UA Alumna Donates $5 Million to Support Data, Cybersecurity Program

UA President Stuart R. Bell, left, Dr. Kay Palan, middle, dean of Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration, and Marillyn A. Hewson stand outside a data analytics lab following the announcement of a $5 million gift from Hewson in support of the College’s education and research in business-data intelligence and cybersecurity.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration celebrated today a generous $5 million gift from Marillyn A. Hewson, chairman, president, and CEO of Lockheed Martin.

The gift will support Culverhouse’s education and research in business-data intelligence and cybersecurity, specifically supporting a high-tech lab, two named faculty endowments, an endowed undergraduate scholarship and a graduate assistantship.

“My education and experiences at Culverhouse have been an important part of my professional successes and my approach to business leadership,” said Hewson. “I am grateful.”

“With the rapidly evolving fields of big-data analytics and cybersecurity, there will be strong demand for talent for many years to come,” Hewson added. “With this gift, it is my hope that this institution will have the resources it needs to advance its innovative research and attract further support for its core mission of preparing students for the jobs of the future.”

Campus leaders on hand for the event praised Hewson and her support for the College and her impact on the University.

“The Marillyn A. Hewson Data Analytics Lab will serve as a premier research center for hands-on data and business analysis that will directly impact Alabama’s economic future and job creation and make the University a national leader on this critical business frontier,” said UA President Stuart R. Bell. “We thank Marillyn for her enduring and generous support, and we appreciate her confidence in us.”

“Marillyn’s generosity to her alma mater will sustain and promote our rigorous data-science program, enabling us to give students critical skills that are in high-demand by industry and government,” said Dr. Kay M. Palan, dean of Culverhouse.

“Marillyn’s gift shows her confidence in Culverhouse’s academics and faculty,” Palan said. “It will support two distinct endowed professorships pending approval from the Board of Trustees, a graduate assistantship, and an undergraduate scholarship that will offer an interdisciplinary approach to cybersecurity education and research.”

Prior to today’s unveiling ceremony in the College’s Bidgood Hall, which is the location of the lab, Hewson discussed her leadership experiences and met with several student groups.

Those groups included MBA and specialized master’s students, students from the STEM Path to the MBA program, as well as College of Engineering students who have a relationship with Lockheed Martin.

A graduate of The University of Alabama with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and a Master of Arts degree in economics, Hewson is a member of the Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration’s board of visitors as well as a member of UA’s President’s Cabinet.

In her more than 30 years with Lockheed Martin, she has held a series of executive positions, including president and chief operating officer and executive vice president of its Electronic Systems business area.

Dr. Jason M. Parton will manage the Marillyn A. Hewson Data Analytics Lab, which is part of the College’s Institute for Business Analytics.

“Through our academic programs and now the Marillyn A. Hewson Data Analytics Lab, I feel we are at the forefront of preparing our students at The University of Alabama with the proficiencies needed to apply wisdom to knowledge that will aid them throughout their career,” said Parton.

“Specifically, this lab makes available unique opportunities of partnerships between academia and industry where students are involved with project-based learning that offers solutions for real world problems and therefore provides them with an experience difficult to achieve inside a classroom alone,” he said.

Contact

Zach Thomas, Culverhouse College of Commerce, 205-348-8318, zthomas@cba.ua.edu

The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.