Indiana State University Newsroom

Indiana State mourns the loss of the Trike co-founder

February 8, 2017

The Indiana State University community is mourning the loss of alumnus Michael Simmons, '64, who died on Tuesday, Feb. 7 in Florida. He was 77.

"Michael Simmons was an tiring advocate for Indiana State University, the students and the traditions. He shared everything with us - time, treasure and talent," said President Dan Bradley.

During his time as a student, Simmons immersed himself in campus life while majoring in life sciences. Simmons was a proud member of Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity. He co-founded the Sycamore Tricycle Derby in October 1963 with his good friends, Tom, '64, and Debbie Bareford, '64, GR '67, as a way to keep students on campus during the weekend. The "Trike" race was nurtured by a cadre of students and staff in the '70s and '80s before growing into the Homecoming tradition it is today.

Simmons' passion for the continuation of Trike inspired him to provide the lead gift for a multipurpose building and facilities at Recreation East. During the 2005 Homecoming weekend, the Michael Simmons Student Activity Center was dedicated.

Following graduation, he taught for several years at Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis. He left his teaching career and worked for IBM for 13 years. He enjoyed an extensive and successful business career, as he was a senior executive officer for American Fletcher National Bank in Indianapolis, Fidelity Investments Systems Company in Boston, Bank of American in San Francisco, Bank of Boston in Boston and Security Capital Group. He then formed his own consulting firm and worked with several start-up companies as a board member or an advisor. Simmons served on the ISU Foundation Board of Directors and received several honors - Indiana State honorary doctorate, 1865 Society member, Indiana State Distinguished Service Award, a lifetime member of the Alumni Association Blue Card Club and an honorary doctorate from Marian University. After retiring, he divided his time between Brownsburg, Ind., and Punta Gorda, Fla. During a recent visit to Florida to attend alumni events, President Dan and Cheri Bradley enjoyed a breakfast meeting with Simmons on Jan. 21. "He leaves a wonderful legacy of support for his university. He will be sorely missed by his friends and long remembered for his contributions to the university," Bradley said.

Simmons setup an ISU Foundation fund in 2013 to provide substantial support for student activities like the Trike Race and the Blue and White Homecoming Parade for decades to come. Memorial contributions may be made to the Michael Simmons Student Activity Endowment.



Photo: Michael Simmons rides around the Recreation East track in the pace lap of Trike in 2012.

Photo: Michael Simmons is a 1964 graduate of Indiana State University.

Photo: Alumni Tom Bareford, Debbie Bareford, Michael Simmons and President Dan Bradley pose in Victory Lane prior to the 2012 Trike race during Homecoming.