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Harris Corp., Community Foundation of Brevard Announce $5 Million Grant to Florida Tech

11:48 AM on March 17, 2009


MELBOURNE, FLA. The Harris Corporation Charitable Fund, held by the Community Foundation of Brevard (CFB), has donated $5 million to Florida Institute of Technology to create the Harris Institute for Assured Information, which will focus on developing advanced solutions to help solve the global information security problem. In addition to the cash donation, Harris Corporation will provide strong research and development support to assist the new institute over the next four years.

The Harris institute will be housed in a new 24,000-square-foot Harris Center for Science and Engineering on Florida Tech's Melbourne campus. Unlike other information research efforts that target classified government applications, the new institute will develop solutions for a wide range of real-world commercial and government applications. These include banking and finance, retail, health care, education, civil agencies and others.

In addition to developing advanced solutions, the institute will help foster new, highly qualified talent in the important, fast growing field by providing post graduate and research opportunities.

Information security has grown to become a multiple billion dollar issue affecting virtually all government agencies, businesses and individuals in the United States and around the world. Each year millions of information files are hacked or stolen, placing government, business and personal information at risk.

Florida Tech President Anthony J. Catanese heralded the Harris commitment as a new chapter in a collaboration that dates to the university's founding 50 years ago.

"This grant will further strengthen the remarkable partnership between Harris and Florida Tech," he said. "The new Harris Institute for Assured Information will enhance the strengths of both organizations and build on our fruitful alliance."

Florida Tech's already substantial reputation in information assurance served as a catalyst for the gift.

"Florida Tech and Harris have a very strong common interest in information assurance and in developing solutions that protect organizational and individual security," said Howard L. Lance, Harris chairman, president and CEO. "Florida Tech has strong capabilities in information assurance, and Harris is one of the largest companies focused strictly on assured communications and information technology. We saw that it was a natural area for collaboration."

Florida Tech's existing information assurance center in the College of Engineering, is under the leadership of Richard Ford. It is already recognized for its work and numerous government and national foundation contracts.

"Harris is one of the world's leading companies in its field. Having Harris as a close partner is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Ford. "With Florida Tech's proven track record in the security space added to Harris Corporation's expertise, the sky's the limit."

President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Brevard, Gary F. Lang called the grant a showcase for the foundation's continuing mission.

"The work of the foundation changes people's lives," said Lang. "The CFB is very proud of its relationship with Harris Corporation and the causes it supports. We know that Harris's commitment to Florida Institute of Technology will change people's lives for the better, too."

The donation is part of the Golden Anniversary Campaign for Florida Tech and brings the university up to $43 million toward its $50 million goal. Florida Tech's Senior Vice President for Advancement Thomas G. Fox noted that, historically, this is the corporation's second lead gift for a Florida Tech capital campaign.

"Harris has a strong tradition of giving to the university and for that we are extremely grateful," said Fox. "Nearly 20 years ago, Harris made a $5 million gift that was the centerpiece of a successful $25 million campaign. This tremendous new contribution will serve to create the same kind of momentum for the Golden Anniversary Campaign."

The grant will fund three efforts. First, $1.75 million will help build the Harris Center for Science and Engineering. The new, 8,000-square-foot Harris Institute for Assured Information will take up most of one floor in this new building. Second, $2.5 million will finance a Harris Faculty Chair in Assured Information. Third, $750,000 will support student scholarships and fellowships.

Florida Tech's capital campaign ends in September 2009. "Corporations and foundations always ask who else is on board," said Fox. "With the emphatic imprimatur of Harris Corp. and the Community Foundation of Brevard on the Golden Anniversary Campaign, our credibility and visibility through the remaining days of the campaign take a big leap forward."

About Harris Corporation
Harris is an international communications and information technology company serving government and commercial markets in more than 150 countries. Headquartered in Melbourne, Florida, the company has annual revenue of over $4 billion and 16,000 employees - including nearly 7,000 engineers and scientists. Harris is dedicated to developing best-in-class assured communications products, systems, and services. Additional information about Harris Corporation is available at http://www.harris.com .

About Florida Institute of Technology
Located in Melbourne, Fla., the university was founded in 1958 to train professionals working in the space program at what is now Kennedy Space Center. It is the only independent, technological university in the Southeast.

It was also named a Barron's Guide "Best Buy" in College Education, is listed among America's best colleges in U.S. News & World Report, is among the top Southeastern colleges according to Princeton Review Rating and was rated a top private university in Florida by the Washington Monthly College Ranking. More information is available at http://www.fit.edu