Prairie View A&M president Ruth J. Simmons to step down from her role

This 2021 photo shows Prairie View A&M University President Ruth Simmons in her office on the Prairie View, Texas, campus. Simmons, the president of the historically Black university in Texas, felt in December when she received a call informing her that the school would be gifted $50 million not just the largest contribution it has ever received, but nearly 24 times larger than the previous recordholder, the famous $2.1 million gift from thrifty schoolteacher Whitlowe Green in 2005. (Michael T. Thomas/Prairie View A&M University Marketing and Communications via AP) (Michael T. Thomas)

PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas – Ruth J. Simmons, president of Prairie View A&M University has announced on Friday that she will step down from her role.

In a letter posted on the university’s website, Simmons wrote that the decision was “surprisingly emotional” after she informed Chancellor John Sharp of her resignation.

She added that while progress was made in three elements of the university, including financial security and help for students, she is humbled by how much remains to be done.

“Prairie View A&M is nowhere near what it could ultimately achieve as an institution of the first class. Our students deserve more, and we must provide it for them,” she said. “As we undergo our strategic planning, it is evident to me that a new leader must assume responsibility for advancing the university to a new level of excellence in student outcomes, faculty achievement, and research output.”

Simmons took on the role in July 2017 after the departure of former president George Wright. In 2020, she led the opening of the university’s launch of their Center for Race and Justice in response to the death of Houston native George Floyd.

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Simmons wrote that she will remain in her role until her successor is chosen. She added that she will “remain fully committed” to the university after she exits her role.

Read the entire letter here.

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A graduate of the University of Houston-Downtown, Ana moved to H-Town from sunny southern California in 2015. In 2020, she joined the KPRC 2 digital team as an intern. Ana is a self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur, a catmom of 2, and an aquarium enthusiast. In her spare time, she's an avid video gamer and loves to travel.