Denny Sanford, Beacom Family Give $30 Million To Dakota State University For Cyber Security

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Dakota State University has announced a major gift on Sunday afternoon. 

Miles and Lisa Beacom and T. Denny Sanford will give a $30 million gift to the Madison-based public university. 

DSU President Jose-Marie Griffiths says this gift will help make Dakota State the nation’s leading institution for cyber security. 

In addition, Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R-SD) announced the state will pitch in an additional $10 million. He also said, the state, Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) and the university will attempt to get $20 million more in federal funds. 

Griffiths says the gifts will boost scholarship money, hire more faculty and staff, construct new facilities and bring 5G internet to Madison and eventually Sioux Falls and the rest of South Dakota. 

Sanford is no stranger in philanthropic ventures in South Dakota. 

“He’s one of the most generous men in America. So many have benefited from his gifts,” Daugaard. 

The announcement was made at a celebration for the opening of the Beacom Institute of Technology on Sunday (named after Miles and Lisa). 

The University also announced that 30 classes will begin Monday with more than 600 students in the Beacom Institute of Technology. Beacom and Sanford previously gave $5 million. 

The event’s keynote speaker was Mark Ryland, Director of Solutions Architecture and Chief Architect, Amazon Web Services.

“We at Amazon look forward to becoming part of the future of Dakota State University,” Ryland said.

The South Dakota Board of Regents also announced a renaming of the cyber program to the Beacom College of Computer and Cyber Sciences

“Today in Madison, South Dakota, we are celebrating the future,” Rounds said. 

Rounds plays a key part in Congress’ efforts in cyber security. He talked about the prestigious Center of Excellence designations from the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security DSU has received.

“Now here’s an opportunity with these new facilities to actually stay in south Dakota get a greater education, and to have contacts made with among others, not just the private sector but also with the national security agency and also with the department of defense,” Rounds said.  

“It gives us the opportunity to really move forward on a larger scale than we otherwise wouldn’t be able to do. We’ll be able to make a huge difference,” Griffiths said. “The scholarships alone have been able to attract faculty and students.”

Not only will the funds be able to help with scholarships and programs but it will bring a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, otherwise known as a SCIF. 

“This is being developed here at Dakota State University. This SCIF allows individuals to work in the cyber security domain which is classified and communicate with people all over the world in similar types of classified settings,” Rounds said. 


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