James H. Simons and his wife Marilyn H. Simons, graduates of Stony Brook University, on June 1 gifted the New York college with a $500 million donation over seven years from The Simons Foundation.
A legendary investor, Mr. Simons is the retired founder of hedge fund manager Renaissance Technologies LLC, based in New York City, and in East Setauket, N.Y.
The $500 million endowment gift from The Simons Foundation and The Simons Foundation International "is the largest unrestricted donation to an institution of higher education in U.S. history," a university news release said.
The Simons Foundation is focused on "working to enhance the frontiers of research and mathematics and the basic sciences," the news release said, noting that the $500 million gift to the endowment is expected to grow up to $1 billion through "capitalizing on New York State's 1:2 endowment matching program and other philanthropy inspired by this gift," the release said. Mr. Simons served as chairman of the department of mathematics at Stony Brook prior to founding Renaissance Technologies.
He said that Stony Brook "gave me a chance to lead — and so it has been deeply rewarding to watch the university grow and flourish even more. Marilyn and I are proud to support this outstanding public university that has given us so much," according to the press release.
"The tremendous impact of this $500 million unrestricted endowment gift will propel Stony Brook University by providing support for student scholarships, innovative research, development of new academic fields, provision of excellent healthcare and so much more," said Maurie McInnis, the university's president, in an email.