The Simons Effect: Gift Challenge Met Within 12 Months

To Students, Faculty and Staff,

Stony Brook University has long been known for – and takes great pride in – providing opportunities for gifted, high achieving students who need access to a quality, affordable, public higher education experience. This mission has served Stony Brook and its students well and has resulted in the graduation of many successful alumni who have made significant contributions to humankind – worldwide – which truly speaks to the value of a Stony Brook degree.

Today I can report with great conviction that the value of a Stony Brook degree is getting better every day. And we have many to thank for that, starting with the former Chairman of the Department of Mathematics, Jim Simons; Stony Brook alumna Marilyn Simons (’74, ’84); and, the Simons Foundation.

Just over one year ago, Jim and Marilyn Simons and the Simons Foundation announced an unprecedented investment in Stony Brook. At the same time, they endeavored to inspire others to invest as well by setting up a dollar for dollar matching gift challenge that would double the impact of new gifts and bring the total impact of their gift to $200 million.

The Stony Brook Foundation estimated it would take three to five years to raise donations needed to match the Simons’ challenge. I am happy to announce today that true to what we now call “The Simons Effect” at Stony Brook, and with diligence and the tremendous efforts of Dexter Bailey, Vice President for University Advancement and his team, that goal was met and surpassed within just 12 months.

The collective gifts – involving more than 1,500 donors – is the largest in the University’s 57-year history, and is the sixth largest donation ever made to an American public university, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Designed to transform the University’s future through a wide range of educational and research endeavors, the Simons gift has already generated a record number of scholarships, fellowships, endowed chairs and professorships. It has benefited dozens of strategic initiatives across campus, from the arts to marine sciences, from chemistry to medicine, from advanced computing to Hellenic studies, to name a few.

We are honored and overwhelmed by the response to the Simons Foundation challenge from friends, faculty, staff and alumni. Their generous investments in Stony Brook are a tangible expression of their commitment to public higher education and the important work we do here. And, of course it’s the kind of historic outpouring that could only be inspired by Jim and Marilyn, who have dedicated so much to philanthropy, especially that which furthers the boundaries of knowledge and science.

I invite you to go to the Simons Effect website to learn more about our generous donors and some of the many initiatives that will be advanced through The Simons Effect.

In closing, let me just say that we should celebrate this historic moment at Stony Brook, and also remind ourselves that it will take continued collaboration and commitment to philanthropy to give us that margin of excellence consistent with all great research universities. It is an effort that is not only helping bolster our University in the present, but one that will have many positive impacts for generations to come.

Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD