Loyola University Maryland graduates Nick Simon and Susie Simon made a $3 million donation to the Baltimore school’s Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship that will help support the center’s scholarship and research programs, according to a June 7 news release.
The couple originally made a $1 million donation to the center in 2018. The university announced June 9 that Nick, a 1984 graduate, and Susie, a 1981 graduate, were making the additional donation and that the center would now be named the Nick and Susie Simon Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship in recognition of their support.
In the news release, Brian M. Oakes, interim vice president for advancement, said the Simons helped establish an ecosystem around innovation and entrepreneurship on campus four years ago.”
“Since then, thanks to their initial investment and the leadership of Wendy Bolger, director of the Center, Loyola has made tremendous progress in this area, gaining widespread attention and acclaim for our culture of innovation,” Oakes said. “Now, the Simons will take Loyola’s commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship to the next level with the endowment of the Simon Center.”
Oakes added that the gift will “enhance and extend our already distinctive Loyola education by elevating innovation, fostering entrepreneurship, and transforming lives on campus, in the community and beyond.”
The $3 million gift will make it possible for the Simon Center to contribute to scholarship and research in bio health and other areas and promote economic and entrepreneurial success. The Simon Center will be able to expand and support the Baltipreneurs Accelerator (a cohort-based venture development program that supports and mentors), as well as youth programs in Baltimore City, and advance and enhance other initiatives.
“This gift from Nick and Susie Simon will support the work of the Simon Center in the immediate term, but with an even greater impact over time,” said Bolger, founding director. “So many of our students and faculty have embraced the culture of innovation and are inspired to start new ventures and lead change.”
Nick Simon has 40 years of operating and investment experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, while Susie Simon has spent a number of years as a teacher of children with special needs and teaching ESL (English as a second language) for international medical researchers working in the United States. The couple was married in Loyola’s Alumni Memorial Chapel and has great affection and appreciation for the university.
“Our Loyola educations gave us the tools to help advance our careers,” Nick Simon said in the news release. “Beyond that, I’ve been in the innovation arena for my entire career, starting 40-some odd years ago, where I started in a scientific laboratory and worked my way into the biotech community. I have seen how innovation can lead to new medicines that have had a profound impact on tens of thousands of patients’ lives.”
“Innovation is important in other fields too – especially in areas of education,” Susie Simon said.
Michael Tangrea, endowed professor in biology and innovation, said the investment will create additional opportunities for the Simon Center and Loyola.
“One idea we have been exploring is the future launch of a bio-innovation space on campus that would foster interactions between Loyola students and local biotech startups,” Tangrea said. “Seeing these companies firsthand provides a unique learning experience for students. We are fortunate to have the Simon Center to support these types of concepts and help them become a reality with a lasting impact not only at Loyola, but also on the greater community.”