Ruth J. Simmons was named as the sole finalist to become the eighth president of Prairie View A&M University in Texas. Under state law, university governing boards must name finalists 21 days before making an official appointment.
Prairie View A&M University, a historically Black educational institution located west of Houston, enrolls about 7,400 undergraduate students and more than 1,300 graduate students. African Americans make up 85 percent of the undergraduate student body.
Dr. Simmons has been serving as interim president of the university since July. She served as the 18th president of Brown University, the Ivy League educational institution in Providence, Rhode Island, from 2001 to 2012. 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.
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, where she majored in French and holds a Ph.D. in Romance languages and literatures from Harvard University.