Montecito neighbors Harold and Annette Simmons, whose primary residence is in Dallas, Texas, have given $1 million to Bright Hope for Tomorrow, Westmont’s campaign that provides funding for Adams Center for the Visual Arts, Winter Hall for Science and Mathematics, athletic fields, a new observatory and improvements required under the master plan.
“Westmont is a wonderful asset to our community, and the college does an excellent job preparing students to make a positive difference in the world,” the Simmons said.
In 2007, the Simmons gave $1 million toward funding the R. Anthony Askew Chair in Art and for student scholarships.
“Pam and I are delighted to know Harold and Annette Simmons,” says President Gayle D. Beebe. “We forged a special bond during the Tea Fire and remain so grateful for their presence in our community. They are two of the most gracious people you could ever meet and have done so much to advance the mission of Westmont. We are deeply grateful for their generosity.”
Momentum continues to build for the Bright Hope for Tomorrow campaign, which Westmont launched in April with an inspiring evening in Santa Barbara and the exciting announcement of a $5 million pledge from Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree. Since April, Westmont has raised $8 million dollars and gained many new donors to the campaign. To date, the college has completed $70 million of the $102 million goal, leaving $32 million to raise.
Mr. Simmons, one of the few self-made American billionaires, is the middle son of rural schoolteachers. He graduated from the University of Texas Austin in 1952 with a master’s degree in economics and a Phi Beta Kappa key. He has prospered as a brilliant and creative financier and now controls numerous companies, including five corporations listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Mrs. Simmons, born in Tyler, Texas, is a graduate of Southern Methodist University with a degree in education. The Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education Building was recently completed at SMU. Mrs. Simmons is on the Boards of Dallas Women’s Foundation, Parkland Memorial Hospital, Baylor Hospital and the Crystal Charity Ball, which benefits children and many other organizations in the Dallas area.
The Simmons’ recent philanthropic gifts have benefitted the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa, Dallas Zoo, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Mercy Ships, Buckner Orphanage and many charities in the Santa Barbara area since they purchased their home here in 1982.