Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

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Largest ever donation to SIU goes to Law School, which will be renamed

Rusty Bailey
Law School Exterior
John and Jayne Simmons have gifted the SIU School of Law $10 million. (SIU Foundation)

A $10 million dollar gift from alumni John Simmons and his wife Jayne Simmons will be a significant boost to SIU’s School of Law, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Pending approval from the board of trustees, the couple will be honored by changing the name to Simmons Law School.

A blog post by the SIU foundation said the sizable donation, the largest in SUI’s history, will “enhance and expand the educational offerings to students and opportunities for faculty.”

“Fifty years ago, we were founded in the public interest to serve the public good,” said Camille Davidson, dean of the SIU School of Law. “This generous gift empowers us to advance our mission on a larger scale and with an even greater impact.”


Previous gifts from the Simmons include a $10.2 million commitment to the Simmons Cancer Institute at the SIU School of Medicine in Springfield. Their most recent contribution comes as a major step in the ongoing $500 million Imagine SIU 2030 fundraising campaign, the blog post said.

“We are so incredibly excited and inspired by this act of generosity,” Chancellor Austin Lane said. “John and Jayne Simmons are shining examples of the impact individuals can have on our institution and the entire region. Their unwavering support and diligent service speak volumes.”

John Simmons, a native and resident of Alton, is an SIU Edwardsville graduate, member of the SIU Board of Trustees, and chairperson and founder of Simmons Hanly Conroy law firm. 

“The SIU university system has provided me with many opportunities to better my life,” John Simmons said. “A thriving law school will help support others in southern Illinois who are working hard day-to-day to improve their own lives. SIU holds a special place for me. We would really like people to look at Simmons Law School as an attainable place where they are welcome, they belong and they can thrive.”

John Simmons has served two stints on the SIU Board of Trustees, the first from 2004 to 2015, and he was appointed again in 2019 by Gov. J.B. Pritzker. He has previously functioned as the board’s secretary and chairman. He earned his law degree from Southern Methodist University and previously served in the U.S. Army as a combat engineer.




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