Mercersburg Academy Announces 2020 Class of ’32 Award Recipients
The Class of ’32 Distinguished Alumnus Award is Mercersburg’s highest honor, presented annually to an alum who has most distinguished himself or herself through character, service, and achievement. This year the school will recognize Deborah J. Simon ’74 and Paul C. Mellott Jr. ’70.
Deborah J. Simon ’74 is chair of the Simon Youth Foundation, whose mission is to foster alternative educational and mentoring opportunities, and serves on the boards of the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, the Youth Renewal Fund, the Indianapolis Zoo, the Indiana Museum of Art, the Herron School of Art at Indiana University, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Foundation, and The Juilliard School. She is past chair of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and former senior vice president of Simon Property Group, one of the largest real-estate companies in the world.
At Mercersburg, Simon participated in Stony Batter Players, the Chorale, and The Mercersburg News. She was a member of the Fifteen, served as a dormitory prefect, and was a declaimer for the Irving Society.
Simon served as a member of the Board of Regents from 1992 to 1994 and was re-elected in 2000. She has served as president of Mercersburg Academy’s Board of Regents since 2017. Simon received the Alumni Council Service Award in 2009 and was co-chair of the Daring to Lead Campaign (which raised more than $300 million).
“Debbie’s genuine love for the school comes through so loudly because of how it genuinely impacted her. She finds so much joy in giving back to the school,” says Board of Regents President Emerita Denise Dupré ’76. “She has, every step of the way in her tenure on the Board, been an advocate for making the school a better place, and she steps up to the plate with her ideas, wisdom, and incredible generosity. Debbie doesn’t just talk the talk, she walks the walk, and it’s often at a prodigious pace—so you’d better be ready to go fast if you’re going to be on her team.”
Her great love for her alma mater was fervently displayed in the fall of 2013 with the announcement of a $100 million lead gift to Mercersburg’s Daring to Lead Campaign. At the time, her gift was the second-largest gift ever made to an independent school in the U.S. The Burgin Center for the Arts’ Simon Theatre, the Simon Student Center, and the Prentiss Center for Alumni and Parents at North Cottage are among the visible results of Simon’s generous support of Mercersburg. Her gift is being used to broaden tuition assistance toward the school’s goal of access and affordability, while also enhancing programming and assisting faculty with advanced education, sabbaticals, and other benefits. She has been a leadership donor with 39 consecutive years of giving to the Annual Fund, and is a member of the McDowell Society and Marshall and Irving Alliance. Simon has also established more than a dozen endowed funds, supporting nearly every facet of the Mercersburg community.
Simon, a graduate of the University of Southern California, lives in Carmel, Indiana. She enjoys traveling and divides her time between philanthropic interests and investment work.
Paul C. Mellott Jr. ’70 is chairman of Mellott Company, a three-generation family company supporting customers in aggregate, slag, construction, and environmental industries in Warfordsburg, Pennsylvania. Mellott joined the company in 1974.
Mellott graduated from Mercersburg in 1970 and received a bachelor’s degree in business from Boston University in 1974. During his tenure at Mercersburg, he was a member of the French Club, played basketball and golf, and served as a Blue Key, Chapel Usher, proctor, and president of the Irving Society.
“Paul has been a lifelong supporter of Mercersburg,” says Regent Emerita Gail Reeder and her husband Jeff P ’97, ’00. “Among his classmates and in his community he is a proud advocate for the school, promoting it to anyone who will listen. He is a respected leader in his industry and his community. It is an honor to call Paul a friend.”
Mellott Company turns 100 years old in 2020 and has become a respected industry leader in its core competency, which is crushing stone. The company has expanded into the fields of distribution of new and used crushing and screening equipment, engineering, systems, parts, and service.
Mellott served from 1991 to 2018 on the National Stone Sand and Gravel Association Executive Committee, including a term as chairman of the board. He was chairman for 21 years of ROCKPAC, one of the top 20 political action committees in the U.S. In recognition for building the industry’s influence on Capitol Hill, NSSGA created the annual Paul C. Mellott Award for Political Excellence. The NSSGA named Mellott the 2006 recipient of the Barry K. Wendt Memorial Commitment Award for his dedication to the aggregate industry. In 2011, Mellott was named AggMan of the Year as the executive that has made a profound and lasting impact in the industry.
Mellott has served on the boards of many professional and community organizations, including the Community Foundation of Washington County, Penn-Mar Development Company, and the Hagerstown Trust Company.
He has been a leader at Mercersburg, having served as a class agent for 45 years, a William Mann Irvine Society Annual Fund chair, a Mightily Onward Campaign capital gift solicitor, and a Daring to Lead Campaign host committee member. Mellott is a leadership donor with 39 consecutive years of giving to the Annual Fund, and is a member of the Via Lucis Society and the Marshall and Irving Alliance. In 2015, he established the Mellott Brothers Scholarship Fund with his brothers, Herm ’72 and Brian ’75. Mellott is serving as co-chair of the Class of 1970’s 50th Reunion Committee.
Mellott focuses his local philanthropy on education initiatives for youth. In 1993, his company adopted Southern Fulton Junior/Senior High School, and developed a program which included the following: autumn field trip to the Mellott Company campus, a campus tour, teaching the students about the five Mellott Company values, partnering with seniors to pattern their projects on one of the five values, awarding five scholarships to the best project presentations, and conducting spring mock job interviews. In 2015, his company established Mellott University, which is a nine-month program for students who are interested in a career in the aggregate industry.