Ruth Simmons named as keynote speaker for Syracuse University’s 2005 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration
Ruth Simmons named as keynote speaker for Syracuse University’s 2005 Martin Luther King Jr. CelebrationNovember 19, 2004Kelly Homan Rodoskikahoman@syr.edu
Editor’s note: A .jpeg image of Ruth Simmons is available from SU News Services, 443-3784.
Ruth Simmons, president of Brown University and a well-known speaker on and advocate for education, will be the keynote speaker for Syracuse University’s 20th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, “The King Legacy in the Soul of Our Community,” in the Carrier Dome on Sunday, Jan. 23, 2005.
The annual celebration is among the largest university-sponsored events in the United States to commemorate King. Last year, more than 2,000 people attended SU’s event.
The evening’s program, which will include the presentation of the 2005 Unsung Hero Awards and entertainment, begins at 6:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Tickets for the dinner, which precedes the program at 5:30 p.m., are $20 for the general public and $13 for students without meal plans. Students with meal plans will be charged for one dinner. Tickets, which generally sell out soon after they go on sale, will be available Dec. 1. For ticket information, call Hendricks Chapel at 443-5044.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Seminar will precede the dinner at 3 p.m. in SU’s Maxwell Auditorium. The seminar is a twin event to the Nov. 5 Inaugural Symposium that was held in honor of SU Chancellor Nancy Cantor. A special gallery of community members from Central New York was invited to view the Nov. 5 symposium. This gallery will be invited back to participate in the Jan. 23 seminar, speaking on the issues of racism and genocide in the city of Syracuse through their own experiences.
Simmons was sworn in as the 18th president of Brown University in July 2001. During her tenure, she has launched an ambitious initiative to enrich Brown’s academic core, as well as a diversity initiative to ensure that diversity informs every dimension of the university.
She advocates on behalf of education and its ability to encourage “excellence, daringness of mind and scholarship,” and celebrates the moments of discovery that educators evoke in their students. “If there is anything I can bring to higher education, it is a constant reminder of the need to bring children from the margins to the center, constantly redefining the center so that our democracy remains strong,” Simmons says.
In 2003, Simmons appointed a Committee on Slavery and Justice at Brown to organize academic events and activities to encourage the Brown community to think about the questions raised by the national debate over slavery and reparations.
A native of Texas, Simmons received a bachelor’s degree from Dillard University and a Ph.D. from Harvard University. She has held leadership positions at the University of Southern California, Princeton University and Spelman College, and served as president of Smith College from 1995-2001.
In recent years, she has written and delivered papers or presentations on a wide array of educational and public policy issues, including institutional governance, diversity, liberal arts, science education and the role of women in society. She is the recipient of numerous prizes and fellowships, including the President’s Award from the United Negro College Fund (2001) and the Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal (2002). She was selected as a “Person to Watch” by Newsweek magazine (2002), a “Woman of the Year” by Ms. magazine (2002), and “America’s Best College President” by Time Magazine in 2001.