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STONY BROOK, NY-SUNY Stony Brook received a $60 million donation from financier and former SUNY Stony Brook Mathematics Department chairman Jim Simons and his wife Marilyn Simons. The donation, the largest to any New York State public university, will fund the construction of the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics at Stony Brook’s Long Island campus. It will also support the recruitment of top faculty and students to the center.

The donation brings the total donated to Stony Brook by Jim and Marilyn Simons to nearly $85 million. In addition to Jim’s tenure as chairman of the Mathematics Department from 1968 to 1976, Marilyn Simons received her Ph.D. in economics from the University and is president of the Simons Foundation. After leaving Stony Brook, Simons became a leader in finance. He is president of hedge fund Renaissance Technologies LLC. The fund relies almost exclusively on mathematical modeling to drive recommendations.

Jim Simons says that the “new center will give many of the world’s best mathematicians and physicists the opportunity to work and interact in an environment and an architecture carefully designed to enhance progress. We believe there is a chance that work accomplished at the Center will significantly change and deepen our understanding of the physical universe and of its basic mathematical structure.”

Part of the SUNY system, Stony Brook now encompasses 123 buildings on 1,100 acres, and serves more than 22,000 students with 1,900 faculty members. Brookhaven Town Supervisor Brian Foley says that “this is great news for Stony Brook and the 480,000 residents of Brookhaven Town, and another example of the type of extraordinary public/private partnership the University has forged with the community. Citizens who step up are to be commended.

Foley continues that “the University’s many roles in Town life–its vibrant student community, how it boosts the Town’s economic development efforts, as an employer, its delivery of world-class healthcare from the Medical Center, and of course as an academic institution without peer–add a richness and vibrancy that cannot be measured in dollars alone. Brookhaven is fortunate indeed to count Stony Brook a part of our town.”

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