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Fireside Chat with Ruth J. Simmons, Ph.D.
Leading Change in Higher Education: Coming to Terms with our Racial Histories

Trinity University is excited to welcome Ruth J. Simmons, Ph.D., as the 2024 DeCoursey Lecturer. A distinguished university president and higher education leader, Simmons will talk with Trinity President Vanessa B. Beasley, Ph.D., about her remarkable journey, some of which is detailed in her New York Times bestselling book, Up Home: One Girl’s Journey. to university presidency and her trailblazing efforts to promote colleges and universities as these communities have come to terms with their histories relative to slavery. Simmons' book was named a New Yorker and New York Times Book Review Best Book of the Year.

Ruth J. Simmons, Ph.D., is a distinguished university president and higher education leader, who has served as president of an Ivy League university in addition to leading two other universities. Born into a sharecropper family in Texas during the Jim Crow era, she graduated from Harvard University with a Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures before serving as a college president at three institutions: Smith College, Brown University and Prairie View A&M. Simmons is a Distinguished Presidential Fellow at Rice University and adviser to the president of Harvard University on HBCU Initiatives. She served as president of Prairie View A&M University until March 2023. Prior to joining Prairie View, she was president of Brown University from 2001-12 and president of Smith College from 1995-2001. She has a Ph.D. from Harvard and is fluent in French.

Opening Reception: 4 p.m.
Join us for an opening reception proceeding the DeCoursey lecture. The reception will feature simple appetizers, desserts, and beverages.

Lecture: 5 p.m.
The lecture will take place in Stieren Theater at Trinity University on Thursday, February 29, at 5 p.m. and will also be live-streamed on Tiger Network.

Book signing: 6 p.m.
Following the DeCoursey lecture, Dr. Simmons will be available to sign copies of her book, Up Home. Copies of the book will be available for purchase in the Stieren Theater lobby before the lecture.

The event is free and open to the public. No tickets are required, but RSVPs are encouraged. 

The DeCoursey Lecture Series is made possible by the late Gen. Elbert DeCoursey and Mrs. Esther DeCoursey of San Antonio.


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