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Ivy League university president to discuss importance of HBCUs

  • SIU News Service

Posted on 11/26/2021, 1:00 AM

CARBONDALE -- Ruth Simmons, president of Prairie View A&M University and the first African American to serve as president of an Ivy League university, will join Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Paul Simon Public Policy Institute in a virtual discussion next week.

Simmons and John Shaw, institute director, will discuss Simmons' career in academic leadership and the unique role historically Black colleges play in higher education and social justice.

The conversation is set for 1 p.m. Monday, Nov. 29 and will be held via Zoom. The event is free and open to the public; registration is required to receive access to the webinar at

Simmons came out of retirement to lead Prairie View A&M University -- a historically Black college and university and the second-oldest public higher education institution in Texas -- on an interim basis in 2017 before becoming its president the following year. Simmons retired in 2012 after serving as Brown University president for 11 years, where she was the first African American to serve as president of an Ivy League school upon her appointment in 2001.

Attendees are encouraged to submit questions for Simmons with their registration form or email questions to

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