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September 19, 2012

Simon School receives nearly $7 million for Campaign initiatives

The Simon School is receiving four major gifts totaling nearly $7 million in support of The Meliora Challenge: The Campaign for the University of Rochester. The gifts will advance strategic initiatives in the areas of scholarship and faculty support, curricular enhancement, and increasing the school’s presence in New York City.

Ronald Fielding ’73 (MA), ’76S (MBA) has pledged $5 million in scholarship support to the Simon School. An active alumnus and generous benefactor, Fielding spent more than 25 years in the municipal bond industry. In 2009, he retired from OppenheimerFunds Inc., where he served as senior vice president and portfolio manager overseeing a municipal bond portfolio in excess of $30 billion. Fielding, a longtime member of the Simon School Executive Advisory Committee and National Council, provides guidance and leadership in strategic initiatives to the dean and senior administrators at Simon, and he is a frequent guest lecturer to students about his experience in the investment markets. “I am happy to share the fruits of my business success with the Simon School, which helped me to bridge economic theory with business realities, giving me the ideal preparation to start and succeed at my own business,” Fielding says.

Daniel Lazarek ’91S (MBA), CFO, COO and co-owner of Access Insurance Holdings Inc., an Atlanta, Ga.–based insurance company, has made a $1 million commitment to support the recently established student-run Simon School Venture Capital Fund. Access has five times been recognized on the Inc. magazine 500/5000 list of fastest growing privately held companies in the United States. Previously, Lazarek spent several years in the telecommunications industry with senior-level positions at Worldport Communications, Citizens Communications, and Frontier Communications. He is a member of the Simon School Executive Advisory Committee and National Council and also provides strategic guidance and capital to early stage companies. “I am proud to give back and help others think about what it takes to succeed in their own businesses and to invest in themselves and their ideas,” Lazarek says. “My gift to ‘jump-start’ and establish the Simon School Venture Capital Fund will provide a vehicle with guidance from experienced and successful entrepreneurs to give Simon students, alums, and all associated an ability for ‘skin in the game’ to guide this pipeline of entrepreneurial pursuits.”

Joseph Abrams ’74S (MBA) and Patricia Abrams are pledging $1 million to the Simon School and the Medical Center. The Simon School will receive $750,000 to establish the Joseph and Patricia Abrams Endowed Fund for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The fund will provide endowed support for either a term professorship or staff/administrative position promoting entrepreneurship or innovation at the Simon School.  The endowment could also support a set of staff positions or a set of endowed junior faculty positions that similarly promote entrepreneurship at Simon. The Abrams are also pledging $250,000 to support the Abrams Family Fund for Myotonic Muscular Dystrophy Research at the Medical Center.  Joseph Abrams is a member of the Simon School’s Executive Advisory Committee and National Council, and serves as cochair of the University’s San Francisco Bay regional campaign. “I am pleased to be able to make this additional commitment to the Simon School and the University,” Abrams says. “Investing in the education of our future leaders is very important, and I hope this gift, in some small way, helps the faculty, administration, students, and alumni continue to flourish.”

James Gleason ’68S (MBA), has committed $150,000 to provide scholarships and faculty support. Gleason is chairman of the board of Gleason Corporation and chairman of the Gleason Foundation. A graduate of the Simon School’s first Executive Development Program (now executive MBA) class, he is a life trustee of the University and a longtime member of the Simon School Executive Advisory Committee. His past leadership gifts to Simon have enabled the construction of James S. Gleason Hall in 2001, providing more than 38,000 square feet of additional space for the school including five classrooms, 15 study rooms, and a significantly expanded Career Management Center, including eight dedicated interview rooms.

“We are very grateful to Ron Fielding, Dan Lazarek, Joe and Pat Abrams, and Jim Gleason for their generosity. Their gifts and commitments have helped Simon surpass $55 million raised toward its goal of $85 million as part of the University’s Meliora Challenge,” says Dean Mark Zupan. “Their support will help us to enhance our programs, attract and retain members of our renowned faculty, and make a Simon education possible for more students. Our ultimate goal is to provide our students with the best possible management education in the years to come.”

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