Leonard J. Samia

Leonard J. Samia, BSBA '69

Alumnus Leonard "Lennie" Samia has pledged a $10 million gift to Suffolk University founding the Bert J. Samia Scholars Program, in memory of his father, to provide critically needed scholarship assistance to current and future Suffolk University students. It is the largest single alumni gift in the University’s history and one that will provide access to a Suffolk education for hundreds of promising students.
In recognition of this gift, the University’s newest academic building at 20 Somerset Street was named the Leonard J. Samia Academic Center.

“Lennie Samia understands firsthand the power of education to lift people up,” said President Marisa Kelly. “This truly transformational gift will open doors and create new pathways to success for generations of Suffolk students to come. It will expand access to a Suffolk education for many promising students with the greatest need. We are so grateful to Lennie and his family for this extraordinarily generous gift, which will permanently link the Samia family to the success of highly capable Suffolk students for years to come.”

Samia is president and CEO of The Samia Companies, a family-owned residential and commercial real estate company. His philanthropy extends within his company through financial aid for the educational pursuits of many of his employees and their families. He started his career as a schoolteacher before achieving the highest levels of success in the real estate industry.

Commitment to the Suffolk Community

Samia earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration from Suffolk University, graduating in 1969. In addition to his own experience at Suffolk University, his daughters would also go on to graduate from Suffolk—Olivia earned her degree in communication and advertising in 2012, and Alexandra completed her master’s degree in business administration in 2011.

“Suffolk University has made an enormous difference in my life,” Samia said. “I would not be where I am today without my Suffolk education, and I am committed to making similar opportunities possible for others.”

“Lennie Samia truly exemplifies the Suffolk story,” said Bob Lamb, chair of Suffolk’s Board of Trustees. “In his success, Lennie has never lost touch with his roots. This University was founded on the idea of paying it forward by creating educational opportunity for others. This transformative gift is an extraordinary example of that ethic. It will make an immeasurably positive difference in the lives of deserving students. We are so very appreciative of Lennie and his passion for Suffolk University and our students’ futures.”

Building the Future—The Leonard J. Samia Academic Center

Located at 20 Somerset Street, Suffolk University's flagship academic building is on the historic Boston site of the former Metropolitan District Commission headquarters. It features team-based learning environments, specialized science classrooms, media production and editing suites, and more. The building was designed to provide students with a learning environment that connects them more closely with faculty and peers for a collaborative and interactive approach to scholarship. It also puts an increased emphasis on instruction in the sciences, in line with the University’s focus on preparing graduates for careers in the Massachusetts life sciences industry. The building earned LEED Silver certification due to the attention to sustainable design, construction and operation as a green building.

20 Somerset Street was named the Leonard J. Samia Academic Center on April 12, 2019, dedicated to recognize the transformational philanthropic leadership of Lennie, and his enduring impact on generations of Suffolk students.

Samia Academic Center opening ceremony.

Leonard J. Samia Tribute

00:00 [Music]

00:11 Suffolk that's played an important part

00:13 in my life great professors taught me

00:18 all about the business world I used what

00:21 I learned and started the same--you

00:22 companies with a $500 investment

00:26 Leonard J Samia has built a deep

00:29 connection to the Suffolk University

00:30 community it is a connection built on

00:33 his years as a student at the Sawyer

00:35 Business School studying under inspiring

00:38 faculty like accounting professor

00:40 Stanley Dennis it has been built with

00:43 his wife LeAnn and their children

00:45 Alexandra Olivia and Derek who he

00:48 encouraged to follow in his footsteps at

00:50 Suffolk and it is built through his

00:53 involvement as an alumnus who graduated

00:55 fifty years ago this may this connection

00:59 is one that he and his family continue

01:01 to nurture by sharing his remarkable

01:03 legacy of hard work success and

01:06 generosity Lennie Samia is driven and he

01:11 is generous and that is why we are here

01:14 today he has taken his success and used

01:19 it to give back to others to give back

01:21 to Suffolk University and our students

01:23 and I am incredibly incredibly grateful

01:26 for his engagement with this University

01:30 Lenny is very loyal to Suffolk

01:32 University and he gives back and his

01:34 back a lot years ago

01:37 Lenny recognized that students potential

01:39 often requires Aid and he responded by

01:42 endow a scholarship fund always generous

01:46 in January 2018

01:48 he committed ten million dollars to

01:50 establish the birthday Samia Scholars

01:53 program in memory of his father to

01:55 support Suffolk students now and for

01:58 generations to come

02:00 see me a scholarship means so much to me

02:02 this scholarship has allowed me to come

02:04 here it's helped me a lot and I'd like

02:07 to thank you mr. Samia for helping me

02:09 and other students get to college

02:11 without the support and the help of the

02:14 same scholarship I probably wouldn't

02:17 have been able to attend Suffolk

02:18 University with it it's made me have

02:20 such a great experience and so this

02:22 scholarship is the reason why I'm here

02:25 Lenney has made a commitment to future

02:28 students to these two students being

02:30 able to come here and have journeys of

02:33 learning and education and life

02:35 experiences like he has had it's been an

02:38 amazing amazing gift Lennie Samia

02:42 understood the possibilities for suffix

02:45 growth as the university constructed a

02:47 new academic building at 20 somerset

02:49 street and he became this landmark

02:51 projects most generous individual donor

02:54 the best location you got the courthouse

02:57 right next to you at the State House up

02:58 the street you get the McCormack

02:59 building gig at the federal quarters and

03:01 I mean it's a great location for the

03:03 students it's a big I remember the first

03:05 time walking into this building and I

03:06 went wow it's very open and I think one

03:09 of the big things it reminds me

03:11 campus stands beyond just a physical

03:13 contest looking out the window you can

03:15 see some of the companies that our

03:17 students do the internships and MGH is

03:18 not very far for me a lot of my students

03:20 are doing rotations there we have this

03:22 great views of the city and how

03:24 fortunate we are to be in this space in

03:27 Boston the future of Suffolk is

03:29 definitely reflected in this building

03:31 it's bringing everybody together in one

03:32 space it's bring us closer to the

03:34 business school it's really a more

03:39 thoughtful approach to how we're doing

03:40 things this building is a core academic

03:46 building it sits in the center of our

03:48 campus in the center of this vibrant

03:50 city and the courses that are taught

03:53 here are courses that represent a range

03:57 of disciplines and represent our

03:59 educational model Lennie's 10 million

04:02 dollar contribution made Suffolk history

04:05 as the largest single alumni gift

04:07 the university has ever received

04:10 probably the kind of support that we've

04:12 received from many semia was a long way

04:14 towards making the dreams of a lot of

04:16 these students possible we have students

04:18 who are juggling a lot in clinic they're

04:20 in classes they might be working nights

04:21 and weekends Lennie's gift sends a

04:24 strong message to our entire community

04:26 that Suffolk remains focused on students

04:29 focused on giving access and opportunity

04:32 to students who otherwise would not have

04:34 had those opportunities the impression

04:37 Lenny Samiha has made on this university

04:39 is a lasting one and it is fitting that

04:42 a place where students come together to

04:44 realize their potential will now bear

04:47 the name of a benefactor who recognizes

04:49 that potential and helps nurture it to

04:51 fruition the entire Suffolk University

04:54 community is grateful for Lenny's

04:57 transformational philanthropy it is with

05:00 great pleasure that today we name xx

05:03 Somerset the Leonard J Samia academic

05:06 center Thank You mr. say Mia for

05:09 absolutely everything a big shout-out to

05:12 you Mr. Samia Thank You Lenny thank

05:15 you your gift is amazing

05:18 it's generous it makes a difference

05:20 Lenny thank you

05:34 you

05:36 [Music]

Academic Center Dedication Day

A History of Giving and Involvement