Cresson, Pa. – Mount Aloysius College has been named a “Center of Academic Excellence for Cyber Defense” by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Only 16 schools in Pennsylvania and just over 350 institutions across the country hold Center of Academic Excellence status. The Mount is the only four-year program in Blair and Cambria Counties with this designation.

The select designation is awarded to US colleges and universities who meet the NSA and DHS’ rigorous standards for cybersecurity teaching and awareness. It recognizes colleges whose programs fall in line with rigorous expectations for instruction and support.

Mount Aloysius’ “ability to meet the increasing demands of the program criteria will serve the nation well in contributing to the protection of the National Information Infrastructure,” stated the NSA’s certification letter.

“We’ve been working on this designation for over a year,” said Kristi Smith, chair of the information technology department at Mount Aloysius. “We have one of the longest-established cyber programs in the area, so to have the NSA validate the program in this way is really special. Our Cybersecurity students regularly land impressive internships and careers with major companies and federal agencies, and this designation really validates our program’s excellence.”

In their review of the Mount’s cybersecurity program, the NSA and DHS looked at assessment data, curriculum, student transcripts, campus activities, and how cybersecurity is integrated into other programs on campus.

“This designation confirms that our students receive powerful instruction in fields that really matter to the future of our country,” said John McKeegan, president of Mount Aloysius College. “It is a very exciting day for the Mount, and I am thankful for the exemplary work of our IT faculty and staff.”

For more information about the Mount’s cybersecurity program, visit

CAPTION: (L-R) John McKeegan, President of Mount Aloysius College; Kristi Smith, Information Technology Department Chair; Dr. Christopher Lovett, Academic Dean; and Dr. David Haschak, Vice President for Academic Affairs stand with a “Center of Academic Excellence for Cyber Defense” banner in the Cybersecurity & Digital Forensics Research Center on the campus of Mount Aloysius College.