CISA director to speak at Washburn University’s Homeland Security Lecture Series

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

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

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 Department of Criminal Justice and Legal Studies.

During the conference, the University said Easterly would discuss his expertise and experiences in a conversation with Hoang. He said CISA is leading the national effort to understand, manage and reduce risks to America’s computing and physical infrastructure. The agency connects industry stakeholders and government to each other and to resources, research and tools.

“I am 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 chief security officer at Morgan Stanley, the company where I worked for nearly five years. The resilience of our nation depends on each of us as individuals recognizing our role and doing our part – as Rick did – to keep everyone safe.

WU noted that Rescorla was a Vietnam War veteran and Morgan Stanley’s head of security in the South Tower of the World Trade Center when it collapsed on September 11, 2001 in the terrorist attacks. He said he saved hundreds of lives by evacuating employees. Once outside, he returned to continue assisting in the evacuation when he died as the tower collapsed.

“We are thrilled to have Warden Easterly discuss her background and role at CISA with criminal justice and legal studies students at Washburn, as well as our wider 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. Previously, she led Morgan Stanley’s Resilience Practice, which is responsible for providing preparedness for and response to disruptive operational incidents and business risks. She has a long tradition of public service — including two White House tours, most recently as special assistant to President Barack Obama and senior director of counterterrorism. She also served as the Counterterrorism Assistant at the National Security Agency.

Washburn said Hoang received a master’s degree in criminal justice from the University in 2000. He graduated in the top 1% of his class at West Point and also graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center and served in the administration of President George W. Bush as an associate. White House Advisor 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 features a nationally recognized individual with expertise in a homeland security topic of interest.

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

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Angela C. Hale