Ruth Simmons, the former president of Smith College and the former president of Brown University, received the French Legion of Honor. The award, the highest honor bestowed by the French government, is given to individuals who have contributed to the advancement of French arts and culture. The citation of the award stated that “she has continuously fought against inequality and discrimination, promoting and relentlessly teaching human rights and values that France has always honored and supported.”
Dr. Simmons continues to serve on the Brown University faculty as a professor of comparative literature and Africana studies. Fluent in French, she holds a Ph.D. in Romance languages and literature from Harvard University.