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2019 Honoree

Simons Foundation President Marilyn Hawrys Simons, BA ’74, PhD ’84

Dr. Marilyn Hawrys Simons is being honored tonight for her life of service funding innovative basic research, improving access to education and advancing leadership opportunities for young women.

In 1994, with husband Jim Simons, Dr. Simons co-founded — and became president of — the Simons Foundation. In the years since its founding, the Simons Foundation rapidly became one of the nation’s leading private funders of basic research, its president a vocal advocate for increased philanthropic involvement in high-risk, high-reward scientific research. Stony Brook University awarded her an honorary doctorate of letters degree in 2008.

Recently, after 25-plus year’s experience actively supporting nonprofit organizations in New York City and State, Dr. Simons was appointed chair of the board of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, a globally renowned U.S. research facility with research programs focusing on cancer, genomics, neuroscience, plant biology and quantitative biology.  In New York City, she continues her involvement in improving K-12 education for underserved communities as a member of the boards of the LearningSpring School, a school for children on the autism spectrum and the East Harlem Scholars Academy.

In 2018, Simons was awarded a doctorate of humane letters by PACE University, recognizing her as a leading science philanthropist and for her work at the LearningSpring School. Together with husband Jim Simons, Marilyn has also been recognized with a Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Double Helix Medal (2008); the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy (“the Nobel Prize of philanthropy” in 2013); an honorary degree from The Rockefeller University (2013); and, most recently, a Chemical and Marketing Economics Leadership Award from the American Chemical Society, New York honoring her for outstanding STEM-related philanthropy (2018).

 At Stony Brook University, Dr. Simons serves as a board member of the Turkana Basin Institute, a research institution that supports scientific projects in the Turkana Basin of Northern Kenya. She is founder and chair of the Stony Brook Women’s Leadership Council, a mentoring program that pairs outstanding female undergraduates with accomplished female alumni and friends of the University.  Dr. Simons has also helped emphasize the importance of health and nutrition by supporting the Walter J. Hawrys Campus Recreation Center named in honor of her late father. She supports the scientists of tomorrow through the Simons Summer Research Fellows and the university’s Undergraduate Research Experience and Creative Activities program.



Marilyn H. Simons '74, PhD '84, Hon. '08
President, Simons Foundation
Dorothy Lichtenstein, Hon. '14
President, Roy Lichtenstein Foundation
Joseph R. Biden
Former Vice President, United States of America 
Glenn Dubin '78, Hon. '12
Founder, Dubin & Co. LP
Eva Andersson-Dubin, MD
Founder, Dubin Breast Center,
Mount Sinai Medical Center
Joe Nathan '97
Major League Baseball Pitcher
Jane Fonda 
Patricia C. Wright
Professor, Anthropology
Founder, Centre ValBio
Alan Alda
Actor, Director, Writer
Visiting Professor, Stony Brook University
Pollock-Krasner Foundation
Ed Harris
Julie Andrews
Emma Walton Hamilton
Author and Professor, Stony Brook Southampton
C.N. Yang, PhD, Hon. '99
Nobel Laureate, Physics, 1957
Professor Emeritus
Shirley Strum Kenny, PhD
President, Stony Brook University
Nancy Rauch Douzinas, PhD
President, Rauch Foundation
Richard Leakey, Hon. '98
Paleoanthropologist and Conservationist
Erwin P. Staller, Hon. '01
CEO, Staller Associates, Inc.
Cary Staller, Esq. 
President, Staller Associates, Inc.
James H. Simons, PhD, Hon. '92
Founder,  Renaissance Technologies
Henry B. Laufer, PhD
Chief Scientist
Renaissance Technologies
Marsha Laufer, PhD
Speech-Language Pathologist (Ret.)
Debra A. Cody
Matthew J. Cody
General Partner (Ret.)
Spears, Leeds & Kellogg
Charles B. Wang, Hon. '15
Co-Founder, CA Technologies, Inc. 
Owner, New York Islanders
Jerome Swartz, PhD
Founder, Symbol Technologies Inc.
Richard L. Gelfond '76, Hon. '04
CEO, IMAX Corporation