2023 Community Leadership Award Recipient

Thomas Dugas

Thomas Dugas

Assistant Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer
Duquesne University


For being an active and influential member of the EDUCAUSE and broader higher education technology community; for trailblazing innovative thought leadership in cloud computing and cybersecurity; for leading community groups and technology teams with insight, generosity, and humility

The 2023 EDUCAUSE Community Leadership Award recognizes Tom Dugas for his extensive participation and leadership in the higher education technology community. Throughout his work in higher education, he has modeled a community-oriented mindset, fostered collaborative work environments, and driven organizational improvements in information security and data governance.

Tom began his IT career in the private sector after graduating with a master of science degree in communication and information systems in 2001. He joined the higher education IT community in 2004 when he was hired as the Desktop Support Program Manager at Carnegie Mellon University. Tom quickly established himself as a collaborative and innovative leader as he developed and led the organization’s first IT Service Management program. During the years that he assisted the Carnegie Mellon community, the customer satisfaction rating for the Desktop Support Program rose from around 80 percent to 99 percent.

Given Tom’s impressive track record and reputation, it is unsurprising that he was recruited in 2016 to work at Duquesne University as the Director of Information Security and New Initiatives. Under Tom’s leadership, the university’s average cybersecurity maturity rating score rose from 2.46 to 3.57 on a five-point scale. Tom was selected to serve on several governance committees, including the Pittsburgh InfraGard, the Greater Pittsburgh CISO Advisory Board, and the AICUP Cybersecurity Committee. Among his many notable accomplishments at Duquesne, Tom implemented new technology and processes to protect the identities of campus community members, reducing compromised accounts by 97 percent. He was named CISO of the Year in 2019 by the Pittsburgh Technology Council and Greater Pittsburgh CISO Group.

Engaging with others is foundational to Tom’s approach. He has demonstrated longstanding participation in the EDUCAUSE community by establishing and serving on various committees, presenting at conferences, and mentoring emerging technology professionals. Tom was one of the founders of the EDUCAUSE Cloud Computing Constituent Group, which grew from about a dozen leaders to several hundred cloud practitioners. He was part of the Internet2 Cloud Services Working Groups, which merged with the Cloud Computing Constituent Group in 2011. Tom also served as a member of the 2011 EDUCAUSE MidAtlantic Conference Committee, the EDUCAUSE EDUComment Task Force, the 2019 EDUCAUSE Security Professionals Conference Committee, and the EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research Cloud Working Group. He continues to be active in many EDUCAUSE Community Groups, including Cybersecurity, Data Governance, HECVAT Users, HEISC 800-171 Compliance, Identity and Access Management, IT Accessibility, and IT Procurement and Supplier Management.

In addition to his extensive community involvement, Tom has been instrumental in organizing webinars, workshops, and conference presentations on various topics related to cloud computing, such as security, governance, migration, and optimization. He has written or co-written many EDUCAUSE-related papers and articles, including a seven-article series on preparing the IT organization for the cloud.

Selfless to the core, Tom is an engaged mentor and active collaborator, generously sharing his expertise and insights. As one colleague observed, “He has been involved in my organization and countless other organizations to contribute his experience and expertise to help others. He is always available to . . . give advice and insights into topics including security, compliance, and technology procurement (among many others).”

Tom is always eager to learn from the effective practices of his peers. He exemplifies community-oriented leadership in service to his campus, EDUCAUSE, and the broader higher education technology communities.

This EDUCAUSE Award is sponsored by Moran Technology Consulting, Gold Partner.