President Ruth Simmons

Brown University is a short walk away from my house, but unless I’m cutting across the quad, university business is not on my radar.

I can only name two Brown presidents– Vartan Gregorian and Ruth Simmons. I think it’s because both reached out to the greater community and all the students of Providence, and both were such warm and effective communicators.

Doctor Simmons gave Brown a running start into the 21st Century. Her defense of free speech, even at personal cost, her institution of need-blind admissions, and her straightforward confrontation of Brown’s legacy of slavery may stand longer than the buildings that rose during her tenure.

Good luck, Doctor Simmons in all you do. has a timeline of Ruth Simmons’ tenure at Brown.


2 thoughts on “President Ruth Simmons

  1. Simmons won’t need good luck-she not only reached out,as you put it,to the community,but also to Goldman-Sachs,and she has a nice,lucrative position there to retire to or to supplement whatever else she goes on to.
    If a White male university president had those Goldman-Sachs ties,you’d probably be squawking about what a greedy person he was.
    Simmons demonstrated a strange sense of reality about 10 years ago after 9/11 when she voiced a wish to meet in a neutral venue,as she put it, with the people attacking us to hear their grievances-they’d have cut her head off simply for being a woman in charge of a large institution.You can’t”discuss”grievances with people who want to fly kamikae missions into occupied buildings.
    Well,at least she armed the university police,who are fully trained at the RI Municipal Police Academy,something Gregorian woouldn’t do-it certainly made sense considering many students have been crime victims.

    1. In fairness I should say I have a great deal more respect for Ruth Simmons than for to the manor born effete rich boys like Chafee and Whitehouse.
      For a sharecropper’s daughter of her age,whether Black or White to ascend to the presidency of an Ivy league university and the boardroom of Goldman Sachs is a hell of an accomplishment that few of us regardless of background could ever contemplate.
      FWIW I personally wouldn’t want either job since I don’t own a suit,but then no one’s asking me to take one either(joke).

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