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SunTrust Foundation kicks off USF lecture series on global economics with speech by acclaimed cybersecurity author

TAMPA, Fla. (March 4, 2014)—Marking its dedication to support the University of South Florida's cybersecurity initiative, the SunTrust Foundation today presented USF with a $1 million check to endow a partnership lecture series on global economics, beginning with a lecture focused on the importance of cybersecurity education in an increasingly web-dependent global economy.

The inaugural lecture featured cybersecurity expert P.W. Singer, director of the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at the Brookings Institution. Singer is the co-author of "Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know," a book called "an essential read" by Google's executive chairman and "the most approachable and readable book ever written on the cyber world" by the former supreme allied commander at NATO.

In his keynote address, Singer emphasized cybersecurity's vital place in personal and corporate security, as well as the importance of understanding the human side of cybersecurity threats and solutions.

Following the keynote address, a panel discussion with business leaders in Florida's energy, health, banking and retail sectors highlighted the changing nature of cybersecurity challenges. Panelists included David Pizzo, Florida Blue's market president for West Florida; David Rowan, senior vice president  and director of enterprise technology risk management for SunTrust Banks; Gordon Gillette, president of Tampa Electric & People's Gas; and Mandy Shaw, Senior VP for Technology and Chief Accounting Officer at Bloomin' Brands, the parent company of Outback Steakhouse, Carrabas and Bonefish.

A broad range of participants from government, statewide and local businesses and defense underscored the event's significance. This event is one of many to come at USF as the university takes advantage of the ever-expanding opportunities cybersecurity provides to help Florida carve its place in the nation as "the cyber state."

Cybersecurity at USF continues with a lecture on May 12 by Jane Holl Lute, the president and chief executive officer of the Council on Cybersecurity, an independent, global organization committed to an open and secure Internet. Lute most recently served as Deputy Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security.

The University of South Florida is a high-impact, global research university dedicated to student success. USF is a Top 50 research university among both public and private institutions nationwide in total research expenditures, according to the National Science Foundation. Serving more than 47,000 students, the USF System has an annual budget of $1.5 billion and an annual economic impact of $4.4 billion. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference.