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.