Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

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Cyber Security Institute to Advance University

The+image+depicts+the+new+cyber+security+building%2C+which+is+set+to+open+in+2026.
Courtesy of Marshall University
The image depicts the new cyber security building, which is set to open in 2026.

Starting in 2026, Marshall students will have access to a state-of-the-art building that is the only of its kind in the country. 

“We’re going to bring everything cyber together in one physical space here on Marshall University’s campus, which is just a huge deal,” said Bill Gardner, associate professor of Cyber Forensics and Security. “We don’t have another center like that in the United States.”

While the University of Texas at San Antonio has a similar research center, Marshall’s $45 million Institute for Cyber Security is set to provide students and faculty with unique opportunities, Gardner said.

“We have an opportunity to be a national center to help defend the nation’s critical infrastructure,” Gardner said, listing water, electricity and the internet as three of the country’s most essential structures.

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In the age of the internet, Gardner said the United States must be protected from potential attacks on our economy, and the Institute for Cyber Security will provide a place for this type of research to be conducted.

“We’re trying to build an institute that will help bring the brightest minds and the research dollars to Huntington, West Virginia, so that we can fight against these sorts of threats,” he said. 

With the new building being a research institute composed of different colleges and departments rather than an academic institution dedicated to one program, the Institute for Cyber Security will have several components, said Jack McFee, cyber forensic researcher and instructor. 

The construction site is located across Old Main on 4th Avenue.

Along with a variety of spaces dedicated to specific labs, McFee said the institute will have headquarters for offices of the federal government.

“The Department of Defense, JFHQ-DODIN and U.S. Cyber Command will have their own dedicated space in the building to set up shop, and that will be a big boom to the Huntington economy,” he said.

“As we know, West Virginia is kind of hemorrhaging people, unfortunately,” McFee added. “One of the purposes of this is to bring people back and get people to stay, and the only way to do that is to offer a competitive workplace environment.”

Gardner said the partnered institute will also provide students with access to internships, which will allow them to work through college.

McFee highlighted the importance of this opportunity, saying, “That’s what employers are looking for nowadays; having hands-on experience in concepts and theory is one thing, but the hands-on aspect of what this program has to offer is definitely above and beyond.”

As a former undergraduate student of Marshall’s Cyber Forensics and Security program, McFee said, “It’s a really exciting time to be joining this program because you’ll be able to see the changes in the next couple of years, and they’re going to be good changes.”

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