Indiana State University Newsroom

Alumnus to be recognized with honorary degree

November 27, 2013

Indiana State University will recognize alumnus and benefactor Michael Simmons with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree during its upcoming winter commencement.

The 1964 graduate of what was then known as Indiana State College began his career as a biology teacher at Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis and taught data processing at Indiana Vocational Technical College (now Ivy Tech Community College).

After several years of teaching, he went to work for IBM. He later served as a senior executive of American Fletcher National Bank in Indianapolis, Fidelity Investments, Bank of America, Bank of Boston and Security Capital Group. He then formed his own consulting firm and worked with several start-up companies as a board member or advisor.

A member of the Indiana State University Foundation board of directors and a life member of the ISU Alumni Association, Simmons received a Distinguished Alumni Award in 1987 and the Distinguished Service Award in 2008.

A co-founder of the Homecoming weekend Sycamore Tricycle Derby, Simmons served as grand marshal of the 2012 Blue and White Homecoming Parade along with co-founders Tom Bareford and Debbie Hulman Bareford.

Simmons has been a significant donor to Indiana State. The Michael Simmons Student Activity Center is named in his honor due to his generous support of that outdoor facility that serves as the site of trike and tandem races. He also made a large planned gift to the ISU Foundation's March On! Campaign. The gift established a student team activity endowment with a goal of fostering development of leadership, communication and teamwork.

Now retired, Simmons divides his time between Brownsburg and Punta Gorda, Fla. He collects, restores and shows cars from his collection.

Indiana State's winter commencement is scheduled for noon Dec. 14 at Hulman Center with the processional of graduates beginning at 11:45 a.m. Admission is free and tickets are not required. The ceremony will also be streamed live at


Media contact: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or