On September 20, 2021, the Simons Foundation celebrated the inauguration of astrophysicist David Spergel as the foundation’s second president. Spergel began his tenure in July when he took the helm from Simons Foundation co-founders Marilyn and Jim Simons, who now co-chair the philanthropy’s board. Marilyn Simons had previously served as the foundation’s president since its formation in 1994.
“As we’ve stepped back from day-to-day operations into our board role, we’re confident in David’s leadership,” Marilyn Simons said at the inauguration. “David shares our belief that math and science are a long-term investment, and that there’s a vast, ever-changing landscape of discovery to be pursued in the years ahead.”
Jim Simons added, “There’s no one better than David to take the reins of our foundation.”
The inauguration ceremony included speeches by Simons Foundation board members Robbert Dijkgraaf and Bill Press, as well as Julianne Dalcanton. Dalcanton recently assumed Spergel’s previous role as director of the Center for Computational Astrophysics at the Simons Foundation’s Flatiron Institute.
The event concluded with a toast on the rooftop of the Flatiron Institute. “By being bold, by taking big steps, by challenging ourselves to ask the questions that have big impact, we can and will do great things,” Spergel said.