Lear Corporation pledges $2.5 million to Wayne State University to create new auditorium at Mike Ilitch School of Business


Wayne State has received a $2.5 million multi-year pledge from Lear Corporation to support the new Mike Ilitch School of Business. In recognition of this gift, the university is pleased to name the auditorium in the building, the Lear Auditorium. The Lear Auditorium is slated to be an iconic educational and presentation space in the new building, featuring leading-edge instructional design and advanced technologies to support live streaming and interactive learning.

“A guiding principle at Lear is the belief that our region’s companies, governments, nonprofits and educational institutions are interconnected,” said Matt Simoncini ’85 B.A., president and CEO of Lear Corporation. “This gift is an investment in our future business leaders, the city of Detroit and the metro region.”

An alumnus of Wayne State, Simoncini remains an active volunteer with the university, serving as chair of the Wayne State University Foundation Board, member of the Pivotal Moments campaign steering committee, as well as a former member of the Mike Ilitch School of Business Board of Visitors.

This gift to Wayne State is the latest example of Lear’s ongoing commitment to Detroit. In 2015, Lear purchased a historic building on State Street in Capitol Park and has since renovated this site to house a world-class Innovation Center.  At this Center, Lear plans to incubate new products and technologies, and to collaborate with the Wayne State College of Engineering to expand its industry-leading vehicle electrical distribution systems and capabilities, into connected car and alternative energy applications.  

Lear also purchased the 50,000-square-foot Hemmeter Building to house employees from the company’s shared services, information technology and administrative operations. Most recently, Lear announced that it is working in partnership with the city, major automakers, the UAW and other automotive suppliers to evaluate the potential for bringing new manufacturing jobs to Detroit.

Lear’s past support of Wayne State includes more than $600,000 over the years to assist business students through various initiatives.

“Lear has shown continued dedication to Wayne State and Detroit, and this gift is another example of that commitment,” said Mike Ilitch School of Business Dean Robert Forsythe. “To educate the next generation of business leaders, we need strong partnerships with companies like Lear who exemplify innovation, community engagement and long-term success.”

Planned features for the auditorium include seating for more than 260 with additional standing room, vehicle loading and staging capacity for automotive events, and state-of-the-art audiovisual and collaboration tools.

“The new Mike Ilitch School of Business is a tremendous new development in Detroit’s business community,” Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson said, “and Lear’s investment will allow us to create a world-class business school auditorium that will witness the achievements of generations of the city’s business students and corporate leaders.”

(September 22, 2016)

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