John E. Simon, for whom Simon Hall is named, was a St. Louis investor and philanthropist. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1896, Mr. Simon attended Smith Academy in St. Louis. After serving during World War I and graduating from Harvard University in 1918, Mr. Simon joined the firm of I.M. Simon & Company in St. Louis in 1919. Founded in 1874 by his great uncle, the firm is believed to have been the third oldest New York Stock Exchange member firm and the oldest continuous member firm west of the Mississippi River.
Mr. Simon became a partner in 1925 and guided the firm through the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the Depression, and World War II. The firm helped form and finance many national and local companies, including Delta Airlines, Litton Industries, and McDonnell Douglas Corp.
Simon directed the firm as General Partner for nearly 50 years and remained active in the firm as a Limited Partner for many years after that. Simon & Co. merged with R. Rowland & Co. in 1988, and the firm was acquired by Stifel Nicolaus & Co. in 1989.
Click on image above to watch the video of Dean Emeritus Bob Virgil talking about his friend John Simon.
In April 1984, a reception in honor of Mr. and Mrs. John E. Simon was held to announce the naming of the new business school building under construction. It would be named John E. Simon Hall thanks to their generous gift to support the school.