Updated: Utica College announces the establishment of Karl Zimpel ‘75 Endowed Professorship in Cybersecurity


Photo from Alexandria Leland

Isabella Hudziak, Special Assignments Reporter

On March 24, President Laura Casamento announced the establishment of the Karl Zimpel ‘75 Endowed Professorship in Cybersecurity, which is the second endowed professorship to exist in Utica College history, followed by the Harold T. Clark Jr. Endowed Professorship created in 2005.

The endowed professorship, which is a position permanently supported by revenue from an endowment fund, was made possible by a $1 million pledge from Fredericka “Fritzie” Paine, a retired clinical psychologist who has received widespread recognition for her photography. An in-person celebration will be held in the fall to thank Paine for her contribution.

The pledge was made in memory of Paine’s late brother, Karl Zimpel, one of the first computer science students at Utica College and a 1975 graduate.

“Ms. Paine hopes to bolster the College’s effort to prepare graduates to address growing national security threats at home and abroad,” Utica College President Laura Casamento said.

The establishment of an endowed professorship is one of the highest honors a faculty member can be awarded and will provide more opportunity to recognize and support the scholarly research conducted by faculty.

“Ms. Paine’s vision and generosity will take Utica College to a new level in its ability to recognize and support academic excellence in the cybersecurity program,” said Casamento. “Thank you to our colleagues in advancement, Tim Nelson and George Nehme, for helping facilitate this gift, and of course our deepest thanks to Ms. Paine for her incredible generosity.”

Updated Section

The Office of Advancement at Utica College has been working with Ms. Paine and her interest in making a gift to honor her late brother since the summer of 2020. The donation opens several opportunities for the college and the School of Business and Justice Studies as a whole.

“An important strategic goal for the School of Business and Justice Studies is to grow our research capability and activity for faculty members and students,” said Stephanie Nesbitt, the dean of business and justice studies. “Ms. Paine’s gift allows us to support and advance faculty research through an endowed professorship. This will help us grow faculty, faculty-student and student research opportunities.”

In order to start implementing the Karl Zimpel ‘75 Endowed Professorship in Cybersecurity, a team led by Provost Todd Pfannenstiel and Nesbitt will need to start accumulating award criteria and the process for selections. At this time, there have not been any definite timelines for the first award.

“I hope that we can be ready to make announcements about our first award in Fall 2021,” said Nesbitt. “This would coincide nicely with the public celebration honoring Ms. Paine.”

Due to COVID-19 precautionary measures, the event to honor Paine has been postponed to the fall semester. However, feelings of gratitude are abundant within the cybersecurity department after the announcement made by President Casamento earlier this week.

“This extraordinary gift is an affirmation of our cybersecurity programs’ strength as well as a catalyst for our future growth,” said Dr. Austen Givens, an associate professor of cybersecurity.  “The Karl Zimpel endowed professorship will help us to attract more students and pursue new lines of research inquiry.”

According to Director of Cybersecurity Programs Leslie Corbo, the money will fund important research in the cybersecurity field. The demand for cybersecurity has been growing due to the shift to remote work during the pandemic and digitization of service. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for information security analysts is projected to increase 31% through 2029, which is considerably higher than the average occupation outlook.

“We are beyond thrilled with this endowment,” said Corbo. “We are beyond grateful and honored to receive the Karl Zimpel Endowed Professorship in Cybersecurity and look forward to the wonderful contributions we can make to the field of Cybersecurity thanks to this gift.”