Campus & Community

Year in Review: The Biggest Moments of 2021

This year was another year of transformation for Simmons. In 2021, we welcomed many new faces to the University, and came together as we mourned significant losses and celebrated the successes of others. As we prepare for 2022, we're taking a look at the moments and stories that shaped the Simmons community in 2021.

1. Simmons Names 2021 Commencement Speaker & Honorary Degree Recipients

Headshot of Ayanna Pressley

President Lynn Perry Wooten announces the 2021 Simmons University honorary degree recipients: Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, President Emerita Helen G. Drinan '75MS, '78MBA, Paul Farmer, and Suzyn Waldman ‘68.

Key quote: "I am thrilled to announce the 2021 Simmons University honorary degree recipients, a distinguished group that includes a trailblazing public servant, healthcare leader, journalist and university president emerita." — President Lynn Perry Wooten

Full story: 2021 Commencement

2. From the President: Mourning the Loss of Jahaira M. DeAlto '23

The Simmons cupola against a blue sky

President Lynn Perry Wooten shares the news of the tragic death of Jahaira M. DeAlto ‘23. Jahaira, a passionate advocate for trans rights, trans visibility, and victims of abuse, was studying social work at Simmons.

Key quote: "[Jahaira] had a charismatic personality and was a magnet for other Simmons students who admired her tremendous experience as a community leader. As a vocal supporter of her peers, Jahaira stood up for issues of equality, justice, and inclusion." — Professor Diane Grossman

Full story: Mourning Jahaira M. DeAlto ‘23

3. Welcoming Dr. Renique Kersh as Vice President of Student Affairs

Renique Kersh, VP Student Affairs

Simmons University is pleased to announce that after a comprehensive, nationwide search, Dr. Renique Kersh has been selected to serve as vice president of student affairs.

Key quote: "I am more than thrilled to join the Simmons University family and I look forward to leading the student affairs division and partnering with key campus stakeholders to enhance the student experience." — Dr. Renique Kersh

Full story: Welcoming Dr. Renique Kersh

4. Get Into Trouble: Alum-Owned Bar Lands on Esquire's List of Top 27 in America

Kaitlyn Soligan Owens behind the bar.

Gender and cultural studies alum, Kaitlyn Soligan Owens '12MA tells us about her journey into founding the successful Louisville haunt, Trouble Bar, and why it was important for her to build a safe, inclusive and comfortable space.

Key quote: "...we wanted every person who walked in to know that they were welcome and that this bar could be a home if they wanted it to be one, and we just keep aiming for that goal every day." — Kaitlyn Soligan Owens '12MA

Full story: Get into Trouble

5. By the Numbers: Meet the Class of 2025

Instagram images of the Class of 2025

We're so excited to welcome the Class of 2025 to the Simmons community!

Members of the Class of 2025 come from 28 states and territories, and 26 countries. Their top programs of choice include: nursing, psychology, pre-med, biology and undeclared.

Take a look at more facts about our newest class.

Full story: Meet the Class of 2025

6. Remembering Jim Corcoran, Associate Professor Emeritus

Jim Corcoran

President Lynn Perry Wooten shares the news of the passing of Associate Professor Emeritus Jim Corcoran, a Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist and longtime chair of the Simmons Department of Communications.

Key quote: "What began as a one-year stopover as a writing instructor at Simmons College…became more, much more... I loved spending time in the classroom talking about things that mattered to me and helping my students explore things that mattered to them." — Associate Professor Emeritus Jim Corcoran

Full story: Remembering Jim Corcoran

7. President Wooten's 6 Takeaways from How to Be an Antiracist

Lynn Perry Wooten reading Ibram X. Kendi's "How to Be an Antiracist"

The 2021 Spring Community Read, How to Be an Antiracist, explores the concept of antiracism and how we might build an antiracist society. Check out President Wooten's favorite quotes and takeaways from Kendi’s powerful book.

Key quote: "What gives me hope is a simple truism. Once we lose hope, we are guaranteed to lose. But if we ignore the odds and fight to create an antiracist world, then we give humanity a chance to one day survive, a chance to live in communion, a chance to be forever free.” — Ibram X. Kendi, Chapter 18

Full story: Lynn Perry Wooten's Takeaways

8. Simmons University Announces New Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Development Officer

Beth Kramer and bec rollins
Beth Kramer and bec rollins

Simmons University is pleased to announce that after two comprehensive search processes, it has selected a new Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and Chief Development Officer (CDO) to join its senior leadership team.

Key quote: "Simmons University is pleased to announce that after two comprehensive search processes, it has selected a new Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and Chief Development Officer (CDO) to join its senior leadership team. The CMO and Vice President of Marketing and Communication is bec rollins, while Beth Kramer will serve as Vice President of Advancement and CDO."

Full story: New CMO and CDO

9. Looking back at the 42nd Annual Simmons Leadership Conference

Headshot of Mindy Kaling

The Simmons Leadership Conference was filled with inspiring messages and powerful leaders — we’re still buzzing with excitement! You can experience all the empowering moments from the conference with this roundup of inspirational quotes.

Key quote: "Authenticity for me has taken time, because I used to be scared of what people would think of my voice. It took me having life experience to realize who I was being authentic to." — Mindy Kaling

Full story: Looking back at the Simmons Leadership Conference

10. Simmons University’s Gwen Ifill College of Media, Arts, and Humanities Welcomes Six New Faculty Members

Simmons University Main College Building

Cohort of talented faculty helps fulfill commitments to student success and faculty diversity.

Key quote: "We are thrilled to welcome these talented scholars to Simmons, each of whom was drawn to our mission of turning passion into purpose and the prospect of carrying on our namesake’s legacy of professional excellence, curiosity, and truth-telling." — Dean Brian Norman

full story: ifill college welcomes new faculty

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