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Major donation from Santee Cooper supports information systems technology online degree program at CCU

December 5, 2019
From left, Mark Bonsall, Santee Cooper president and CEO and David A. DeCenzo, CCU president.Faculty and staff from CCU’s Department of Computing Sciences.Michael Murphy (left), associate professor of computing sciences, speaks with Mark Bonsall, Santee Cooper president and CEO.

Santee Cooper, South Carolina's largest power provider and Green Power generator, made a commitment in 2016 to a $1 million endowed donation to support two programs in the Gupta College of Science at Coastal Carolina University. The donation establishes the Santee Cooper Master of Science in Information Systems Technology (MSIST) online degree program and the Santee Cooper Scholars program. Today, the utility presented the third of 10 installments of $100,000 to the University.

The gift supports the University's I'M IN 2 endowment campaign, which to date has secured nearly $30 million for CCU's endowment. Visit to learn more about the campaign.

"Santee Cooper has been a generous supporter of Coastal Carolina University for more than 30 years," said CCU President David A. DeCenzo. "The University is extremely thankful for Santee Cooper's latest investment. This collaborative effort will help ensure that Coastal Carolina students gain the knowledge necessary to enter and successfully navigate the rapidly evolving information security and data analytics sector."

The Santee Cooper MSIST program prepares future leaders through critical examination of both academic and practical applications of various segments of the information security and data analytics industry. Those segments include cybersecurity and information security, machine learning and data mining, data science and analytics, and vulnerability and risk assessment.

"We depend on well-educated, solution-driven employees in information technology to keep our utility running smoothly and to help protect our customers' personal information. Frankly, in today's business climate, this is critically important for all industries," said Mark Bonsall, Santee Cooper president and CEO. "Supporting education speaks to our mission of improving the quality of lives for South Carolinians."

The program is designed to allow a student with a bachelor's degree in a related field to complete this fully online master's degree at CCU with 33 graduate credit hours in approximately 24 months. It will prepare graduates to design, evaluate, and implement secure technology systems and infrastructure.

"Hardly a day goes by when one does not hear of an issue related to information security and the importance of safeguarding data in our highly interconnected world," said Michael Roberts, dean of the Gupta College of Science. "This not only applies to personal information, but also pertains to the safeguarding of industrial systems and controls that form the foundation of our industrial society. The Santee Cooper MSIST program will generate cohorts of highly trained CCU graduates who will be the vanguard of our defensive response to security breaches that could undermine critical information systems."

The Santee Cooper Scholars program will provide up to five scholarships per academic year for undergraduate students majoring in computer science, information systems, or information technology, and for graduate students in the Santee Cooper Master of Science in Information Systems Technology online program.

Santee Cooper, a public power utility owned by the state, is the ultimate source of electricity for more than 2 million people across South Carolina. The company provides reliable and affordable electricity, clean and safe drinking water, environmental stewardship, and programs that recruit industry and jobs.