Ruth Simmons, who served as the 18th president of Brown University, the Ivy League educational institution in Providence, Rhode Island, from 2001 to 2012, has been named the interim president of Prairie View A&M University in Texas.
Dr. Simmons is a native of Houston and is a product of the city’s public school system. She is a graduate of Dillard University in New Orleans and holds a Ph.D. in Romance languages and literatures from Harvard University.
Before becoming president of Brown University, Dr. Simmons was president of Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. Earlier, she was vice provost at Princeton University in New Jersey and provost at Spelman College in Atlanta.
In explaining her decision to come out of retirement to lead Prairie View, Dr. Simmons said, “I was a from a very poor family with 12 children, at a time when colleges were just desegregating. I know how important historically Black colleges and universities are for kids like I was. I have deep roots in Texas, and I was looking for a way to do something helpful for my community.”