Simon Alumni: An Everlasting Legacy

By: Robyn Winstanley

As a new member of the Simon School Admissions Office, my first quest as a part of the recruitment team involved traveling to Tokyo, Japan; Taipei, Taiwan; and Seoul, Korea. The Simon School boasts a wonderfully diverse population of students that span the entire world. I am fortunate that I was able to travel to Asia to meet many candidates interested in the MBA and specialized MS programs that the Simon School offers.

At each recruitment event I attended, I was joined by two alumni from the Simon School that currently live in the area that I was visiting. I was astounded by the generosity and warmth of the alumni as each greeted me as if we were friends from long ago. The alumni I met went out of their way to assist me at each event and share with prospective students about the strong sense of community at the Simon School. I was able to learn each unique story and background of those who had once sat in the classrooms of Simon. I even had the opportunity to share a traditional Japanese meal with 18 alumni while I was visiting Tokyo! As I interacted with the alumni, it quickly became very apparent that the 11,000+ individuals in the alumni network at the Simon School are extraordinarily strong. As I returned to Rochester, I boasted to my colleagues about how wonderful it was to meet Simon School alumni that were not only successful, but who were such giving and warm-hearted individuals.

As the 10th year anniversary of September 11th recently occurred, it was a time to reflect upon and remember the lives of two Simon alumni that passed away on that day:  Jeffrey R. Smith ’87, ’88S (MBA) and Zhe (Zack) Zeng ’95, ’98S (MBA). Each alumni of the Simon School leaves an everlasting footprint – Jeffrey and Zack are certainly no exception. Prior to the opening of the 9/11 memorial in New York City, the Dean of the Simon School, Mark Zupan, reminded students, faculty, and staff of the legacy of Jeffrey and Zack; they will not be forgotten. Two current Simon students were fortunate to attend the opening of the 9/11 memorial, where they found the beautifully engraved names of our two heroes. Coincidentally, Madeline and Buzz Smith, parents of Jeffrey Smith, were standing at Jeff’s name and celebrating his life by lighting a candle. Our students shared with the Smith family how the entire Simon community was keeping the legacy of Jeff and Zack alive. I was touched when Dean Zupan passed this story on to the members of the Simon School – it is a true testament of the power of our alumni network. How will you leave your legacy?

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