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Houston Branch Board of Directors

Ruth J. Simmons

Former President
Prairie View A&M University
Humble, Texas

Ruth J. SimmonsRuth J. Simmons joined the Houston Branch board in 2020.

Simmons currently is a Distinguished Presidential Fellow at Rice University and advisor to Harvard University on relationships with historically black colleges and universities.

She is former president of Prairie View A&M University. She also served as president of Brown University and Smith College.

Simmons served in various faculty and administrative roles at the University of Southern California, Princeton University and Spelman College.

She is a member of many nonprofit boards, including the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture, and The Holdsworth Center.

Simmons is the recipient of many honors, including a Fulbright Fellowship to France, 2001 President’s Award from the United Negro College Fund, 2002 Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal, 2004 Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Medal, Foreign Policy Association Medal, Ellis Island Medal of Honor and Centennial Medal from Harvard University.

She is a fellow of the American Philosophical Society and American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She also is an honorary fellow at Cambridge University’s Selwyn College and a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor.

Simmons has received more than 40 honorary degrees from universities around the world, including Oxford University, Ewha Women’s University in South Korea, and The American College in Greece.

Simmons earned a BA in French from Dillard University, and an MA and PhD in Romance languages and literature from Harvard University.