Ruth J. Simmons, who five years ago became the first African American president of Smith College, was unanimously elected president of Brown University last week. Simmons is the first female president of Brown and the first African American president of an Ivy League university. She earned her bachelorís degree at Dillard University in New Orleans, and her masters and doctorate degrees at Harvard University. While at Smith, Simmons established the first engineering program at a womenís college, doubled the collegeís endowment, and launched a journal focusing on the concerns of minority women. At her first public speech at Brown, she expressed her commitment to improving access to an Ivy League education to disadvantaged students. Currently, women make up 19 percent of all college presidents, and racial minorities make up 11 percent.
Media Resources: Washington Post - November 10, 2000