UC receives $10M gift to support Center for Cyber Strategy and Policy

The University of Cincinnati received a $10 million gift to advance the work of the school’s Center for Cyber Strategy and Policy and provide programs and opportunities for its students.

The gift came from the estate of Patrick and Malle Portway. Patrick graduated from UC in 1963. The Portways’ support of the CCSP connects to Patrick’s career and Malle’s heritage; her family escaped Estonia during World War II.

The CCSP is led by Richard Harknett, Ph.D., a professor and director of the School of Public and International Affairs where the center is housed. The center focuses on evaluating and developing approaches to secure cyberspace from foreign adversaries, criminal activity and misuse that can harm the United States economy, political institutions and society.

General Paul Nakasone, commander of U.S. Cyber Command and Peter Kobak, a former CCSP graduate researcher and now the associate director of the Ohio Persistent Cyber Improvement project.

Beyond its research-based policy influence, the CCSP collaborates with and supports the Ohio Cyber Range Institute, a state-funded platform hosted at UC. Its mission is to advance cybersecurity education, workforce and economic development throughout Ohio.

The Portways’ gift will provide funds for the following programs:

  • Students will work with CCSP and international researchers through the Portway Cyber Strategy Student Research Fellows program. Fellows will travel to the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Centre of Excellence in Tallinn, Estonia.
  • Industry and government experts will visit campus and share cybersecurity problem-solving with UC students and faculty.
  • A motion graphic cyber awareness series will provide education to the general population.

“Patrick and Malle are positioning our students and faculty to tackle cyber insecurity in new, innovative ways,” said Harknett, who also serves as the CCPS chair. “I am humbled and grateful for their gift, which will make a tremendous impact and support our efforts to advance cyber security here and around the world.”

Patrick Portway

The Portways are long-time university supporters and have also established scholarships at the College of Arts and Sciences. This most recent gift is personal for Patrick, who served as an Army Reserve Officer Training Corps member at UC before going on to work in Army Intelligence after graduation. He served in the 116th Counterintelligence Corps Group, in Washington, DC. 

Notably, Patrick was part of the security detail for President Lyndon Johnson’s inauguration.

After leaving government service, Patrick moved to the private sector, working as manager of strategic marketing at Xerox and later a congressional liaison for Boeing. He went on to form his own company, Applied Business TeleCommunications, which he ran until selling it in 1998. 

Patrick credits his UC education in physics, political science and Russian Studies for his success.

“UC accelerated my time in the military and my career,” Patrick said. “We’re excited about Richard, the program and its ties to Estonia.”

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