CISA Director to speak at Washburn University Homeland Security lecture series

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – The head of the nation’s leading cybersecurity agency will speak at Washburn University’s Rick Rescorla Homeland Security Lecture Series.

Washburn University says Jen Easterly, director of the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency, has been announced as the keynote speaker of the Rick Rescorla Homeland Security Lecture Series. The lecture will take place at noon on April 14.

WU said the free, virtual lecture is open to the public via Zoom and will be hosted by Washburn alumnus France Hoang, mcj ’00, and presented by the criminal justice and legal studies department.

During the lecture, the University said Easterly will discuss her expertise and experiences during a chat with Hoang. It said CISA leads the national effort to understand, manage and reduce the risk to US cyber and physical infrastructure. The agency connects industry stakeholders and the government to each other and to resources, research and tools.

“I’m honored to join Washburn University’s lecture series in recognition of the heroism, moral courage and selfless service of Rick Rescorla,” Easterly said. “At CISA, we work to reduce risk to the critical infrastructure that Americans rely on every hour of every day, a mission that Rick embodied as director of security at Morgan Stanley, the firm where I worked for nearly five years. Our nation’s resilience depends on each of us as individuals recognizing our role and doing our part – as Rick did – to keep each other safe and secure.”

WU noted that Rescorla was a Vietnam War veteran and head of security for Morgan Stanley in the South Tower of the World Trade Center when it collapsed on Sept. 11, 2001, in the terrorist attacks. It said he saved hundreds of lives as he evacuated employees. Once outside, he went back in to continue to help with the evacuation when he died as the tower collapsed.

“We are excited to have Director Easterly discuss her background and her role at CISA with Washburn’s criminal justice and legal study students as well as our larger community,” said Melanie Worsley, jd ’07, associate professor of criminal justice, associate dean, School of Applied Studies. “Given the timeliness of this discussion and how cybersecurity and infrastructure security issues affect us all, we hope you will join us for this event.”

The University said Easterly was nominated by President Joe Biden in April 2021 and unanimously confirmed by the Senate. She previously headed the Firm of Resilience at Morgan Stanley, which is responsible for ensuring preparedness and response to business-disrupting operation incidents and risks to the firm. She has a long tradition of public service – including two tours at the White House, most recently as special assistant to President Barack Obama and senior director for counterterrorism. She also served as deputy of counterterrorism at the National Security Agency.

Washburn said Hoang received a master of criminal justice from the University in 2000. He graduated at the top 1% of his class at West Point and also graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center and served in President George W. Bush’s administration as associate White House counsel and special assistant to the president. He has worked in all three branches of the US government.

WU noted that the Rick Rescorla Homeland Security Lecture Series is in its second year and presents a nationally-renowned individual with expertise in a topic of interest related to homeland security.

For more information about the lecture series or to find the Zoom link, click HERE.

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