$20 Million Gift from an Alumnus Funds the Louis A. Simpson International Building at Princeton

June 7, 2016

Louis A. Simpson, a 1960 alumnus of Princeton’s Graduate School, and his wife, Kimberly K. Querrey, have given $20 million to fund the Louis A. Simpson International Building. The building, expected to be completed this summer, will be the home of the University’s many international initiatives.

Kimberly K. Querrey and Louis A. Simpson

Princeton attracts students and faculty from around the world, and sends its faculty and students to institutions abroad for research, study, work, and service. These international experiences are made possible with the support of an array of administrative and academic departments currently housed throughout campus. Bringing them together in the Louis A. Simpson International Building will make it easier for undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty members to access the information and resources they need and allow for closer cooperation and synergies among international programs.  

“The Louis A. Simpson International Building will simultaneously strengthen Princeton’s connections to the world and enhance collaborations here on campus,” said President Christopher L. Eisgruber. “Thanks to Lou and Kimberly’s great generosity, this campus has a new focal point for scholars who pursue international research and students who seek international experience.”  

The Louis A. Simpson International Building is located at Washington Road, adjacent to the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the departments of economics, politics, and history. That proximity creates a physical and intellectual link that encourages collaborations among students and faculty from various areas of study.  

The new building will be home to a number of offices and academic units, including:

  • the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, which promotes research, learning, and dialogue on world cultures and issues of global importance;
  • the Kathryn W. and Shelby Cullom Davis ’30 International Center, which provides support for international students and scholars;
  • the Council for International Teaching and Research, which facilitates the efforts of departments, schools, centers, and programs to participate in exchanges of students and scholars with institutions around the world;
  • the Bridge Year Program, which allows a cohort of incoming freshmen to defer their enrollment in order to engage in nine months of public service abroad;
  • the Office of International Programs, which oversees Study Abroad, International Internships, fellowship advising, and Bridge Year; and
  • Princeton in Asia, Princeton in Africa, and Princeton in Latin America, which sponsor post-graduate fellowships.  

“We are very grateful for this extraordinarily generous gift,” said Anastasia Vrachnos ’91, Princeton’s vice provost for international affairs and operations. “Creating a ‘one-stop shop’ for our international programs is a transformative step as Princeton grows our international programs. The Louis A. Simpson International Building will provide seamless access to international opportunities for students and encourage deeper collaboration among international offices.  

“Today’s Princeton students are more globally engaged than ever before, whether they go abroad through Bridge Year before freshman year, participate in study abroad, global seminars, or international internships as undergraduates, or are awarded postgraduate international service or academic fellowships. International experience is becoming a seminal part of a Princeton education, and Mr. Simpson’s gift will enable us to enhance the international scope of Princeton’s research and teaching mission in unparalleled ways.”  

Simpson, the chair of SQ Advisors LLC based in Naples, Florida, earned his master’s degree in economics from Princeton in 1960 and was an economics instructor at the University in 1961-62. He served on the board of the Princeton University Investment Company (PRINCO) from 2007 to 2013. His son, Ted, is a member of Princeton’s Class of 1990.  

“Kimberly and I are delighted to make this gift to Princeton for the International Building. Princeton has been beneficial to me, in my life and career. We would like to give back to benefit future students, scholars, and faculty. The international area is of great importance to us; as the world becomes flatter and flatter, global issues take on more significance in the future of civilization.”  

Simpson was previously the president and chief executive officer of capital operations for GEICO Corporation, the auto insurance company where he had also served as vice chairman of the board, senior vice president, and chief investment officer. Before joining GEICO, he was president and chief executive officer of Western Asset Management, a subsidiary of the Los Angeles-based Western Bancorp, and partner of Stein Roe & Farnham, in Chicago.  

Simpson is a director of Verisign and has been a director of a number of other publicly traded companies, including AT&T, Chesapeake Energy, COHR Inc., Comcast, GEICO, HNC Software, Magma Power, MediaOne, Potomac Electric Power, National Bank of Washington, ResMed, Science Applications International Corporation, Salomon Inc., Thompson BPE, and US West and Western Assets Funds. He is a life trustee of Northwestern University, the Urban Institute in Washington, DC, and the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, as well as former vice chairman of the board of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.  

A 2015 gift from Simpson established the Louis A. Simpson Center for the Study of Macroeconomics in the Department of Economics.  

Rendering of Louis Simpson International Building

About the Building

A major renovation has transformed the former Frick Chemistry Laboratory at 20 Washington Road—for many years a campus landmark at Princeton—into two new buildings—the Louis A. Simpson International Building and a building to house Princeton’s Department of Economics. The renovation celebrates the heritage of the original Collegiate Gothic building, which was constructed in 1929, while changing its organization to create two distinctive buildings with bright, airy interiors and abundant gathering spaces. The entry to the Louis A. Simpson International Building is through a new glass atrium connected with a new bridge to Scudder Plaza. The three-story, light-filled atrium has an indoor café and clerestory windows. The building also contains a “floating” glass-walled conference room suspended above the entrance to the atrium, as well as offices, classrooms, and conference and seminar rooms.  

The renovation was designed by the Toronto-based Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects, a firm renowned for adapting historic buildings for modern uses.