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Event has raised more than $1.5 million to support UMUC Cybersecurity students since 2011

James R. Clapper, director of national intelligence, will be the keynote speaker at the third University of Maryland University College Cyber Gala, an event that has raised a total of $1.5 million since 2011 to fund scholarships for deserving UMUC Cybersecurity students.

As the leader of the U.S. Intelligence Community, Clapper serves as the principal intelligence advisor to President Barack Obama. After retiring from a distinguished military career in 1995, Clapper also served as the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

The gala, which will be held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center on September 12, is an opportunity for UMUC to pay tribute to the students—both past and present—who inspire the university's faculty and administrators and to highlight the cyber-related programs that set the standard in cyber security education and workforce development.

Two individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of cyber security will also be recognized. John J. Hamre, PhD, president and CEO of the Center for Strategic and International Studies and former deputy secretary of defense, will be honored with the Pioneer Award in Cybersecurity. Steven D. Shirley, executive director of the Defense Cyber Crime Center, will receive the Leadership Award in Cybersecurity.

In addition to the awards, Major General Roderick J. Isler, USA (Ret.), vice president of the Cyber Center for Education and Innovation and the New Museum Project of the National Cryptologic Museum Foundation, will make remarks regarding an exciting new partnership between the National Cryptologic Museum Foundation and UMUC.

The development of a cyber workforce to secure our critical information infrastructure continues to be a high national priority. In response to this urgent need, UMUC has developed five new cyber-related degree programs over the past four years, for a total of seven programs. Already more than 3,000 students have graduated from them, and more than 8,000 are currently enrolled. With innovative educational programs, skilled cyber security faculty-practitioners, an award-winning cyber competition team, and industry connections, UMUC is changing the landscape of cyber security.

"By obtaining a master's-level degree in cyber security and leveraging my 14 years of industry experience, I plan to make positive contributions to the field, helping to increase the security of systems vital to the nation's economic and security interests, and ultimately to every citizen," said Christopher Harrah, a scholarship recipient from Kennesaw, Georgia, who will be attending the gala. "Aligning my career to be more in line with cyber security would offer an endless array of unique challenges and opportunities, providing both professional achievement and personal satisfaction."

Another scholarship recipient, Stefanie Holloway of Bowie, Maryland, who will also be at the gala, said, "After graduating in December of 2012 with a Master of Science in Cybersecurity, I applied for several cyber-related jobs and received many offers, one of which I am extremely proud of. Thanks again for selecting me to receive this scholarship and for changing my life."

Major corporate sponsors of the gala include Booz Allen Hamilton, CACI, Cisco, Cyberpoint, Deloitte, General Dynamics, Google, the National Cryptologic Museum Foundation, the Blewitt Foundation, and ICF International.

For more information or to purchase tickets, please go to