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Simons named Philanthropists of Year at DSU Gala

February 25, 2020

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Darrel and Patti Simon

Darrel and Patti Simon embody servant leadership, said Suzy Collignon-Hodgen, chair of the DSU Foundation Board of Trustees. For that reason, they were named the 2019 Philanthropists of the Year for Dakota State University. She made the announcement at the 2020 Gala held February 21.

The Madison couple has supported Dakota State University and its students for almost 50 years. Darrel serves on the DSU Board of Trustees. Patti has been a student, taking continuing education classes for her teaching certificates; after retiring as a teacher at St. Thomas Catholic School she supervised DSU student teachers. Together they have sponsored scholarships for students, served on the President Jerald Tunheim President's Society, and are active in the Trojan Athletic Club (TAC).

Darrel addressed their reasons for supporting DSU. "We derive a lot of satisfaction in giving our time, talent, and treasures to Dakota State University," said Darrel. He noted the importance of DSU to Madison, and the importance of DSU's cyber and technology degrees to the world. Their overriding factor, however, is the students, those "young men and women who desire to better themselves and the world by seeking further education."

Neither his nor Patti's parents were able to get a college education after living through the hard times of the Great Depression and World War II but were very proud when the couple received their degrees. Many students may not be able to do that without the help of donors, he stated.

The 333 people attending the 2020 Gala surpassed the goal of $150,000, bringing in a total of $165,400 for student scholarships. "Thank you for all you do," Darrel told those at the Gala, "you do make a difference.'

The Philanthropist of the Year award was established in 2006 to acknowledge donors who make significant personal contributions of time, talent, and resources to DSU.

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