Simons Foundation Co-Founder and Chair Marilyn Simons Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences has elected Marilyn H. Simons, board chair of the Simons Foundation, to its 2024 class of new members.

Membership in the academy is one of the country’s most prestigious honors in the arts and sciences. Established in 1780, the academy aims to advance science, engineering and innovation throughout the world for the benefit of all people. The academy highlighted Simons’ role in scientific, cultural and nonprofit leadership.

“We honor these artists, scholars, scientists and leaders in the public, non-profit and private sectors for their accomplishments and for the curiosity, creativity and courage required to reach new heights,” said American Academy of Arts and Sciences president David Oxtoby in its announcement. “We invite these exceptional individuals to join in the academy’s work to address serious challenges and advance the common good.”

Over her decades-long career as a philanthropic leader, Simons has advocated for increased philanthropic involvement in funding basic science research and improving education for underserved communities.

In 1994, she co-founded the Simons Foundation with her husband, Jim Simons. She led the Simons Foundation as president until October 2021, during which time she actively oversaw its growth into one of the world’s largest private funders of scientific research and a renowned hub for scientific collaboration. As chair of the Simons Foundation’s board of trustees, she continues guiding the foundation in its mission.

Among her many other roles in philanthropic leadership, Simons is the chair of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s board of trustees, a board member of the Turkana Basin Institute, a board member of the LearningSpring School, a board member of the East Harlem Scholars Academies and the founder and chair of Stony Brook Women’s Leadership Council.

Simons received a B.A. and a Ph.D. in economics from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

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