Each year the Department of History and Art History recognizes one of its alums with its Outstanding Alum Award. This year’s recipient was Sean Sweeney, who is the Chief Security Advisor for the Americas in Microsoft’s Cybersecurity Solutions Group. In this role, he manages a team of Chief Security Advisors and Chief Security Architects based in the Americas. This team helps Microsoft’s strategic customers review their security plans and guides them on cybersecurity risk management. He is also responsible for evangelizing Microsoft’s security and compliance technology and engaging with the security industry more broadly, through public speaking, standards development, and research, while also providing strategic direction on products and services.
Sean joined Microsoft from the University of Pittsburgh where he was the Chief Information Security Officer. At Pitt, Sean was responsible for the strategic leadership of the information security and privacy protection programs for the University’s 5 campuses and 120,000 users. In his early career Sean was a co-founder of a Pittsburgh-based eDiscovery startup, the Chief Information Officer for a national law firm based in Pittsburgh, and a Litigation Support Applications Manager for the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.
Sean received his BA in History from George Mason University in the winter of 2000. He wrote his senior seminar paper on the U.S. Government’s use of the Federal Civil Defense Administration to propagate the idea that a nuclear war was survivable, thus justifying the continuation of a policy of nuclear proliferation. He says that his success in the technology field was enabled by what he learned at Mason, specifically the ability to communicate effectively and conduct independent research and analysis. Mastering the field of cybersecurity without undergraduate training in IT or Computer Science was a challenge, but he reports that his undergraduate training in history had taught him how to approach new topics and figure out how to learn them on his own—an ability that has obviously served him well in his impressive and varied career.
July 22, 2019