COLLEGE STATION, TX – Dr. Ruth Simmons, an accomplished university president with administrative experience in Ivy League Schools, a women’s university and a historically black college, has been named interim President of Prairie View A&M University.
Dr. Simmons, who retired as president of Brown University in 2012, will assume her duties July 1, following the June 12 announcement by PVAMU President George Wright that he is stepping down after 14 years to return to teaching history.
“I have served this University and the Texas A&M System for 14 years, and I am proud of the progress that we have made in that time,” Dr. Wright said. “But for all of us, the time comes to lay down the responsibilities that go with a job like this one and focus on other things.”
Dr. Wright had continued to teach and do research while serving as President, but he expressed a desire to devote his time to the classroom.
During President Wright’s tenure, Prairie View A&M enrollment grew from 6,500 to 9,000 while the university advanced academically, creating doctorates in education, engineering, nursing practice and juvenile justice. Both the Confucius Institute and the Honors College were also established under President Wright’s leadership.
“I want to thank President Wright for his steadfast leadership,” said Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp. “He touched a generation of students and faculty, and he changed lives for the better. He is to be commended, and we will miss him greatly.”
Dr. Simmons was President of Brown University from 2001 to 2012. When she retired from Brown University, she returned to her hometown of Houston where her family still lives. Prior to her time at Brown, she was President of Smith College, the nation’s largest women’s university; a Vice Provost at Princeton University; and a Provost at Spelman College, a historically black college.
“We are fortunate to have such a high-caliber scholar and administrator who can step in without missing a beat,” said Sharp. “Dr. Simmons has been an important figure on the national stage for decades. She has the credentials to be president of any university in America. I am so excited to have her join us.”
Dr. Simmons, who attended the Houston public schools, attributed her education at Dillard University, a historically black college in New Orleans, as the pivotal opportunity in her life. She later got her Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures from Harvard University.
It was important, Dr. Simmons said, to start before the fall semester. Her first order of business will be to meet with the university leadership and learn the issues facing the campus community.
Prairie View A&M University History and Mission
Prairie View A&M University is a state-assisted, public, comprehensive land grant institution of higher education. The unviersity was designated in 1984 amendment to the Texas Constitution as an “institution of the first class.” It is dedicated to achieving excellence and relevance in teaching, research and service. it seeks to invest in program and service that address issues and challenges affecting the diverse ethnic and socioeconomic population of Texas and the larger society including the global arena. The university seeks to provide a high quality educational experience for students who, upon completion of bachelors, masters, or doctorate degrees, posses self-sufficiency and professional competences. The experience is imbued by the institution’s values including, but not limited to, access and quality, accountability, diversity, leadership, relevance, and social responsibility.
For more information about PVAMU, visit their website at www.pvamu.edu.