Voices of Simmons

Year In Review: The Gwen Ifill College of Media, Arts, and Humanities

A note from Brian Norman, Dean of the Gwen Ifill College of Media, Arts, and Humanities.

I am proud to look back at a successful first year. Our collective task was to begin the work of building a college of media, arts, and humanities that could carry on the legacy of Gwen Ifill, a beloved alumna and American icon, while positioning ourselves to thrive in the twenty-first century.

Throughout the year, we reminded ourselves of Simmons’ long history of fostering women’s independence, its strengths at the thoughtful intersection of the liberal arts and preparation for work in the world, and the great gift of a namesake who stands as a model for how we hope all graduates do good work in the world and become leaders, no matter their profession. We also had necessary conversations about the work we have to do to become the most inclusive campus.

I am amazed at how much we built together: a new Mission Statement, Community Meetings, an inaugural faculty chair in Public Engagement, a Mentor-in-Residence program, two inaugural Ifill Scholarship recipients, and enhancements to student-driven media. Plus, we settled into a remodeled Communications wing and Dean’s Suite, an inspiring Gwen Ifill Exhibit and Knight Foundation Board Room, and a new home for the Children’s Literature “Book Nook.” All along, we continued so much of what already made Ifill special, from annual lectures, departmental gatherings and traditions, art exhibits, children’s literature institutes, student and faculty research, graduate colloquia, and excursions into Boston and beyond.

Every morning, I have the privilege of coming to campus and passing by the Gwen Ifill exhibit where I get to witness students and others meeting her, often for the first time, and thinking about what it means to forge a life of purpose. It means something that we place an African American woman’s achievements at the center of the Simmons experience for all, across rank, identity, and role. And it means something that we are sending graduates into the world who are prepared to ask big questions, seek truth, and make a difference.

Read the full Year in Review for the Gwen Ifill College of Media, Arts, and Humanities.

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