Ruth Simmons Officially Named the 8th President of Prairie View A&M University
Style Magazine Newswire | 12/5/2017, 10 a.m.
Prairie View, TX — The Board of Regents of the Texas A&M University System unanimously voted Monday to name Dr. Ruth J. Simmons, a nationally recognized leader in higher education, as the 8th president of Prairie View A&M University. Simmons will assume the presidency of Texas’ second oldest public institution becoming the first woman to lead the university in its 140-year history.
Simmons, a Houston native who served as president of Brown University from 2001 to 2012, had been the interim president at Prairie View A&M University since June. Since retiring from Brown, Dr. Simmons had turned down offers to lead other institutions of higher education, but Prairie View A&M University appealed to her because of its history, significance, and mission. Also, her brother attended the university.
Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp said he is pleased to see such a high-caliber scholar and gifted administrator leading the Prairie View campus.
“The Texas A&M University System and Prairie View A&M University are lucky to call Dr. Simmons president of Prairie View A&M,” Chancellor Sharp said. “With administrative experience at a top Ivy League university, a women’s university and a historically black college, Dr. Simmons brings a unique perspective to Prairie View A&M University.”
One of Simmons’ stated goals is to improve the representation of African-Americans in STEM fields.
Simmons taught French and Africana Studies at Brown. She holds a Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures at Harvard, and has also served in various faculty and administrative roles at the University of Southern California, Princeton University, and Spelman College. Additionally, she was president of Smith College, the largest women’s college in the United States. At Smith, she launched a number of important academic initiatives, including an engineering program, the first at an American women’s college.
Simmons is the recipient of many honors, including a Fulbright Fellowship to France, the 2001 President’s Award from the United Negro College Fund, the 2002 Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal, the 2004 Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Medal, the Foreign Policy Association Medal, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and the Centennial Medal from Harvard University. Simmons is a member of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the Council on Foreign Relations, and serves on the boards of Texas Instruments, Chrysler, Mondelez, and Square, as well as a number of non-profit boards. Awarded numerous honorary degrees, she received the Brown Faculty’s highest honor: the Susan Colver Rosenberger Medal in 2011. In 2012, she was named a ‘chevalier’ of the French Legion of Honor.
To learn more about Prairie View A&M University, visit www.pvamu.edu