Indiana University Foundation President Emeritus Curt Simic was presented with an IUPUI 50th Anniversary Chancellor’s Medallion on May 6, 2019, at the Cox Scholars graduation ceremony. Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar recognized Simic for the pivotal role he played as president of the IU Foundation, leading the organization through tremendous growth in the number of donors, the amount of contributions, and the size of its endowment, in addition to stewarding transformational gifts such as those that led to the creation of the Cox Scholars Program and the naming of the Kelley School of Business, the Hutton Honors College, and the Jacobs School of Music, among many others.
Simic is recognized as a national leader in fundraising for higher education. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in physical education from IU in 1964, Simic started his career at the university spending seven years in fundraising and programming positions at the IU Foundation. When he left IU in 1971 for positions at various institutions including Yale University and the universities of Tennessee, Alabama, Oregon, and California-Berkeley, he knew he wanted to return to IU and lead the foundation. He did just that in in 1988.
Under his leadership of the IU Foundation from 1988 to 2008, fundraising grew from $70 million a year from 60,000 donors to $270 million from more than 120,000 donors. Since 1990, IU has consistently ranked in the top 2% of colleges and universities in the nation in total voluntary support.
Simic helped found the National Committee for Institutionally Related Foundations, now a part of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), and served on CASE’s National Board of Trustees. In 2010, he received the CASE Lifetime Achievement Award for the significant and lasting impact he’s made on the field of higher education advancement.
As a proud graduate of the IU School of Public Health (then called the School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation), Simic supports students pursuing undergraduate degrees in the Physical Education/Teacher Education program at the school. To honor that commitment, he received the Founding Dean’s Medallion from former Dean Mohammad Torabi. In 2008, Simic received the University Medal, awarded to recognize extraordinary contributions of the very highest order to Indiana University or to humanity at large, and in May 2016, Simic was awarded Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by IU.