Science & Technology

Cybersecurity leader gives $50k, establishes CISO Fund Cybersecurity Scholarship Endowment

The University of West Florida has created the CISO Fund Cybersecurity Scholarship Endowment with a $50,000 gift from Adam Ely, technology executive and chief information security officer for Fidelity.

The endowment, established in honor of Ely’s illustrious career as an entrepreneur and cybersecurity expert, will provide scholarship support for students to launch or advance cybersecurity careers through the UWF Center for Cybersecurity’s workforce development programs. Preference will be given to women applicants to support diversity in the cybersecurity field, with scholarships available beginning in 2022.

“It’s an honor to support the incredible work being done at the UWF Center for Cybersecurity to advance the industry and prepare the next generation of cybersecurity professionals,” Ely said. “My hope in establishing this endowment was to open doors for aspiring leaders in technology who can steer the cybersecurity field into the future. I look forward to seeing lives changed through the opportunities it creates.”

Ely has held global leadership roles with several Fortune 100 companies. Prior to his role with Fidelity, he was the Deputy CISO & CISO eCommerce at Walmart, co-founded Bluebox Security, acquired in 2016, was the CISO of Salesforce’s Heroku business unit, and led security and compliance at TiVo and within The Walt Disney Company.

In addition to his current role, Ely is an investor in startups and venture capital funds, serves on the UWF Center for Cybersecurity Advisory Board, and founded the CISO Fund non-profit to support cybersecurity education and careers.

“The Center has developed nationally-recognized workforce development programs to help individuals launch or advance cybersecurity careers,” said Dr. Eman El-Sheikh, associate vice president for the UWF Center for Cybersecurity. “The programs integrate faculty-led instruction, hands-on training, industry certifications, and career mentoring to prepare and help place students with cybersecurity employers. We are honored for the support from Mr. Ely and the CISO and cybersecurity community, which will help provide opportunities to diverse students, including women and underrepresented minorities, to pursue careers in cybersecurity.”

Individuals or organizations are encouraged to contribute to the CISO Fund Cybersecurity Scholarship Endowment through the UWF Giving website.

For more information about the UWF Center for Cybersecurity, visit