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Brown promises inclusive search for new president

September 16, 2011

Brown officials say they will outline the process for selecting a new president in the coming weeks, as they look to replace Ruth Simmons.

Simmons announced this week that she will step down at the end of the current academic year, her 11th with the University.

Students are likely to be saddened by Simmon’s departure. She was extremely well liked, and students were even known to wear t-shirts with her photograph. One Brown student described a “cult of Ruth” and said he thought most Brown students were extremely proud to have the first Black president of an Ivy League university.

Brown Chancellor Thomas Tisch describes Simmons’ contributions to the university as “mind boggling,” pointing out that she oversaw the construction or restoration of five campus buildings during one of the most serious economic downturns in American history.

“Ruth came to Brown and gave us all permission to and also enabled us to dream big dreams and she helped us fulfill those dreams,” Tisch said. “What Ruth has accomplished for Brown can only be described as monumental.”

Brown officials say they plan to hold an inclusive search for Simmons’ replacement. Peter Shank, chair of Brown’s Faculty Executive Committee, says the chancellor has assured him that faculty will have input.

“I think the faculty always likes someone who’s got strong academic credentials and has a vision of higher education, the importance of higher education in society and the uniqueness of this institution.” Shank said, adding that Simmons often held dialogues with faculty, and he hopes that practice will continue under her successor.

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