Alumnus Leonard J. Samia, BSBA ’69, has pledged a $10 million gift to Suffolk University in support of student scholarships—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 will be named the Leonard J. Samia ’69 Academic Center.

The gift will fund scholarships that will provide access to life-changing educational opportunities for students from Massachusetts who have significant financial need.

“Lennie Samia understands firsthand the power of education to lift people up,” said Acting 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.

Samia has been a major contributor to Suffolk University, with a focus on helping Massachusetts students with financial need achieve their educational goals. Through the establishment of the Bert J. Samia Memorial Centennial Scholarship Fund, the Samia family has provided generous support for Suffolk students from Allston-Brighton. The fund was named in honor of Samia’s father. Samia also has made generous gifts in his family’s name that supported construction of seven lobbies in the 20 Somerset academic building.

Samia earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration from Suffolk University; his daughter Olivia graduated from Suffolk in 2012 with a degree in communication and advertising; and daughter Alexandra earned a Suffolk 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.”

The naming of the 20 Somerset building will associate the Samia name with academic excellence and innovation. The building is designed to take advantage of the latest innovations in teaching and learning. Its focus on science and technology, including its labs and active-learning classrooms, prepare students for critically important jobs in growing industries. The building also is a hub for Suffolk’s communication program, with cutting-edge production and editing suites and a state-of-the-art social media lab.

“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.”