History of Simmons

Rooted in Tradition, Thriving on Change

Decades before women in America gained the right to vote, Boston businessman John Simmons had a revolutionary idea — that women should be able to earn independent livelihoods and lead meaningful lives. It was this same spirit of inclusion and empowerment that produced the first African-American Simmons graduate in 1914, and made Simmons one of the only private colleges that did not impose admission quotas on Jewish students during the first half of the 1900s.


Since 1899, Simmons has offered a pioneering liberal arts education for undergraduate women integrated with professional work experience. Today, Simmons also encompasses the many benefits of a small university, including renowned coeducational graduate programs in health sciences, education, liberal arts, library and information science, management, and social work. We also offer an MBA program designed specifically for women.

For more than 100 years, a Simmons education has integrated professional preparation, intellectual exploration, and community orientation, because all three approaches are necessary for success. At Simmons, we value the many dimensions of identity — including race, class, ethnicity, and sexual identity — and reflect that in our curriculum, affiliated organizations, and community partnerships.

Simmons consistently ranks among the nation’s top schools in its category in US New & World Report, the Princeton Review and Forbes. That's no surprise. Simmons educates people who share a passion for learning, a commitment to community, and the determination to make a difference.