The Isaac and Carol Auerbach Family Foundation

Engineering alumnus and former Drexel Trustee Isaac L. Auerbach ’43 HD ’91 could not have imagined the power of today’s computing systems, but he helped lay the foundation for them. Mr. Auerbach held more than 16 patents and was a key contributor to several advances in early computer technology: the first mainframe calculating machines; the computerization of the ballistic missile early warning system; and encoding devices for the National Security Agency.

Al Berger and Carol Auerbach
The Isaac and Carol Auerbach Family Foundation
Both Al and I are very aware of the national and international issues surrounding cybersecurity. We felt that Drexel could play an important role in training professionals in an essential area of concern for organizations and government agencies throughout the world.

Today Drexel University is at the vanguard of teaching and research on securing our highly networked world, and Mr. Auerbach’s family is ensuring that his legacy lives on in this critical work. The Isaac and Carol Auerbach Family Foundation made a major commitment to name the Isaac L. Auerbach Cybersecurity Institute, an interdisciplinary hub for educating the next generation of leaders in the field of cybersecurity, advancing the collective understanding of cyber-threats, and developing new capabilities and technologies to counter cyberattacks.

“My father always believed in Drexel and came out of Drexel, and he wanted to support the University,” says Rachel Hyman, who is a trustee of the foundation along with her mother, Carol Auerbach, and brother, A. Philip Auerbach. “There have been so many advances in technology since he passed away 24 years ago, and I think he would have really enjoyed seeing how far the field has come. Giving back in this area seems just very fitting.”

The Auerbach family’s partnership has fueled Drexel’s growing strength in computer and information science. Carol and Isaac Auerbach established the Isaac L. Auerbach Professorship at the College of Computing & Informatics (CCI) shortly before Mr. Auerbach’s death in 1992, and Mrs. Auerbach has served on the search committee for two CCI deans. She remarried Al Berger, who also has a longstanding interest in issues of security and technology. As the former CEO of AlliedBarton, Mr. Berger had previously worked on providing security services for the Drexel and University of Pennsylvania campuses.

“Both Al and I are very aware of the national and international issues surrounding cybersecurity,” says Mrs. Auerbach. “We felt that Drexel could play an important role in training professionals in an essential area of concern for organizations and government agencies throughout the world.” A gift from Mrs. Auerbach and Mr. Berger enabled Drexel to open the Auerbach and Berger Families Cybersecurity Laboratory in 2014. This facility — the first of its kind at the University — allows researchers, cybersecurity professionals and students to gain hands-on experience in protection, defense and attack operations without disturbing real-world networks. The couple has been impressed by the rapid progress made by Drexel’s young cybersecurity program and the industry experience of its leadership and faculty.

“We invest in organizations that resonate with us and where the people have the ability to execute what they say they’re going to do,” says Mr. Berger.

Thanks to the Auerbach Family Foundation’s gift, the institute will be able to take its mission to the next level through the development of new research proposals and educational programs and the creation of a post-doctoral fellowship. For Isaac Auerbach’s family, it’s a way to honor his visionary accomplishments through a shared commitment to philanthropy and civic engagement.

“We’re lucky to be here where we are today,” says Mrs. Auerbach. “I feel very blessed that we can live as we want to live, and we’re at a point where we get much more pleasure out of being able to do something that will alter the lives of others and improve the world in some small way.”


A. Philip Auerbach, Carol Auerbach and Rachel Hyman. Photos by Red Fish Blue Fish Photography