Kinder Institute Forum: Ruth J. Simmons

Apr 12, 2023
7:00pm - 8:15pm
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
1001 Bissonnet St, Houston, TX 77005

Ruth J. Simmons

Ruth J. Simmons, a leading voice in higher education, will be in conversation with Ruth N. López Turley, director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research.

Ruth J. Simmons is a President's Distinguished Fellow at Rice University, where she works on a variety of programs across campus and advises the president’s office. She is also a senior advisor to the president of Harvard University on engagement with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Simmons previously served as president of Prairie View A&M University, Smith College and Brown University, where she was the first Black woman to lead an Ivy League school.

In a conversation with Kinder Institute Director Ruth N. López Turley, Simmons discussed diversity, equity and inclusion in higher education; her lifelong work supporting HBCUs, and her experience leading Brown University's Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice, which is now the blueprint for similar task forces at Rice and other universities. She also discussed her upcoming memoir, "Up Home: One Girl's Journey".

About Ruth J. Simmons

Ruth J. Simmons most recently was president of Prairie View A&M University. She was president of Brown University from 2001-2012. Under her leadership, Brown made significant strides in improving its standing as one of the world’s finest research universities.

A French professor before entering university administration, Simmons held an appointment as a Professor of Comparative Literature and Africana Studies at Brown. After completing her Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures at Harvard, she served in various faculty and administrative roles at the University of Southern California, Princeton University, and Spelman College before becoming president of Smith College, the largest women’s college in the United States. At Smith, she launched a number of important academic initiatives, including an engineering program, the first at an American women’s college.

Simmons is the recipient of many honors, including a Fulbright Fellowship to France, the 2001 President’s Award from the United Negro College Fund, the 2002 Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal, the 2004 Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Medal, the Foreign Policy Association Medal, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and the Centennial Medal from Harvard University. Simmons is a member of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the Council on Foreign Relations, and serves on the boards of the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the Holdsworth Center. Awarded numerous honorary degrees, she received the Brown Faculty’s highest honor: the Susan Colver Rosenberger Medal in 2011. In 2012, she was named a ‘chevalier’ of the French Legion of Honor.

About the Kinder Institute Forum

The Kinder Institute Forum lecture series brings thought leaders from around the world to Houston to share ideas about the most pressing urban issues facing us today. Previous KI Forum speakers have included Pulitzer Prize-winning author Matthew Desmond, global urbanist Richard Florida, Kresge Foundation senior fellow Carol Coletta, sociologist Eric Klinenberg and former New York City Park Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver.

PNC is the presenting sponsor of the 2023 Kinder Institute Forum series.

Ruth Simmons KI Forum
Education leader Ruth Simmons ponders what's next for diversity, equity and inclusion
FEATURES :  Apr. 16, 2023

With publicly-funded state universities eliminating diversity, equity and inclusion as part of the hiring process, and proposed legislation targeted at other DEI policies in higher education, private institutions have an opportunity—and an obligation—to respond, Ruth J. Simmons said at the Kinder Institute Forum on Wednesday at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Mailing Address

6100 Main St. MS-208
Houston, TX 77005-1892

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Physical Address

Rice University
Kraft Hall
6100 Main Street, Suite 305
Houston, TX 77005-1892

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