The 18th and current President of Brown University and the first black president of an Ivy League institution. Simmons was elected Brown's first women president in November 2000. Simmons assumed office in fall of 2001 and hold appointments as a professor of Comparative Literature and African Studies. In 2002, Newsweek selected her as a Ms. Women of the year and in 2001 time named her as America's best college president.
Simmons was born in Grapeland, TX, the last of 12 children. She earned her bachelor's degree from Dillard university in 1967 and earned her master's and doctorate in Romance literature from Harvard in 1970. She served as provost at Spelman College from 1990-1992. Ruth Simmons became president of Brown in 2001. At Brown, she has completer an ambitious $1.4 billion initiative the largest in Brown history...known as Boldly Brown: The campaign for Academic Enrichment in order to enhance Brown's academic programs. In 2005 President Simmons earned enough confidence in her leadership to motivate philanthropist and Former Brown student Sidney Frank to make the largest aggregate monetary contribution to Brown in its entire history in the amount of $120 million. By 2007 Simmons earned philanthropist Warren Alpert's confidence that he made an generous contribution to the school of $100 million. Thanks to Simmons the school accomplished its $1.4 billion fundraising campaign for the support of endowment of students scholarships.