Event Date: 05/14/2024

The Remarkable Story of the First Black Ivy League President Ruth Simmons

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Location: Virtual

Date: May 14, 2024

Time: 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM CT

9a PT | 10a MT | 12p ET

Ruth Simmons is an exceptional figure not only because of the many “firsts” she has achieved, but because she overcame various disadvantages from her youth. As the first Black President of an Ivy League school, the first Black woman to lead any major university in the United States, the first Black President at Smith College, and the first female President at Brown University, Ruth Simmons personifies the power of possibility and perseverance.

Born in 1945, Ruth Simmons was raised within a family struggling to overcome poverty. The youngest of 12 children, she grew up on an East Texas farm raised by her father, a sharecropper, and her mother, a domestic worker who tragically passed away just before Ruth turned 16. Despite the many obstacles she faced from an early age, Ruth was determined to rise above her family’s circumstances to achieve greatness. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Dillard University and her master’s and doctorate degrees from Harvard University, before holding various leadership positions in higher education. Her extraordinary rise from the constraints of a childhood in the segregated South to her various leadership roles – including her current position on President Biden’s White House HBCU Advisory Board – is now outlined in her debut memoir, Up Home: One Girl’s Journey.

Join us for a conversation featuring the remarkable Ruth Simmons. She will share her journey from poverty to the pinnacle of higher education, including the most important lessons she has learned about perseverance. Plus, she will share insider tips about the college application process and discuss how it has changed over the past few decades. She will also give her perspective on how elite colleges evaluate candidates and what characteristics, qualifications, and metrics they use to appraise applicants. Ultimately, Ruth will be sharing a story that offers hope and possibility for all of us. As she says, and has proven by her life’s example, “Every day we shape who we are and the future by virtue of our own actions.”

Submit your questions in advance here cressevents@cressetcapital.com or during the live Q&A.

We hope you can join!

. . .

Order a complimentary copy of Ruth Simmon’s book Up Home: One Girls’s Journey here.

About Ruth Simmons

Ruth Simmons (born Ruth Jean Stubblefield, July 3, 1945) is an American professor and academic administrator. Simmons served as the eighth president of Prairie View A&M University, a HBCU, from 2017 until 2023. From 2001 to 2012, she served as the 18th president of Brown University, where she was the first African American president of an Ivy League institution. Before Brown University, she headed Smith College, one of the Seven Sisters and the largest women's college in the United States, beginning in 1995. A professor of literature in the Romance languages, in 2017, Simmons was called out of retirement to head Prairie View in her home state of Texas, where she increased scholarships and funding. She stepped down as president there in 2023.[3][4][5] She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, an honorary fellow of Selwyn College, Cambridge, and a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor. In February 2023, Simmons announced plans to advise Harvard University regarding relationships with historically black universities (HBCUs). As of 2023, Simmons is also a President's Distinguished Fellow at Rice University.

Featuring

Ruth Simmons

Ruth Simmons

Former President of Brown University, Prairie View A&M, and Smith College

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