Multi-classroom center, cyber warfare range named to honor Donald McMahon III
For many years, Donald McMahon III has been a friend to Pensacola State College.
Not only has he volunteered in many capacities, but when necessary, the businessman reached deep into his own pockets to ensure PSC students had the funds to complete their education.
On Tuesday, May 4, the College dedicated the Center for Cybersecurity in honor of McMahon. Housed in the Baars Technology Building, the center was officially christened the Donald McMahon III Center for Cybersecurity during a 10 a.m. ceremony.
The College’s Bachelor of Applied Science Degree in Cybersecurity also bears McMahon’s name.
Known as “Donnie” by friends, McMahon most recently pledged $250,000 to Pensacola State to support students enrolled in the cybersecurity program or closely related fields of study.
“About eight years ago, I wasn’t even sure what cybersecurity was but learned that dot.gov was monitored right here at Corry Station (NAS Pensacola Information Warfare Training Command),” McMahon told attendees.
“I was out there, and it looked like NASA. The guy running the operations kept saying, ‘We need people!’ ‘We need people!’ ‘We need people!’ ”
McMahon, who noted he was inspired to give back by the late philanthropist Jack Kugelman, said cybersecurity is necessary in today’s workplace.
“I want to thank PSC. This institution fills a need in the community and supports job growth and development,” he added.
PSC President Ed Meadows said the naming of the center was a way to honor McMahon’s generosity and establish his legacy at the College.
“Mr. McMahon is a former member of the PSC Foundation Board of Governors and has distinguished himself in leadership roles as both (Board of Governors) president and a scholarship donor. In 1999, he established the McMahon Endowment to support a broad range of our students,” Meadows said.
After retiring from 13 years on the Board of Governors (1995-2008), McMahon was selected a Governor Emeritus.
The College’s new Center for Cybersecurity is a multi-classroom facility that includes a cyber warfare range, which allows students to access real-world networks and systems in a protected area called a Sandbox.
“Our cybersecurity students also can enhance their hacking and attack skills as well as sharpen defense tactics,” Meadows explained. “The cyber warfare range also has the capability for capture the flag cyber games which deepen the students’ knowledge of network attacks and defense.”
The BAS in Cybersecurity was the third bachelor’s degree program offered by the College. When announced in 2016, Meadows said the degree program would help provide a pipeline of qualified IT professionals to Northwest Florida’s growing cybersecurity industry and support economic development agencies recruit even more companies to the region ─ because of the availability of a trained workforce.
Since its inception, 56 graduates have earned Bachelor of Applied Science degrees in Cybersecurity at the College.
Andrea Krieger, executive director of Institutional Development, said McMahon’s latest gift will continue to support PSC students throughout the years.
“It is a legacy that demonstrates Mr. McMahon’s belief in the strength of our students and education,” she said.
McMahon’s generosity extends beyond the College. A community leader, he is the owner of several businesses in Northwest Florida. He earned a business degree from Florida State University in 1977, and shortly after his insurance certification from Pensacola State.
For more information on the McMahon event, contact Pensacola State Executive Director of Marketing, Sheila Nichols, at 850-484-1428 or firstname.lastname@example.org.