Former Faculty Member John Simons Makes
$300,000 Gift to Modern Languages
Article courtesy of the FSU College of Arts and Sciences
Professor John Simons, a faculty member for decades in the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics who died in January 2010, has made a generous gift of approximately $300,000 for student scholarships.
Simons, who began teaching at The Florida State University in 1970, taught German.
“John was my friend for a long time,” said William Cloonan, chair of modern languages and a professor of French. “He was a wonderful, crazy and generous man. When he was alive, he gave an initial gift to the university for students, graduates and undergraduates who were studying German. In his will he left a generous bequest of about $300,000 in all, and once again intended primarily for students. John’s generosity has created a very bright future for German studies at FSU.”
In addition to being a generous man, Simons was a dedicated scholar, Cloonan said.
“Our conversations often dealt with writing,” he says. “For John, scholarship either involved eloquent, clear prose—or it was not worth producing. He took pride not just in what he said, but how he said it. This was particularly welcome for me, because at the time ‘incoherence theory,’ or whatever it was called, was at its height in French studies. It was a pleasant relief to pick up an essay and understand it at first reading. Not that what John wrote was simplistic—far from it. He published in many of his field’s finest journals, but John wrote to be read, not to be deciphered. I learned a lot about writing from reading John’s work.”
The fund is officially called the Ursula and John D. Simons Endowment for German, in honor of Simons and his wife, Ursula, who preceded him in death.