HOLY SPRINGS, MS – Rust College’s 152nd Commencement will take place on Sunday, April 29, 2018. Prairie View A&M University’s President Dr. Ruth Simmons will deliver the keynote address.

According to a press release from the university, Dr. Ruth Simmons, an accomplished university president with administrative experience in Ivy schools, a women’s university and a historically black college, serves as President of Prairie View A&M University. Simmons was President of Brown University from 2001-2012. Under her leadership, Brown made significant strides in improving its standing as one of the world’s finest research universities.

A French professor before entering university administration, President Simmons held an appointment as a Professor of Africana Studies at Brown. After completing her Ph.D. in Romance Languages and literatures at Harvard, she served in various faculty and administrative roles at the University of Southern California, Princeton University, and Spelman College before she became 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.

COLLEGE STATION, TX –  Dr. Ruth Simmons, an accomplished university president with administrative experience in Ivy League Schools, a women’s university and a historically black college, has been named interim President of Prairie View A&M University.

Dr. Ruth Simmons, Ph.D.

Dr. Simmons, who retired as president of Brown University in 2012, will assume her duties July 1, following the June 12 announcement by PVAMU President George Wright that he is stepping down after 14 years to return to teaching history.

“I have served this University and the Texas A&M System for 14 years, and I am proud of the progress that we have made in that time,” Dr. Wright said. “But for all of us, the time comes to lay down the responsibilities that go with a job like this one and focus on other things.”

Dr. Wright had continued to teach and do research while serving as President, but he expressed a desire to devote his time to the classroom.

During President Wright’s tenure, Prairie View A&M enrollment grew from 6,500 to 9,000 while the university advanced academically, creating doctorates in education, engineering, nursing practice and juvenile justice. Both the Confucius Institute and the Honors College were also established under President Wright’s leadership.

“I want to thank President Wright for his steadfast leadership,” said Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp. “He touched a generation of students and faculty, and he changed lives for the better. He is to be commended, and we will miss him greatly.”

Dr. Simmons was President of Brown University from 2001 to 2012. When she retired from Brown University, she returned to her hometown of Houston where her family still lives. Prior to her time at Brown, she was President of Smith College, the nation’s largest women’s university; a Vice Provost at Princeton University; and a Provost at Spelman College, a historically black college.

“We are fortunate to have such a high-caliber scholar and administrator who can step in without missing a beat,” said Sharp. “Dr. Simmons has been an important figure on the national stage for decades. She has the credentials to be president of any university in America. I am so excited to have her join us.”

Dr. Simmons, who attended the Houston public schools, attributed her education at Dillard University, a historically black college in New Orleans, as the pivotal opportunity in her life. She later got her Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures from Harvard University.

It was important, Dr. Simmons said, to start before the fall semester. Her first order of business will be to meet with the university leadership and learn the issues facing the campus community.

 

Prairie View A&M University History and Mission

Prairie View A&M University is a state-assisted, public, comprehensive land grant institution of higher education. The unviersity was designated in 1984 amendment to the Texas Constitution as an “institution of the first class.” It is dedicated to achieving excellence and relevance in teaching, research and service. it seeks to invest in program and service that address issues and challenges affecting the diverse ethnic and socioeconomic population of Texas and the larger society including the global arena. The university seeks to provide a high quality educational experience for students who, upon completion of bachelors, masters, or doctorate degrees, posses self-sufficiency and professional competences. The experience is imbued by the institution’s values including, but not limited to, access and quality, accountability, diversity, leadership, relevance, and social responsibility.

For more information about PVAMU, visit their website at www.pvamu.edu.