Mercersburg Academy Receives $107 Million Donation


MERCERSBURG, Pa. - The announcement of a $107 million donation was met with roaring applause at Mercersburg Academy.

Alumna Deborah Simon, who graduated in 1974, has given what is the second-largest donation to a private secondary school in America. Although she now lives in Indianapolis, she continues to serve on the Academy's board.

"My colleagues, you know, challenged me to do this,” said Simon. “And as I thought it through and met with people, I decided it was the best thing for the school and the best thing for me because I love it here."

The 120-year-old year old prep school with more than 400 students will add this donation to its capital campaign titled, "Daring to Lead." This fund will allow the school to make enrollment more affordable to students who need financial aid.

"Supporting student financial aid, supporting faculty and staff salary and benefits, supporting creative, innovative programs, protecting the beauty of the campus," said Head of Mercersburg Academy Douglas Hale.

Simon says her experiences at the academy were not only memorable, but also rewarding.

"What I really loved was just the personality of the teachers, the campus, acting, writing," said Simon.

She says her late father, developer of Minnesota’s Mall of America and former owner of the Indiana Pacers, serves as her inspiration. She previously gave the school a student center and a theater in honor of her parents. The academy says her latest gift will be just as appreciated.

"A remarkable, remarkable act of generosity from a truly remarkable woman,” said Hale. “And I just can't thank her enough on behalf of the school."

Simon says she hopes her donation will allow the academy will remain a warm and welcoming environment for students.

Simon's donation has allowed the school to raise its fundraising goal to $300 million. They say they need about $100 million more to reach that goal within two years.

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