Press Release

Simmons University Selected by Carnegie Foundation for Inaugural Leadership for Public Purpose Classification

An aerial view of the Simmons University academic campus

Simmons is the only women’s-centered institution and the only university in Massachusetts to receive this inaugural honor

A seal for the Carnegie Foundation Elective Classification for Leadership for Public Purpose 2024-2030

Simmons University announced today that it is one of 25 U.S. colleges and universities – and the only women’s-centered college – to receive the first Carnegie Leadership for Public Purpose Classification. This elective designation is awarded by the American Council on Education (ACE), the Doerr Institute for New Leaders at Rice University, and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

“It is a tremendous honor to be selected as an inaugural recipient of the 2024 Carnegie Classification for Leadership for Public Purpose,” said Simmons University President Lynn Perry Wooten. “This classification is a national recognition of the unique brand of leadership we have developed and advanced at Simmons – a group of everyday leaders committed to using their skills and talents to make our communities stronger. We are proud to be the only women’s-centered institution and the only university in Massachusetts to be chosen for this inaugural classification.”

This classification recognizes institutions that have committed to campus-wide efforts to advance leadership in pursuit of public goods like justice, equity, diversity, and liberty.

“ACE is proud to welcome the inaugural recipients of the Carnegie Elective Classification for Leadership for Public Purpose,” said ACE President Ted Mitchell. “The institutions in this cohort serve as models in higher education, demonstrating excellence in nurturing leaders who are prepared to address and solve pressing public challenges, which is sorely needed in our society right now.”

Representing 19 states across the United States, of the 25 institutions classified in the inaugural 2024 cycle, 15 are public institutions, 10 are private, and two are service academies. Seven are Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), with one MSI also designated as an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution.

“For several years the Doerr Institute for New Leaders has substantively supported the American Council on Education and the Carnegie Foundation’s collaborative efforts to establish the classification. We are excited about continuing such efforts in service of improving higher education’s commitment to fostering integrated and intentional leader development for students,” said Bernard B. Banks, director of the Doerr Institute for New Leaders.

“Congratulations to these pioneering recipients of the inaugural Carnegie Leadership for Public Purpose Classification,” said Carnegie Foundation President Timothy F.C. Knowles. “These institutions have demonstrated a relentless commitment to fostering leaders dedicated to the pursuit of vital public goods. Students from these institutions will undoubtedly shape a brighter future for us all, upholding fundamental American values and advancing opportunity for the nation.”

The Elective Classifications provide an independent and rigorous assessment of an institution’s extraordinary commitment to, investment in, and accomplishment at addressing pressing issues of the societies they serve. There are currently two Elective Classifications that institutions in the United States can pursue: Community Engagement and Leadership for Public Purpose. The Australian version of the Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement was recently launched, and Canada is set to launch its own version.

About ACE

ACE is a membership organization that leads higher education with a united vision for the future, galvanizing our members to make change and collaborating across the sector to design solutions for today’s challenges, serve the needs of a diverse student population, and shape effective public policy. As the major coordinating body for the nation’s colleges and universities, our strength lies in our diverse membership of more than 1,600 colleges and universities, related associations, and other organizations in America and abroad. ACE is the only major higher education association to represent all types of U.S. accredited, degree-granting colleges and universities. For more information, please visit or follow ACE on X (formerly known as Twitter) @ACEducation.

About The Carnegie Foundation

The mission of the Carnegie Foundation is to catalyze transformational change in education so that every student has the opportunity to live a healthy, dignified, and fulfilling life. Enacted by an act of Congress in 1906, the Foundation has a rich history of driving transformational change in the education sector, including the establishment of TIAA-CREF and the creation of the Education Testing Service, the GRE, and the Carnegie Classifications for Higher Education. The Foundation was also instrumental in the formation of the U.S. Department of Education and Pell Grants, and most recently in the use of networked improvement science to redress systemic inequities in educational opportunities and outcomes.

About The Doerr Institute for New Leaders

The Doerr Institute for New Leaders is a university-wide leader development enterprise at Rice University. Its mission is to elevate the leadership capacity of Rice students and advance the practice of leader development across higher education. At its core, the Doerr Institute is dedicated to the belief that inculcating a leader identity is developed through a myriad of rigorous activities (e.g., academic study, proper introspection, and hands-on experimentation). Since its founding by John and Ann Doerr in 2015, the Doerr Institute has impacted more than 5,000 students through cutting-edge research, experiential learning, and personalized coaching. For more information, please visit or @doerrinstitute.

About Simmons University

Located in the heart of Boston, Simmons is a respected private university offering nearly 50 majors and programs for undergraduate women and graduate programs open to all on campus, in blended formats, or entirely online in nursing and health sciences, liberal arts, business, communications, social work, public health, and library and information science. Founded in 1899, Simmons has established a model of higher education that other colleges and universities are only recently beginning to adapt: the combination of education for leadership in high-demand professional fields with the intellectual foundation of the liberal arts. The result is a Simmons graduate prepared not only to work, but to lead in professional, civic, and personal life — a vision of empowerment that Simmons calls preparation for life’s work. Follow Simmons at and on LinkedIn at

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Laura Wareck