2016 has been a year of setbacks and challenges for me,
including being ousted as executive director of CERIAS. Rather than dwell on those issues, I
have tried to stay focused on the future and move forward.
Thankfully, some good things have come along and the year is going
to close out on several positive notes. My
last blog post noted recounted being informed that I am to
receive the 2017 IFIP Kristian Beckman Award as one such positive
Today was the announcement of another pleasant surprise — I have
been named as a Sagamore of the
Wabash. This is the most significant civilian award from
the state of Indiana. The award is in recognition of three decades
of leadership in cyber security, and service to organizations in
the state, including my leadership at CERIAS, work with local
companies, and support of government and law enforcement.
As noted in
the Purdue press release,I want to thank all the colleagues and
students, past and present, who have worked with me over those many
years. What we have accomplished only occurred because of
our collective efforts; one individual can usually effect only a
small amount of change. It is as a group that we have had a
tremendous impact. It is gratifying to see their individual
successes, too — some of my most gratifying experiences have been
when former students tell me that what I helped them to learn was
an important component of their success.
Some of my friends may be amused by an irony present in my now
having two certificates on my office wall, one signed by George W.
Bush and one by Mike Pence, but none from anyone in the Clinton or
Obama administrations. (If you don’t understand that irony, move
along.) However, irony is not new to me — I’ve repeatedly been
recognized internationally for my research and leadership, but
actually penalized by some at the university — including within my
own department — for those same activities. I haven’t done any of
what I do for recognition, though. My goal is to help ensure that
the world is a better, safer place as a result of my actions. Even
if no one notices, I will continue to do so. For years I had a sign
above my desk with a quote by Mark Twain: Always do right. This
will gratify some people and surprise the rest. I no longer
have the sign, but I still live the words.
I also want to note (as I have several times recently) that as I
get these “lifetime achievement” types of recognitions, I don’t
want people to think that the problems are solved, or that I am
planning on retiring. Far from it! The problem space has gotten
larger and more complex, and the threats are more severe and
imminent. I certainly am not bored with what I do, and I think I
have some good experience and ideas to apply. I’m not sure what
I’ll do next (or where) but, I don’t intend to step to the
sidelines! Another of my favorite aphorisms was stated by
Archimedes: Give me a lever long enough and a place to stand,
and I will move the Earth. If I can find the resources
(offers?) and the right place to work (suggestions?), I plan on
continuing to move things a bit.
Best wishes to you all for a wonderful holiday season, and a
great start to 2017!