Above: Sabra Horne addresses CofC graduates as the 2018 Winter Commencement speaker during a graduation ceremony at TD Arena. 

The events of 9/11 forever changed the lives of many Americans, including Sabra Horne ’87. For her, 9/11 instilled a desire to be part of the fight to keep the nation safe.

Leveraging her liberal arts degree and 18 years working in academic publishing, the English major obtained her master’s degree in public administration from the Harvard School of Government. She then moved to Washington, D.C., and landed a job with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, where she coordinated the use of publicly available information within the 16 intelligence agencies. Today, as chief of the Innovation Hub (iHub) of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Horne strives to create a culture where everyone within CISA feels empowered to improve operations in the agency’s efforts to defend the country against cyber and physical risk.

sabra horne

Sabra Horne

While Horne’s career models the benefits of a liberal arts degree from the College of Charleston, her continued commitment to her alma mater models a passion to give back and make a difference in the lives of CofC students. As a member of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) Dean’s Council, Horne is an advocate of the College’s liberal arts mission as well as a champion for the CofC student experience.

Since Horne has been on the HSS Dean’s Council, she has witnessed the impact of the Dean’s Excellence Fund through meaningful student opportunities like study abroad, internships and independent research. Specifically, she has learned about how students have developed an understanding of conflict resolution by spending time in Rwanda with the Genocide Memorial Group; acquired knowledge about the professional publishing world by interning for Skirt! magazine; and gained perspective on a then-pioneering technology by attending a Zoomtopia Conference.

RELATED: Celebrate the value of a liberal arts education on CofC Day, the College’s annual day of giving, on Jan. 28.

As part of her commitment to the HSS Dean’s Council, and consistent with her philanthropic spirit, Horne wanted to give back to the school. She and her husband, John Keefe, decided a planned gift to the Dean’s Excellence Fund would be the best way to have the greatest impact.

“This legacy gift is a game changer for the School of Humanities and Social Sciences” says Gibbs Knotts, HSS dean. “I’m most excited about our ability to make significant engaged learning initiatives, like undergraduate research, study abroad and internships, available to more students. These impactful experiences enable students to expand their creativity, sense of civic responsibility, communication and teamwork — valuable skills for a lifetime of personal and career success.”

Horne, who served as the winter commencement speaker in 2018, encourages graduates to keep their eyes and mind open for opportunities. And her gift will inspire those student opportunities for many years to come.

“The world is a big place and students shouldn’t be constrained by what’s directly in front of them,” says Horne. “They should have the opportunity to see possibilities that exist ahead.”