Nick and Susie Simon make $3 million gift to propel Loyola’s Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship forward
| By Rita Buettner
In 2018, Nick Simon, MBA ’84, and Susie Simon, M.Ed. ’81, made a $1 million gift to help establish Loyola University Maryland’s Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship. Now, the Simons are making an additional $3 million investment in the Center, which will now be named the Nick and Susie Simon Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship in recognition of their support.
“Four years ago, the Simons helped establish an ecosystem around innovation and entrepreneurship on campus,” said Brian M. Oakes, ’99, MBA ’10, interim vice president for advancement. “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. Now, the Simons will take Loyola's commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship to the next level with the endowment of the Simon Center. This 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 biohealth and other areas and promote economic and entrepreneurial success in the state of Maryland. The Simon Center will be able to expand and support the Baltipreneurs Accelerator (a cohort-based venture development program that supports and mentors entrepreneurs within and beyond the Loyola community), as well as youth programs in Baltimore City, and advance and enhance other exciting 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, the 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. Alumni tell us they wish there had been a center like this when they attended Loyola. Thanks to this investment, we will be able to propel the Simon Center forward, deepen our partnerships with the community in ways that will benefit the campus and the city, and offer the opportunity to practice innovation to all incoming students.”
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. “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. But they both feel strongly that investing in the Simon Center offers opportunities for students—and for the broader community."
Over the course of his career, Nick Simon has also seen how the seeds planted in academic settings drive innovation in the greater communities around them.
“We want to help accelerate that process,” he said.
Michael Tangrea, Ph.D., ’96, endowed professor in biology and innovation, sees that this investment will create additional opportunities for the Simon Center—and for 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.”
About the Nick and Susie Simon Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship
The Simon Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Loyola nurtures student innovators through education, hands-on experiences, and creative experimentation. The mission of the Simon Center is to elevate innovation and entrepreneurship on Loyola’s campuses and throughout Baltimore. The important work of the Simon Center will create a lasting impact on the city through support of wealth creation and job creation driven by underrepresented women entrepreneurs and innovators of color.