After a previous donation to the fledgling Institute for Health and Cyber Knowledge – or I-HACK — Gannon University received another generous gift from an accomplished alumnus this week.
On Monday, Gannon President Keith Taylor, Ph.D., announced during a press conference that the I-HACK program will receive $1 million from 1979 Gannon graduate Pierre McCormick.
The Pierre McCormick Cyber Learning Center will soon house the new I-HACK center that includes the new cybersecurity and cyber engineering programs.
The center, located in the Knight Tower, will include faculty offices and classrooms, as well as the new Cyber Hacking Lab, Cyber Defense Lab, Internet of Things Labs and open collaborative innovation spaces. Work on the building is expected to begin in a few days.
“The I-HACK and the cybersecurity initiative is absolutely critical to the future of Gannon, and equally as important and critical to the future of Erie, Pennsylvania,” McCormick said in a pre-recorded message prior to Monday’s press conference.
“The city, as everybody knows, is transitioning from the city it was to the city it might be, and I believe that this I-HACK is really a call to action for myself and other people in the community to get behind the initiatives of the primary assets in Erie, which are focused on transforming their own businesses and transforming the city.”
Last November, Gannon announced the beginning of its journey with I-HACK.
Since then, the university has has received three donations to I-HACK alone this month.
Two weeks ago, 1998 graduate Stacy Juchno donated $100,000 to create the Juchno Cyber Innovation Fund. The fund will assist faculty recruitments, faculty and student research and industry-focused innovation.
On Friday, an anonymous donor made a significant gift to the Juchno Fund. Those donations are being matched by the university to create a $500,000 endowed fund that will be leveraged through a $1 million matching campaign to drive industry-academic innovation downtown.
McCormick, a member of Gannon’s Board of Trustees, served as president and CEO of Wisconsin Distributors, a Madison, Wisc.-based distributor of import, craft and domestic beer, before retiring.
Taylor noted the McCormick family’s impact on the local community and expressed his thanks for the donation.
“Pierre’s roots in Erie run deep and his family’s contributions to this community and Gannon University are transformational and assure that the McCormick family legacy will influence yet another generation of Golden Knights in Erie, and beyond,” Taylor said.
Reaction to the donations has been very positive, as students feel this will serve as a boost for a new and innovative program.
“I think the donations will help move a unique and diverse major along as it seeks to gain a foothold at Gannon,” said Anthony DiFonzo, a sophomore criminal justice major.
“The I-HACK program is a great idea, and I’m happy to see it’s getting the financial support it needs.”
“I-HACK is a great addition, ” said David Thompson, a sophomore criminal justice major. “I think this will help with interest surrounding the program.”