As someone who is interested in information security and CERIAS (or why else would you be reading this blog?), you are undoubtedly already aware of the great need for education and research in information/cyber security areas -- the very areas in which we have been a leader for the last 20+ years here at Purdue University.
One aspect of our efforts is an on-going need to attract and retain the very best faculty members possible to provide leadership in all aspects of what we do.
Universities have a mechanism for attracting and retaining the best people: endowed chairs for faculty. These are special designations for positions for leading faculty. The associated endowment provides discretionary funds for travel, research, staff and a salary supplement to support the position. Only a small number of these positions exist in any computing field at universities nationally…and almost none in information/cyber security and privacy. Having one of the oldest and largest programs in this field, Purdue University really should have a few of these positions available to attract and keep the best faculty we can find.
Normally, the endowments for these chairs are provided by generous individuals or foundations who support the university and/or the research area. As a small token of appreciation, the university allows the benefactor(s) to name the chaired position (within reason), thus resulting in something such as the Homer J. Simpson Distinguished Professor of Cyber Security or the Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems Professor of Information Security and Privacy. This name is kept in perpetuity, and is on all stationery and publications of that professor henceforth.
Purdue has just announced a new program to match donations 1:1 for chaired positions with no restrictions. It is thus possible for someone (or a group, company, club or foundation) to endow a distinguished chair at ½ of the usual amount. Further, that amount may be pledged over a three-year period, and the donor(s) still retain full naming rights!
Note that Purdue University is a 503(c) organization and thus donations to support this have potential tax advantages for the donor(s).
We really would like to have CERIAS continue to be the leader in the field of information security. Obtaining at least one (and preferably, several) named chairs in the field, most likely with homes in the CS department, would help us keep that lead, and keep our program strong.
If you are interested in taking part in this great opportunity to help fund one of the first few endowed professorships globally in this important area, please contact me. And if you know of others who might be interested, please pass this along to them. Fields including computer games and graphics have dozens of endowed professorships around the country. Isn't it about time we showed that information security is taken seriously, too?