North­eastern Uni­ver­sity has received a $12 mil­lion gift from one of its alumni, George J. Kostas, E’43, H’07, to build a secure, state-​​of-​​the-​​art home­land secu­rity research facility on the university’s Burlington campus. The gift is the largest for a cap­ital project in Northeastern’s history.

The new George J. Kostas Research Insti­tute for Home­land Secu­rity, a multi-​​story building, will be designed in accor­dance with Depart­ment of Defense stan­dards and will give North­eastern the capacity and clear­ances to con­duct secure research in a restricted envi­ron­ment. Within the building, sen­si­tive, inter­dis­ci­pli­nary research will take place in areas crit­ical to national secu­rity, including cryp­tog­raphy, data secu­rity, infor­ma­tion assur­ance, detec­tion of explo­sives, and energy harvesting.

This gift expresses our grat­i­tude to my alma mater and to those who crafted our demo­c­ratic form of gov­ern­ment,” said Kostas, who chose the Burlington site as the loca­tion for the new facility. “It is our desire to assist in pre­serving our con­sti­tu­tion for the ben­efit of future gen­er­a­tions from ter­ror­ists who have demon­strated their increasing capa­bility to destroy our demo­c­ratic form of government.”

North­eastern has a strong port­folio of research efforts built around secu­rity. In 2008, the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­rity selected North­eastern as one of 11 uni­ver­si­ties nation­wide for a DHS Center in Excel­lence. The $10 mil­lion grant estab­lished the Center for Aware­ness and Local­iza­tion of Explosive-​​Related Threats (ALERT) at North­eastern. Northeastern’s Marine Research Center in Nahant is working on robotic tech­nology to detect under­water mines.

A pio­neer at the fron­tiers of sci­ence and engi­neering, Dr. Kostas has always invested in fields of impor­tance and oppor­tu­nity,” said Pres­i­dent Joseph E. Aoun. “Rec­og­nizing the enor­mous promise of nan­otech­nology, sev­eral years ago he helped North­eastern become a leader in this domain. A pas­sionate patriot, today he is strength­ening our lead­er­ship in national secu­rity research. The Uni­ver­sity, and indeed the nation, are grateful for his entre­pre­neurial spirit and his leadership.”

The research con­ducted by the new Kostas Insti­tute will be part of a federally-​​funded research port­folio of Northeastern’s Col­lege of Engi­neering. The Col­lege of Engi­neering and the Col­lege of Com­puter and Infor­ma­tion Sci­ence also have pro­grams in cyber infra­struc­ture pro­tec­tion and in the wire­less and wired net­works and algo­rithms that form the back­bone of robust com­mand and con­trol systems.

Dr. Kostas is a great patriot who cares deeply about the secu­rity of his country,” said David Luzzi, dean of North­eastern University’s Col­lege of Engi­neering. “His gen­erous gift, which speaks to his con­fi­dence in Northeastern’s Col­lege of Engi­neering, will enable our engi­neers to broaden and deepen their con­tri­bu­tions to national and home­land secu­rity beyond the research funded in our national engi­neering centers.”

Over the past four years, North­eastern has dou­bled the amount of fed­eral funding for its research pro­grams, which focus on three national imper­a­tives; health, secu­rity and sus­tain­ability. The new facility will be an impor­tant asset to existing pro­grams at North­eastern, and it is also expected to bol­ster the university’s capacity to secure new fed­eral invest­ments and cor­po­rate part­ner­ships in the future.

Northeastern’s research has tra­di­tion­ally sup­ported our mil­i­tary estab­lish­ment, the guardian of our form of democ­racy,” added Kostas. “We hope this facility will inspire other uni­ver­si­ties to emu­late North­eastern because we will need the brain power of all cit­i­zens to deal with ter­rorism with min­imum impact on our freedoms.”

Kostas, the son of Greek immi­grants, grad­u­ated from North­eastern Uni­ver­sity with a bachelor’s degree in chem­ical engi­neering in 1943. He is a pio­neer in syn­thetic rubber man­u­fac­turing and founded Techno-​​Economic Ser­vices Co. in 1972. Kostas’s long­standing rela­tion­ship with North­eastern has led to gen­erous sup­port in the past, including a $2 mil­lion gift to found and estab­lish the George J. Kostas Nanoscale Tech­nology and Man­u­fac­turing Research Center. His phil­an­thropy was crit­ical in ele­vating Northeastern’s rep­u­ta­tion as an early leader in the fast-​​growing field of nanoscale man­u­fac­turing, and the center is the university’s focal point for all nan­otech­nology and nanoman­u­fac­turing activities.

Kostas was also instru­mental in facil­i­tating the North­eastern University/​Greece Nan­otech­nology Ini­tia­tive, which part­nered North­eastern with Greek uni­ver­si­ties and research cen­ters. He received the Out­standing Alumnus Awardin 2003 and an Hon­orary Doctor of Sci­ence degree in 2007.