Ruth Simmons to Take on New Role as Senior Adviser to the President of Harvard University

Ruth Simmons, who recently stepped down as president of Prairie View A&M University in Texas, will serve as a senior adviser to the president of Harvard University on engagement with historically Black colleges and universities. In this role, which will begin on June 1, Dr. Simmons will advise on efforts to support the recommendations of the Presidential Committee on Harvard & the Legacy of Slavery. Her work will focus on engaging in meaningful and enduring partnerships with the nation’s HBCUs.

Dr. Simmons brings a unique perspective to Harvard’s implementation efforts, having led Brown University’s reckoning with its history of slavery and injustice during her 11-year tenure at the helm of the institution. President Simmons formed the Brown University Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice to help the community think seriously, deeply, and rigorously about their past, a model that has served as a blueprint for institutions like Harvard that have since also begun to address their own injustices.

“I am proud to work alongside Harvard to shape a new vision for higher education, one which acknowledges the need for institutions with different histories and missions to share expertise and productively collaborate in the interests of a more equitable society,” Dr. Simmons said. “Harvard’s recognition that HBCUs have much to contribute is a welcome and timely message.”

Dr. Simmons served as the eighteenth 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. She came out of retirement in 2017 to serve as president of Prairie View A&M University.

In addition to her duties at Harvard, Dr. Simmons also will be serving as President’s Distinguished Fellow at Rice University in Houston.

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.

Related Articles

2 COMMENTS

  1. Dr. Ruth Stubblefield Simmons:
    So proud to see you continuing to to do great things in higher ed. I attended Wheatley also with your brother, Lionel who quite a singer. I no longer live I. HOUSTON BUT CONTINUED BEST WISHES

  2. Thank you and best wishes to you, Dr. Simmons. As a Harvard alumna, I can truly say that Harvard needs you!

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Three African Americans Appointed to New Academic Positions

Leon Prieto, Kofi Afrifah, and Andrea Moore have been appointed to new academic positions at Clayton University, Bowie State University, and Savannah State University, respectively.

Historic HBCU Landmark Revitalized Through National Park Service Grant

Through three restoration grants totaling $2 million, the Rosenwald Practice School and Principal House will be fully restored, becoming the new home for the Northeastern North Carolina African American Research and Cultural Heritage Institute.

Five Black Leaders Appointed to Administrative Positions

Here is this week’s roundup of African American who have been appointed to new administrative positions at colleges and universities throughout the United States. If you have news for our appointments section, please email the information to contact@JBHE.com.

North Carolina A&T University Establishes Research Partnership with Collins Aerospace

“There are direct relations to the research we do in the College of Engineering and the mission purpose of Collins Aerospace,” said Stephanie Luster-Teasley, interim dean of the College of Engineering at North Carolina A&T State University. “Being able to partner with Collins really gives our students the opportunities for hands-on research at each level – undergraduate and graduate.”

Featured Jobs