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Leading the Way

Over the decade since I became President of Simmons College, I have often looked back before moving forward on the journey to strengthen Simmons’ legacy for future generations. I can say with confidence and a sense of palpable momentum, that Simmons has not experienced a moment as opportune as now since John Simmons walked into his lawyer’s office intent on establishing a college where women would gain the skills to earn independent livelihoods.

It is appropriate that 2018 is the year we are relaunching Simmons Magazine. Yes, we heard you! This is the first of two issues we will produce each year to keep you informed about Simmons’ faculty, students, alumnae/i, and news.

We are not only financially strong, we are growing, and we are attracting attention worldwide. In the past five years, we have moved from a regional institution to a national and international university with the most talented undergraduate classes in our history. We have graduate students matriculating from their homes in all 50 states and in the Middle East, and faculty in 33 states.

We’re proud of the work our teams are doing to recruit and retain students. This is a particularly notable achievement in a time when small liberal arts colleges are faltering, and mergers and closures dominate the higher-ed news columns. Not the case here.

This fall, we will implement our long-anticipated plan to reorganize our academic programs into four colleges. Each college will have undergraduate and graduate programs, and a new dean, as you’ll read on page six of this magazine.

Our announcement last fall that we are naming one of the four colleges after our beloved alumna Gwen Ifill ’77, ’93HD has caught the attention and imagination of national leaders in media, politics, and social justice, who are eager to support Gwen’s memory and Simmons. More recently, we were honored to host Michelle Obama—along with a powerful slate of speakers—at our 39th annual Simmons Leadership Conference.

President Drinan and Michelle Obama share the stage during Simmons Leadership Conference (Photograph by Lisa Cohen).

For over 100 years, we have prepared our students to be leaders in their professions and communities, and champions of social justice. You and the other 50,000 Simmons alumnae/i around the world are the best proof of our commitment to that. Your family, friends, colleagues, and fellow citizens see what a difference a Simmons education has made in your life, and as our reputation grows, more of the world is seeing it.

Momentum is a powerful thing. It requires care and nurturing, mindful management, and perhaps most importantly, a spirit of adventure. We are happy to share with you just some of our most recent adventures here in the magazine. Please stay tuned and join us on the journey.

Helen G. Drinan ’75LS, ’78SM, President