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Alumnus Simon pledges $5 million to Columbia biz school

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David Simon, CEO of Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group Inc., has pledged a $5 million gift to alma mater Columbia Business School in New York City.

Simon’s donation will be used to support the construction of the school’s new facilities in Manhattanville, just north of Columbia University’s Morningside Heights campus, according to the school. The buildings will encompass more than 450,000 square feet.

“Columbia Business School played an integral role in helping me become an effective chief executive officer,” Simon said in a prepared release. “The new facilities in Manhattanville offer exciting opportunities for Columbia to continue to shape the next generation of business leaders.”

Simon graduated in 1985. He currently is a member of the school’s Board of Overseers, as well as its Campaign Executive Committee.

Simon joined the family retail-development firm in the early 1990s after a stint on Wall Street. Since its December 1993 IPO, Simon Property Group has racked up a total return of 1,917 percent, compared with 435 percent for the S&P 500 during the same span, according to data provided by Kirr Marbach & Co.

Simon Property Group is now the largest real estate company in the world and has a stock market value of $59 billion, making it the largest public company in Indiana.

David Simon collected compensation of $17.2 million in 2012, according to federal securities filings.

The gift is another in a spate of gifts from the children of the late mall magnate Melvin Simon. Deborah Simon is giving $100 million to a Pennsylvania prep school, and Cynthia Simon Skjodt pledged $1.5 million to the IU School of Philanthropy.

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