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Understanding Our New World - A Conversation with Ruth Simmons
Ruth Simmons, the first African-American to serve as the president of an Ivy League university and the current president of Prairie View A&M University, will join the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute for a virtual conversation at 1:00 p.m. CT Monday, November 29.

Simmons and Institute Director John Shaw will discuss Simmons’ path-breaking career in academic leadership and administration, the challenges colleges are facing as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, and the unique role historically Black colleges have in the American racial justice movement.

Prairie View A&M University is a historically Black university and the second oldest public higher education institution in Texas. Simmons became its president in 2018 after coming out of retirement to serve as its interim president in 2017. Simmons had retired in 2012 after serving as the president of Brown University for 11 years.

Simmons became the first African-American president of an Ivy League school when she was appointed to lead Brown in 2001. Before that, she had served as the president of Smith College – the largest women’s university in the U.S. – and as vice provost at Princeton and provost at Spelman, another HBCU.

Simmons was a first-generation college student when she attended Dillard University, an HBCU in New Orleans. She later got her Ph.D. at Harvard in romance languages and literatures.

This event is part of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute’s Understanding Our New World virtual conversation series with government and private sector leaders, policy experts, political analysts, authors, academics, and journalists.

If you have a question for Ruth Simmons, please include it below in the “Questions & Comments” box or email it to paulsimoninstitute@siu.edu.

Nov 29, 2021 01:00 PM in Central Time (US and Canada)

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