Ruth J. Simmons, the 18th president of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, is stepping down as president at the end of the academic year. She is the first and only African American to lead an Ivy League university. Dr. Simmons became Brown’s president in 2001. Previously, she served as president of Smith College and was vice provost at Princeton University and provost at Spelman College in Atlanta.
In a statement, President Simmons said, “I write to you in all humility to tell you of my plans to step down from the Brown presidency at the end of the current academic year and to thank you in advance for what will have been eleven deeply satisfying years at the helm of this wonderful institution. I recently decided that this is the ideal time both for Brown and for me personally to begin the process of transitioning to new leadership.”
After leaving the presidency, Dr. Simmons will remain on the Brown faculty as a professor of comparative literature and a professor of Africana studies.
Dr. Simmons is a graduate of Dillard University in New Orleans. She holds a Ph.D. in Romance languages and literatures from Harvard University.
Here is a video from the Brown Daily Herald showing students discussing Simmons’ decision.