John Gerald Simon


Honorary Degree (1989)
Doctor of Laws
Location: Indianapolis
Presenter: Thomas Ehrlich


John Gerald Simon, Augustus Lines Professor of Law and deputy dean of the Yale University Law School, is a pioneer in the academic study of philanthropy. His innovative work has stimulated research in fields ranging from history to economics, and he has been a force in promoting interest in a broad spectrum of
disciplines relating to charitable giving.

As founding director of the Yale Program on Nonprofit Organizations, he established the first center for systematic research into the theory and practice of philanthropy, and he is a leader in the development of other organizations in the field. He has served as a member of the advisory boards of centers of philanthropic study at Duke University, City College, Case Western Reserve, and New York University, and is an organizing member of the board of the Indiana University Center of Philanthropy. He has served also as president of the Taconic Foundation; as a trustee of the Potomac Institute and The Foundation Center; as a member of the Governing Council of the Rockefeller Archives Center; and as founding chairman and current vice chairman of the Cooperative Assistance Fund.

Professor Simon received the A.B. from Harvard College in 1950 and the LL.B. from Yale University in 1953. Before joining the faculty of the Yale Law School in 1962, he served as assistant to the General Counsel of the Department of the Army and as attorney with the firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. He was appointed Augustus Lines Professor of Law at Yale in 1976 and has served as deputy dean of the Law School since 1985. Yale University's Program on Nonprofit Organizations, which John Simon founded, was for many years the only university-based interdisciplinary center devoted to research on the nonprofit sector. Under his leadership, research carried out through the program served to define and delineate, as an area for academic inquiry, the voluntary sector and its relations to the larger society. In addition, Professor Simon has contributed significantly to the understanding of philanthropy through his study of ethical issues relating to investment, tax and inheritance law, education law, and the law as it pertains to the classification, regulation, and conduct of nonprofit organizations. His publications include works that have become classics in their field, such as The Ethical Investor (with C. W. Powers and J.P. Gunnemann), "Foundations and Public Controversv," "Charity and Dynasty Under the Federal Tax System," and "The Tax Treatment of Nonprofit Organizations."

John Simon's distinguished research in the field of philanthropy has resulted in outstanding contributions toward a clearer understanding of the deepest values at work in democratic societies. In his extensive service to institutions and organizations in the nonprofit and voluntary sector, he has contributed also to social change and humanitarian advancement.