87R24348 BPG-D
  By: J. Johnson of Harris H.R. No. 1070
         WHEREAS, Ruth Simmons, president of Prairie View A&M
  University, has been named principal speaker for Harvard
  University's commencement celebration on May 27, 2021; and
         WHEREAS, Born in Grapeland, Dr. Simmons grew up as the 12th
  child of sharecroppers; she earned a scholarship to Dillard
  University and after graduating summa cum laude in 1967, she went on
  to earn her doctoral degree in Romance languages and literatures
  from Harvard; for several years, she taught French at the
  University of New Orleans; a new career path in administration took
  her to California State University, and then to the University of
  Southern California, Princeton University, and Spelman College; in
  1995, she was named president of Smith College, where she focused on
  increasing access and established the first engineering program at
  a women's college in the U.S.; and
         WHEREAS, In 2001, Dr. Simmons became the first African
  American to lead an Ivy League institution when she was appointed
  president of Brown University; she earned wide acclaim for her
  achievements, including need-blind undergraduate financial aid,
  faculty expansion, enhanced curricula, and new facilities;
  moreover, she helped the school begin to confront its links to a
  shameful stain on American history, slavery and the slave trade;
  she created the Brown University Steering Committee on Slavery and
  Justice, which released a report that has aided other institutions
  in addressing similar echoes of the nation's past; and
         WHEREAS, Dr. Simmons retired in 2012, but six years later, as
  the graduate of a historically Black college, she felt called to
  accept the presidency of Prairie View A&M; while guiding the
  school, she has also continued to promote educational equity
  elsewhere; she testified on behalf of Harvard College in a lawsuit
  challenging its right to consider race as an admissions factor;
  over the years, she has received myriad accolades, among them an
  honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Harvard, and in 2013, she was
  named Chevalier in the French National Order of the Legion of Honor,
  the highest decoration bestowed by the French government; and
         WHEREAS, One of the nation's most dynamic and
  transformational leaders, Ruth Simmons has made a lasting, positive
  imprint on higher education and continues to work tirelessly to
  widen horizons of opportunities for all; now, therefore, be it
         RESOLVED, That the House of Representatives of the 87th Texas
  Legislature hereby congratulate Ruth Simmons on her selection as
  principal speaker for the 2021 Harvard University commencement
  celebration and extend to her sincere best wishes for the future;
  and, be it further
         RESOLVED, That an official copy of this resolution be
  prepared for Dr. Simmons as an expression of high regard by the
  Texas House of Representatives.