David Cross ’96, B.S. in Computer Information Systems – Fowler School of Engineering
Though he has never set foot on our Chapman campus, David Cross earned a B.S. in Computer Information Systems from Chapman University in 1996 through a Chapman partnership with a military satellite education program in Washington state. He later earned his MBA with an emphasis in Management Information Systems from City University in 2003. David has been a longtime advocate of security application and technology, stemming from five years of active duty military service where he first started his work in encryption, information protection and data analysis for the U.S. Navy’s aviation electronic warfare community. David currently serves as Senior Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) for the Oracle SaaS Cloud Security engineering and operations organization. Previously, David was the public Cloud Security Engineering Director in the Google Security and Privacy organization and his preceding 18 years were spent with Microsoft in numerous security cloud, product and engineering leadership roles. In addition, David has been a long-time security IP innovator with 30+ patents as well as a contributing author on many whitepapers and Microsoft Press books regarding security and PKI. David is a resident of the Seattle, Washington area with long term passion for and advocate of reading, running and international travel. He actively blogs his many travels as he has visited more than 60 counties since he was deployed overseas during his military service.
Q&A with David Cross
We asked this year’s winners about their experiences at Chapman and what advice they have for current students.
Who was the most influential person for you at Chapman? Why?
Harvey Prosser was my primary computer science instructor and he continuously challenged me to go above and beyond when he saw I could stretch and reach a larger goal. When I asked if I could start the program using the C programming language and not use (then) current Pascal language, he immediately allowed me to do so…but he warned me he would never discuss or answer questions in class regarding the C programming language. It was a big mutual challenge and one of the best choices I made thanks to him.
If you could go back and experience one moment from your time at Chapman, what would it be? Is there anything that you would do differently?
I still relish the instructors in my elective classes that were so passionate about their areas of study and absolute subject matter experts. I only wish I had more time (and funds) to have the opportunity to take more courses and learn from them further than I was able to do. Hindsight is 20-20 and it is hard to forecast on how much education will help you much later in life than you realize when you are younger.
What were the most challenging social issues in our country/world that you faced as a young college student? What was your perspective or how did you get involved? Have your opinions on these issues changed or stayed the same? Give an example…
I had a unique situation as I was serving in the United States Navy on active duty while attending classes in my off time at a Chapman extension on Whidbey Island, Washington. It was a challenging time as even with tuition assistance as a military benefit, the classes were not affordable on my limited income. I had to take student loans to complete my degree. I learned to appreciate the challenges that many in the country and world have in achieving their desired education level and the needs many will have looking forward as educational costs have risen significantly over time.
I would also like to share an experience as a veteran and a student that that many do not see and understand. In the US armed forces, everyone is equal, and the military is a diverse collection of individuals across society: ethnically, culturally and economically. It is this experience that makes the US armed forces stronger and I hope our future ahead can learn from these experiences and challenges and bring us all together as an inclusive and united nation.
What do you wish you knew at the time of your graduation (about life, careers, family, best place for tacos, etc.) that you know now? What advice can you give to the students and/or recent graduates of today?
The number one best practice I wish I knew at the time was the importance of collaborating with others on class or program projects. Careers and jobs are all based on projects and working with others. This is where your educational experience is the first opportunity to learn on how to effectively and productively work with others on joint projects.
How did Chapman prepare you for your career? How did your experience prepare you for the real world?
Chapman had a breadth of classes that expanded my knowledge and experience beyond my major. It was this breadth of learning that prepared me for many cultures, conversations and interactions many times over. It took time to understand and appreciate, but a comprehensive and inclusive curriculum assisted in my ability to grow, understand and engage that I could have never anticipated.