Gannon University receives 1 million dollar donation to create Cyber Learning Center

Local News

A large gift is landing students of Gannon University’s Institute for Health and Cyber Knowledge Program in a new home.

JET 24 Action News’ Chelsey Withers reports on where that donation came from.

This is the first year that students can choose a major within the iHack program. However, thanks to a $1 million donation from Gannon alumnus Pierre McCormick, those entering that field of study will have a new place to learn.

Pierre McCormick is known for many titles such as a Gannon University graduate as well as a member of the Gannon University Board of Trustees. Now, for generations to come, students studying cyber security and cyber engineering as part of the university’s iHack program will know him as the “Pierre McCormick Cyber Learning Center.”

“It will be the heart of the iHack,” said Keith Taylor, President of Gannon University said. “The second floor of the facility will be named after Pierre and he was so proud to have the McCormick name that has done such great things for this community for nearly a century be a part of the Gannon future.”

Deacon Stephen Frezza, a Professor at Gannon, further explained how this donation will play a major role in helping build programs.

“Having a new floor, in particularly, to do a remake base on things we’ve already been doing, now to add all the security requirements, add all the new networking requirements and then having space that is specifically designed for that is a real critical addition to our infrastructure,” said Frezza.

Chania Akers, a student at Gannon, went on to say that with this expansion targeting one specific group of people, this can give those students a chance to build a stronger relationship with their professors.

“Them helping us study and helping us understand more about our major and what we are going for and stuff like that,” Akers said.

iHack students will learn on the second floor of the Knight Tower, but the hope is that they will take what they’re learning to the ground floor of Erie to help the city grow.

“We can develop the next round of entrepreneurs that can create their own businesses and stay in Erie and hire Erie students,” said Walter Iwanenki, VP, Academic Affairs, Gannon University.

Some things included in the new facility are faculty offices, classrooms, three different types of labs, and a collaborative innovation of spaces.

Work for the new facility is expected to begin within the next few days.

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