On Sept. 27, 2017, members of the College of Charleston’s most prestigious donor recognition group, the Bishop Robert Smith Society, will gather on campus in Alumni Memorial Hall to celebrate donors who have made significant lifetime philanthropic commitments to benefit the College. Among the donors being celebrated will be local technology entrepreneur and philanthropist Noah Thomas Leask.
Leask, founder of cyber operations firm Ishpi Information Technologies Inc., recently gave the College of Charleston School of Business $1.92 million to establish the Noah Thomas Leask Distinguished Professorship in Information Management and Innovation — a grant that will fund a faculty position in perpetuity.
“We – at the College – are so thankful to Noah for his remarkable commitment to our university and our School of Business,” said College of Charleston President Glenn F. McConnell ’69. “This incredible investment in our supply chain and information management program will propel an already strong and growing program to new heights. In addition, it will further the College’s recognition in Silicon Harbor as an institution for talent, extraordinary research and technological innovation. This professorship does for the College what large tech companies and startups have done for the city — attract and develop the field’s best and brightest.”
After relocating to the Lowcounty from Washington, D.C., Leask made it a priority to contribute to Charleston’s national and international prominence, particularly as a technology hub. He quickly discovered that the economic and entrepreneurial vitality of Charleston was directly linked to its relationship with the College.
Upon further exploration, Leask determined that the College’s School of Business offered the most efficient, effective place to bolster technology entrepreneurism at the university level. Leask’s sentiment is strongly shared by Alan Shao, dean of the School of Business.
“Our strong ties to the Charleston business community paired with our desire to create the next generation of ready-to-work innovators makes the School of Business the premiere place for entrepreneurial learning,” says Shao. “Through his generous gift, Noah Leask will amplify the impact our students and faculty have both locally and around the world.”
Making a positive impact, particularly on the lives of those who are socioeconomically disadvantaged, has been a driving force for Leask, who described his own personal story as one rooted in humble beginnings. By creating the professorship, the College will be able to further opportunities in the field of technology, which was transformative in Leask’s own career trajectory.
“On our way up, we believe that as you could give, you give,” says Leask. “We’ve always done that.”
The College will commemorate Leask’s unwavering commitment to give back during the Bishop Robert Smith Society event, where his name will be featured on the society’s recognition walls in Alumni Memorial Hall, which serves as a reminder of the exemplary donors who have generously invested in the College’s mission.