Work Ethic Underscores Giving

January 14, 2016 – by Ohio Wesleyan University

Tom and Lorraine Simons visit campus with their daughters Charlotte (far left) and Annalise.

Ask Tom P. Simons ’88 and Lorraine McCann Simons ’90 what defines their giving, and they might say a modest upbringing and hard work ethic.

The Atlanta couple, who met while students at Ohio Wesleyan, have made a $250,000 commitment, which is being matched by an anonymous donor, to establish The Thomas P. Simons ’88 and Lorraine McCann Simons ’90 Endowed Scholarship. The gift will provide scholarship assistance to deserving students in perpetuity.

The scholarship reflects the values the couple learned during their time at OWU. “Ohio Wesleyan cultivated and grew my work ethic,” says Tom, an accounting and economics management major, and native of Pittsburgh, PA. He says his father’s background influenced his own motivations. His father worked in the steel mills when he was young, served in the Korean War, and returned to attend the Carnegie Institute of Technology (later known as Carnegie Mellon University) to study architecture. The elder Simons later established his own successful architectural firm and real estate business. “He was a man of grit,” Simons adds.

Tom worked construction jobs during college summers, saving his money for tuition. He later learned his father had the capacity to cover his and his brothers’ education, but says, “that work made me appreciate the [OWU] experience.” Simons describes his experience as “instructive,” too, for the way it challenged him intellectually.

Lorraine, an English major from Madison, NJ, worked in the library’s audio visual center during her time as an OWU student. “I gained a deeper sense of self from the close-knit community at OWU,” she says. “I loved really getting to know the professors and staff.”

After Lorraine graduated, the couple married and moved to Baltimore, where Tom was a staff accountant for a manufacturing firm. He went on to spend the next 23 years in healthcare administration and operations at a home health and then a nursing home company.

Today, as CFO of PT Solutions, a physical therapy provider with 100 clinics in eight states, Tom handles corporate and strategic development at the company’s Kennesaw, GA, headquarters.

With busy lives that include two daughters–Charlotte, a freshman at Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA, and Annalise, a high school junior at The Galloway School in Atlanta—Tom and Lorraine are also active OWU recruiters, meeting with students and guidance counselors in the greater Atlanta area, and promoting OWU giving among alumni. Tom has served as a class leader for The Ohio Wesleyan Fund, and both are members of the President’s Circle.

It’s no surprise, then, that Tom has hired six OWU business graduates over the years.

“That says a lot about the education we get at OWU,” he says, “and the character that’s built while you’re there.”