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FSW Cybersecurity Program Supported by Rist Family Foundation’s More Than $2.5 Million Commitment

Jul 13, 2022

JUNE 13, 2022 – FORT MYERS, FLA —As part of a more than $2.5 million commitment from Brian and Kim Rist and the Rist Family Foundation, Florida SouthWestern State College’s (FSW) School of Business and Technology has established the “Rist Cyber Institute.”

Funds will be used to provide enhancements to the Cybersecurity program including equipment, technology and additional instructional staff. Additionally, the Rist Cyber Institute will house two new computer labs, a hardware/software lab, a maker space for students to experience new technology, and a high-tech Cyber Room.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cybersecurity industry is expected to grow 33% between 2020 and 2030, and reports there are currently approximately 21,000 open cybersecurity jobs in Florida, with the total current employed workforce at 47,800.

“The Cybersecurity program at FSW will increase the skill level of students entering the ever-growing cybersecurity workforce in Southwest Florida,” said Dr. Mary Myers, dean, FSW School of Business and Technology. “It will also give FSW an opportunity to offer continuing education for IT practitioners in the field. With thoughtful course development and program planning, the landscape of cybersecurity will change for the better.”

“It is mine and Kim’s honor to be a part of the growing innovative programs at FSW,” said Brian Rist. “We feel the need to support programs like the Cybersecurity program. It gives young adults the opportunity to use their specialized skill sets that aren’t typical in other programs offered. Our hopes are for these students to stay local and be beneficial to the Southwest Florida community. As I always say, let’s try to improve ourselves to help make this world a better place.”

Through these contributions, the Rist Family Foundation also supports FSW’s Respiratory Care program and named “The Rist Family Foundation Respiratory Laboratory and Classroom” in 2021.

“The support of generous donors like Brian Rist and the Rist Family Foundation have allowed FSW to expand and serve the Southwest Florida community and workforce over the last 60 years,” said Dr. Jeff Allbritten, FSW president. “As the world continues to change and the skills and technology needed to keep up with these changes continue to evolve, it will be these generous FSW supporters who will continue to help us provide the world-class learning environment that our local workforce needs.” 


Florida SouthWestern State College is Southwest Florida’s largest and most affordable institution of higher education. Annually serving nearly 22,000 students globally, FSW offers a variety of nationally-ranked, career-focused academic programs with two- and four-year degrees and professional certifications, several with 100 percent licensure pass and job placements rates. Study and travel abroad opportunities are available for students through FSW’s Center for International Education. Students are also active in clubs and programs catered to their interests. Visit for more information.

Last Updated: September 6, 2022

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