Prairie View A&M University president Dr. Ruth Simmons joining Rice University

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Tuesday, February 14, 2023
Dr. Ruth Simmons stepping down as Prarie View A&M  president
Dr. Simmons sits down with ABC13's Melanie Lawson to discuss her ground-breaking role.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Nearly a year after Dr. Ruth Simmons announced she was stepping down as president of Prairie View A&M, Rice University announced she will be joining them as President's Distinguished Fellow.

In March 2022, Simmons announced she was stepping down after accepting her position at PVAMU in July 2017. At that time, her future was expected to continue through June 2023. "Be assured that while I will step down from the presidency, my work for Prairie View A&M will not cease," Simmons wrote at the time.

Then late last week, Simmons publicly stated she would be leaving Prairie View sooner than expected.

"It is with great sadness that I write to inform you that I will leave my position as president of Prairie View A&M University at the end of February," she wrote. "No one is more surprised than I by this premature end to my tenure."

On Tuesday, Rice announced that in her new role, Simmons will work with a variety of programs across campus and advise the president's office on various matters.

The video above is from a sit-down interview with ABC13's Melanie Lawson, where Simmons discussed her ground-breaking role.

According to Rice, Simmons will begin her role as President's Distinguished Fellow on April 1.

"Often cited as one of the most consequential higher education leaders of this generation, and one of the most important and compelling local and national leaders, (Simmons) has served numerous universities, corporations, and nonprofit organizations in an advisory capacity," Rice University President Reginald DesRoches said. " I am grateful and excited that she will continue her broad and impactful outreach from her position at Rice."

For more on Simmons' new role at Rice, visit the university's website.