[Video] A Conversation with Ruth J. Simmons and Eddie S. Glaude Jr.

Written by
Department of African American Studies
Nov. 9, 2023

Join us for the AAS Conversation Series featuring Ruth J. Simmons, moderated by Eddie S. Glaude Jr., as they explore the transformative themes of identity and resilience in Dr. Simmons' book "Up Home: One Girl's Journey." Experience a captivating discussion on the power of roots and self-discovery. 

UP HOME is an inspiring, indelible memoir from the daughter of sharecroppers in East Texas who became the first Black president of an Ivy League university—an uplifting story of girlhood and the power of family, community, and the classroom to transform one young person’s life.

Ruth J. Simmons serves as a Distinguished Presidential Fellow at Rice University and as Adviser to the President of Harvard on its HBCU Initiative. She is a former President of Prairie View A&M University and served as President of Brown University from 2001-2012.

A French professor before entering university administration, Dr. Simmons held an appointment as a Professor of Africana Studies at Brown. After completing her Ph.D. in Romance Languages and literatures at Harvard, she served in various faculty and administrative roles at the University of Southern California, Princeton University, and Spelman College before becoming president of Smith College, the largest women’s college in the United States. At Smith, she launched a number of important academic initiatives, including an engineering program, the first at an American women’s college.Simmons is the recipient of many honors, including a Fulbright Fellowship to France, the 2001 President’s Award from the United Negro College Fund, the 2002 Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal, the 2004 Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Medal, the Foreign Policy Association Medal, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and the Centennial Medal from Harvard University. Simmons is a member of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the Council on Foreign Relations, and serves on a number of non-profit boards. Awarded numerous honorary degrees, she received the Brown faculty’s highest honor: the Susan Colver Rosenberger Medal in 2011 and in 2012, she was named a ‘chevalier’ of the French Legion of Honor.