Preserving the past and looking toward the future

Stanley Simbonis ’53, ’57 M.D. is the epitome of a Yale scholar. With interests spanning zoology, music, baseball, pathology, international relations, and Greek language and culture, it is no surprise that Dr. Simbonis, son of Greek immigrants, is a lifelong learner. Whether it is Athens’ Gennadius Library at the American School of Classical Studies, or Yale’s Cushing/Whitney Medical Library, you will find Dr. Simbonis there, immersed in his studies, when he isn’t traveling the globe. His youthful and energetic mindset and countless interests belie his age of 85.

It was the public library on Washington Avenue near his childhood home in the Bronx that helped develop young Stan’s intellectual curiosity and enduring appreciation of libraries. Later, he ventured to the library at Fordham University, where a chemistry professor allowed him to sit in on classes. After two years at The Bronx High School of Science, he entered the Marine Corps, served in World War ii, and earned his high school equivalency diploma. He pursued his dreams of becoming a center fielder for the Yankees and then a Broadway musician, before eventually entering Yale College in 1950. He graduated in three years, and was accepted to Yale School of Medicine.

Dr. Simbonis spent his medical career as a laboratory pathologist. He claims that his teaching was his greatest contribution to the discipline. “I hope I was able to convey to students how to examine slides and specimens, and then think fiercely about how to synthesize the material at hand to arrive at reasonable conclusions,” he recalled. “My challenge to my students wasn’t an easy task but it was worth their effort.”

His devotion to the medical library at Yale includes many years on its advisory board. In 2010, the board voted him emeriti status. The Stanley Simbonis Conference Room in the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library was dedicated this year in recognition of his ardent service.

“The library is the heart and soul of the university,” said Simbonis, “It’s the crown jewel. How can you do without it? It’s been a storehouse of knowledge throughout the ages.”

Over the years, he has made several generous gifts which will ultimately provide funds for his beloved library. One significant gift was his donation of the remainder interest in his summer home on Fire Island. He retains life use of the property, and continues to pay all maintenance and insurance costs. Eventually, the proceeds from the sale of his home will come to Yale to support the medical library.

More recently, Dr. Simbonis established a Yale charitable gift annuity. Pleased with the attractive annuity rate and tax advantages from his first gift annuity, Dr. Simbonis created a second gift annuity, also designated for the library. In addition to sec-ure lifetime payments, his charitable gift annuities o≠er other benefits including substantial charitable income tax deductions and partially tax-free payments. He comments, “It is a good deal for me financially. I was able to include the name of the library in the agreement so I know my funds will go where I have designated.”

With his gifts to the Yale Medical Library, Dr. Simbonis is not only paying homage to one of his favorite places, he is preserving the lifeblood of the university and the research for which it is recognized.