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Charles Simonyi

Born in Budapest, Hungary, Charles Simonyi earned his B.S. in engineering mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1972, and a doctorate in computer science from Stanford University in 1977.

From 1972 to 1980, Mr. Simonyi worked at Xerox Corporation’s

Photo:  Charles Simonyi

Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), where he created the first WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) text editor called Bravo.Mr. Simonyi left PARC to join Microsoft Corporation, where he held the titles of Director of Application Development, Chief Architect, and, most recently, Distinguished Engineer. While at Microsoft, Mr. Simonyi hired and managed the teams that developed Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and other best-selling software applications.

Mr. Simonyi left Microsoft in August 2002 to found Intentional Software Corporation, a software engineering company with an emphasis on productivity applications, where he is currently President and CEO.

Mr. Simonyi founded the Charles Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences in late 2003 to support arts organizations, science programs, and educational institutions. Major gifts to date include an inaugural gift of $10 million to the Seattle Symphony, a $3 million donation to the Seattle Public Library Foundation in 2004, and the $25 million Karoly Simonyi Memorial Endowment Fund at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, presented in 2005 to honor his late father.

Prior to creating his foundation, Mr. Simonyi endowed the Chair for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University in 1995, and the Charles Simonyi Professorship in Theoretical Physics in 1997, also at the Institute for Advanced Study, among many other educational and charitable contributions. In addition to his own foundation work, Mr. Simonyi has served on the board of trustees of the Institute for Advanced Study since 1997.

As the fifth civilian space flight traveler, Mr. Simonyi’s April 2007 trip to the International Space Station was the latest destination in a life defined by exploration and discovery. Chronicling every step along the way from training to landing on his Web site, www.charlesinspace.com, Mr. Simonyi further advanced his three space mission objectives: to advance civilian space flight, assist in space station research, and involve the world’s youth in the science of space travel.

Mr. Simonyi has been a member of the National Academy of Engineering since 1997, elected for his contributions to “widely used productivity software.” He received an honorary doctorate from Hungary’s University of Pécs in 2001.

Mr. Simonyi is an avid collector of modern art, enjoys classical music, and is an experienced pilot.


“Prior to this program, I had no experience in the field of business consulting. I never realized others could have such a different point of view on every aspect of life. Without this experience, I would have never considered that my business knowledge could help the progression of science technology. It completely changed my outlook.”

- Eszter Major, Alumna, University of Pécs

"Before participating in the Simonyi Center I was unsure where or what I would be working on. My background is in business planning and launching start-up's, so I knew I could provide assistance to both the students and businesses. After participating I am blown away and totally impressed by the student-client interaction, immediate student team bonding and end result presentations of the student projects. It was a heartwarming experience to see such a positive and successful collaboration from so many international perspectives."

- David Pidwell, Alumna, Ohio University & Venture Partner at Alloy Ventures

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