Claudia Moran has decided to honor her husband’s memory by creating two Designated Scholar Loans (DSLs) in his name.
Rick Simoncelli loved the arts, both visual and performing, especially music. He began playing piano as a young child, formed a band in high school, and continued to perform throughout his life, playing instruments from the cello to the ukulele. His passion for both the arts and learning never wavered. Rick died in April 2016 at age 64 following a 19-month battle with brain cancer.
Rick grew up in New Eagle, Pennsylvania, a small town south of Pittsburgh where he learned the meaning of hard work by helping at his father’s gas station. With assistance from scholarships and a job in the school cafeteria, Rick attended Allegheny College in Meadville, PA. While Rick began as a psychology major, he ultimately earned a degree in music. He also performed in a dance troupe in college and interned with the Pittsburgh Ballet.
Claudia also attended Allegheny College, studying psychology and art. Rick and Claudia met while volunteering at a nearby school for children with special needs. They married and moved to St. Louis in 1974 so Rick could pursue a doctorate in musicology at Washington University in St. Louis. After his studies, Rick made a lasting impact on the St. Louis community through his leadership positions and innovative programming at Missouri Arts Council, the St. Louis Art Museum, and the St. Louis Public Library Foundation. His nearly 40-year career was marked by significant milestones such as creation of Art in Bloom and the successful renovation of Central Library, yet Rick’s overarching desire was to make these establishments more accessible to all people in the community. He was most proud of bringing school groups to the art museum and helping children access resources through the library’s Homework Helpers program.
Claudia spent 39 years as a graphic designer and partner at Obata Design, with expertise in package design. She now does freelance design work, while also watching her grandsons and traveling. Claudia spent many years volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, and was recently matched as a mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Claudia and Rick never questioned that their two daughters, Jessica and Amelia, would go to college, and both have since earned advanced degrees. Visual and performing arts played a formative role for their family. As a reflection of his life’s work and his personal passions, the Rick Simoncelli DSLs will be awarded to two students in music, visual or performing arts, or culinary arts (as Rick was also an amazing cook and baker).