Dr. Shaoen Wu has been named the State Farm Endowed Chair of Cybersecurity within the School of Information Technology. The prestigious chair was established by State Farm Insurance Companies as part of a $3 million investment committed in 2016.

“Illinois State’s cybersecurity program is a true point of pride,” said President Larry Dietz. “The State Farm Endowed Chair position enables Illinois State to establish a reputation of strength and perpetuity in an increasingly vital field.”

Wu came to Illinois State in July 2020 from Ball State University, where he served as director of the Security and Software Engineering Research Center. He received a Ph.D. in computer science and software engineering from Auburn University after earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in China. Wu has published more than 80 peer-reviewed papers in wireless, Internet of Things (IoT), smart health, and robotics. Past research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Intel, Dell, and other entities. He is currently researching the interaction between cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.

“I am so humbled by this incredible opportunity and wish to thank State Farm for this endowment,” said Wu, who hopes to continually better the program’s standing by offering specializations within the major, developing graduate program offerings, and increasing the University’s research productivity within the field. His long-term goal is to create a cybersecurity research center on campus that emphasizes inter-disciplinary collaboration.

“From my past work as the director of a research center, I know how fantastic it is if we collaborate together for research and education,” he said.

School of Information Technology Director Dr. Traci Carte is grateful to State Farm for endowing the chair position. “State Farm’s gift gives us the ability to keep growing and evolving a good program into a great program so that we are providing to the state of Illinois and to the region terrific future cybersecurity professionals,” she said.

A video celebrating Wu’s investiture has been created, above. Watch the video to learn more about Wu and State Farm’s investment in the University’s up-and-coming cybersecurity program.

Corporate support raises the University’s standing while also preparing students to become future leaders in industry. To learn more about joining Illinois State University’s Investors in Excellence, visit Giving.IllinoisState.edu, or contact a development professional today.