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Currents--University of Rochester newspaper

University benefactor William Simon dies

William E. Simon

William E. Simon, financial entrepreneur, philanthropist, and former U.S. Treasury secretary, died on June 3 in Santa Barbara, Calif., from pulmonary fibrosis. He was 72.

Simon became the chief benefactor of the University's Graduate School of Management 15 years ago. Citing a shared belief in the entrepreneurial, free-market principles espoused by the business school, he offered not only his name but also an enduring commitment to the success of the institution. He led a $30 million fund-raising campaign to bolster the school's endowment, personally raising $15 million through his own donations and from outside organizations. The school was renamed the William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration on November 6, 1986.

"Since lending his name to the University of Rochester's graduate school of business in November 1986, William E. Simon was a forceful influence on the school's rise in international status and stature," said Simon School Dean Charles Plosser.

"More important, Bill Simon acted as an inspiration to each class of Simon students. He was never happier in his association with the school than when he was meeting with our M.B.A. candidates, discussing their futures, and offering advice based on his incredibly productive career in business and government.

"Bill will be remembered not only as a generous benefactor, but as a role model for his business and humanitarian efforts," Plosser added. "We will pay tribute to him in the coming years by continuing to teach in the school that bears his name the entrepreneurial, free-market principles in which he believed."

"William E. Simon's support for the Simon School took many forms--strong financial support, certainly, but also abiding interest in the educational program and in the progress of the institution," stated President Thomas Jackson. "His extensive contributions to the University--extending beyond the Simon School to the University generally and including his role as a University Trustee--have earned him a deserved and permanent place in the University's history."

Simon began his career in finance in 1952. Over the next 20 years he held high-ranking positions at Union Securities, Weeden and Co., and Salomon Brothers. In 1972, he left private business for government service, becoming "energy czar" for the United States during a period of gasoline shortages and high oil prices. He later served as Treasury secretary during the Nixon and Ford administrations.

Returning to the world of business in 1976, Simon invested in successful leveraged buyouts. By the late 1980s he had amassed a considerable fortune, which he later employed in building a network of financial institutions on the West Coast and the Pacific Rim. In recent years, Simon had devoted more time to philanthropic and charitable endeavors.

Simon's first wife, Carol, for whom Carol G. Simon Hall on the Simon School campus is named, died in 1995. He is survived by his second wife, Tonia Adams Donnelly, whom he married in 1996, and by two sons and five daughters from his first marriage: William Simon, Jr., Peter Simon, Mary Beth Simon Streep, Aimee Simon Bloom, Julie Ann Simon Munro, Carol Leigh Simon Porges, and Johanna Katrina Simon.

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