NSU to Honor James and Cathy Donnelly During Annual Celebration of Excellence

James and Cathy Donnelly will receive the 2020 President’s Award for Excellence in the Community Service Award. The award will be presented during the 22nd Annual Celebration of Excellence.

FORT LAUDERDALE/DAVIE, Fla.Nova Southeastern University (NSU) is proud to announce James and Cathy Donnelly as the recipients of the 2020 President’s Award for Excellence in the Community Service Award. The award will be presented during the 22nd Annual Celebration of Excellence (COE) gala to be held February 29.

They join an impressive list of honorees that includes Rick and Rita Case, The Miniaci Family, Winifred and Joseph C. Amaturo, Mike Jackson, David Horvitz & Francie Bishop Good, Lorraine Thomas, Guy Harvey and Wayne Huizenga, just to name a few.

“NSU is proud to honor James and Cathy Donnelly with this year’s Excellence in Community Service Award,” said Dr. George Hanbury, President of NSU. “The Donnelly’s positively impact so many people in our South Florida communities, through their work with organizations such as the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County, the United Way Tocqueville Society, and the Broward Performing Arts Foundation.”

The event, which is invitation only, takes place at 6 p.m.  Saturday, February 29, on NSU’s Fort Lauderdale/Davie Campus, 3301 College Ave. in the Don Taft University Center’s Rick Case Arena. The reception begins at 6 p.m., with the dinner program immediately following.

James is the founder and chief executive officer of Castle Group, a property management organization, and Cathy serves as the director of community relations.  Their company is based in Plantation and has more than 1,750 teammates throughout the state of Florida.

In addition to establishing a successful business, they have made quite an impact in the community. In 2010 CastleCares® was established as the philanthropic arm of the Castle Group with a mission to serve children and families in need throughout Florida. Cathy oversees the various opportunities for staff members to volunteer and support the nonprofit community. Both are active members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County, the United Way Tocqueville Society, and the Broward Performing Arts Foundation.

“We’re proud to be part of this incredible, collaborative community, where we get to participate, where our voice is heard, where we see injustice and can maybe make a difference,” said Mrs. Donnelly. “We’re just really proud to be members of Broward County and work with incredible organizations like NSU.”

James is chairman of the Community Foundation of Broward and recently received the Sun Sentinel’s Excalibur Business Leader of the Year Award, as well as the 2019 Terry Stiles South Florida Leadership Award. In 2014, he was named to the Entrepreneur and Business Hall of Fame at NSU’s H. Wayne Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship. He and Cathy made a significant gift to the Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship to establish the property management program in the Stiles School of Real Estate development.  James continues to be very involved with the program.

Cathy is Chair of the Children’s Services of Broward County appointed by Governor Ron DeSantis. In 2018 she was inducted into the Boys & Girls Club Hall of Fame for the creation of the K.I.S.S. program which has served 4.2 million healthy snacks and hot meals since 2011.  She sits on the Cultural Arts Affairs Committee of the Broward Workshop and the Broward Cultural Division – Public Art & Design Committee. At NSU, Cathy has been a speaker in the Huizenga College’s Women’s Success Series.

“Their philanthropic organization, CastleCares, has served children and families in need for more than a decade, and their generosity and continued support of NSU helps pave the way for student success. They are a formidable and inspiring team,” said President Hanbury.

NSU’s Celebration of Excellence also recognizes donors whose cumulative giving to the university reaches $1 million or more.  Each of these benefactors is welcomed into the NSU Fellows Society “Shark Circle” and receives a limited edition maquette replica of the mako shark statue located in front of the Don Taft University Center.  This year, the donors NSU welcomes into the Shark Circle are:

  • Horatio Alger Association
  • Daniel Doyle, Jr.
  • Raquel and Chancellor Ray Ferrero, Jr.
  • Charles Palmer Family
  • Denny Sanford / Sanford Programs, National University System
  • Lee Sider and Greg Stanton
  • Craig and Barbara Weiner

Sponsors of the gala include: ACAI, Lorraine Thomas, Grycon, Hill York, JM Family Enterprises and Rick Case.


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About Nova Southeastern University (NSU): At NSU, students don’t just get an education, they get the competitive edge they need for real careers, real contributions and real life. A dynamic, private research university, NSU is providing high-quality educational and research programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree levels. Established in 1964, the university includes 16 colleges, the 215,000-square-foot Center for Collaborative Research, a private JK-12 grade school, the Mailman Segal Center (early childhood education) with specialists in Autism, the world-class NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, and the Alvin Sherman Library, Research and Information Technology Center, one of Florida’s largest public libraries. NSU students learn at our campuses in Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Miami, Miramar, Orlando, Palm Beach, and Tampa, Florida, as well as San Juan, Puerto Rico, and online globally. Classified as having “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. Please visit www.nova.edu for more information.



Tasha Yohan