To ensure the family’s continuing support for nursing, Richard Cole established a $5 million endowment to ensure the lecture series’ sustainability. At the silver anniversary event in 2018, another legacy began with the inauguration of the Richard P. Cole Nurse of the Year Award. “Through my father’s original gift, and those I have been able to make subsequently, I hope every single nurse will realize how grateful we are for all they do, each and every day.”

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