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Future Perfect

As you read this column, it will have been just a few weeks since we announced our plans to renovate Lefavour Hall to create new and modern space for science on campus, shortly after the plan was approved by the Board of Trustees. It’s an exciting step toward renewing our campus to recruit and retain the next generation of Simmons students.

The higher education landscape is dramatically changing, as reflected in the closing of several private colleges in the New England region. With shifting demographics and decreasing numbers of enrolling students, no college or university can stand still, including Simmons. What differentiates us is our long history of not standing still, of not being complacent, as we focus on our founding mission and our responsibility to our students. 

Our 2022 strategy reflects this need to keep advancing and building on our signature strengths—whether it’s by creating new programs or investing in ventures that highlight our expertise. The formation of the new Simmons Institute for Leadership (see story) is an example of both. The Institute will be run by Susan MacKenty Brady, a nationally renowned women’s leadership expert. This new commercial entity will take what we do so well—developing empowered women leaders—to the next level. With our ongoing national conversation about women in the workplace, there is no better time to showcase our women’s leadership “chops” in the marketplace. 

This issue of Simmons Magazine also highlights the power of our Simmons graduates from a political perspective. From Adela Raz ’08, Afghanistan’s new Permanent Representative to the United Nations (see story) to our three Simmons alumnae/i elected to office this past fall (see story), Simmons’ leadership brand is alive and well for all to see.

President Drinan with students who shared their stories at the annual Scholarship Appreciation Brunch: Genielysse Reyes ’20MFA, Tanya C. Monteiro ’19, Lynnette Best ’20 and Kaitlin Maloney ’19 (Photograph by Cheryl Richards).

As we take note of these emerging influencers, we also recognize a longtime Simmons influencer who is retiring from Simmons—Judy Beal, dean of the newly formed College of Natural, Behavioral, and Health Sciences (see story). Judy’s 35-year career at Simmons was unique for many reasons, including her ability to match the evolution of the nursing profession to our teaching practices and the widespread impact she had on so many of our students. 

While we say a fond farewell and thank you to Judy, we welcome our new Vice President for Advancement, Jennifer Rice, who succeeds Marianne Lord (see story). We are lucky to have Jennifer’s talent and experience as we work to meet our fundraising goals. We are also lucky to have you, our Simmons alumnae/i and friends, as we continue to evolve and strengthen as Simmons University. Thank you for all of your ongoing support.

Helen G. Drinan ’75MS, ’78MBA, President