Ruth Simmons serves as the president of Brown University, one of the country's leading Ivy League institutions located in Providence, RI. She also holds appointments as professor in the Department of Comparative Literature and the Department of Africana Studies. Dr. Simmons' distinguished career as a teacher and administrator in higher education includes many of the country's premiere colleges and universities. She served as associate dean of the Graduate School at the University of Southern California before joining the Princeton administration in 1983. She left for two years to serve as provost at Spelman College before returning to Princeton as vice provost. She remained at the university until 1995 when she became president of Smith College, the largest women's college in the United States. As president of Smith, she launched a number of initiatives, including an engineering program, the first at a women's college in the United States. She remained at Smith until the time of her appointment at Brown in 2001.
Dr. Simmons is the recipient of a number of prizes and fellowships including the Centennial Medal from Harvard University, the Teachers College Medal for Distinguished Service from Columbia University, the President's Award from the United Negro College Fund, and a Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal. She has been selected as a 2002 Newsweek person to watch and as a Ms. woman of the year, and in 2001, Time named her as America's best college president. In September 2001, ABC News tapped her to serve as a respondent during its live telecast following President Bush's address to Congress.
In recent years, Simmons, an articulate spokesperson and writer, has written and delivered presentations on a wide array of educational and public policy issues, including institutional governance, diversity, liberal arts, science education, and the role of women in society. Among numerous national forums, Dr. Simmons has been a featured speaker at the White House, the World Economic Forum, the National Press Club, the American Association of University Women, and the American Council on Education. She has also delivered commencement orations at Harvard, the University of Southern California, as well as George Washington, Washington and Dillard universities. Active in a wide range of educational, charitable, and civic endeavors, she holds 13 honorary degrees from institutions including Amherst, Boston University, Dartmouth, Harvard, New York University, Northeastern, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, and George Washington University.