Generally beloved Brown president Ruth Simmons announced last September that this year would be her last at the helm of the university, and since then there has been a lingering question: What is the next move for someone as accomplished as Simmons?
We now have at least part of an answer. Simmons will swing some of her energy back to Princeton, where she was previously a vice provost in the early 90s, to serve a four year term on the university’s Board of Trustees. Simmons is the only non-Princeton graduate of the seven new trustees announced Tuesday, but does hold an honorary degree from the school.
While it is unlikely Simmons was planning for this position in September, it will be interesting to see where her focus now lies. In her original email to the Brown community announcing her plans, Simmons wrote that she hoped to take a leave to “take up projects that have been on hold far too long,” before returning to teach at Brown. While we can’t claim to know how much of a commitment being a trustee at Princeton is (still waiting for that phone call), it’s probably not just a line on her CV. Add to that her duties already as a member of the Howard University Board of Trustees, and Simmons should have an interesting balancing act between the three institutions. However, if any former Ivy president can handle it, it’s probably the one with the 80-percent approval.