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Up Home: One Girl’s Journey

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Event Details:

You are invited to join author Ruth Simmons, the first Black president of an Ivy League institution, for an online discussion of her memoir, Up Home: One Girl’s Journey, on March 20. This intimate, unsparing work of memory conveys the transformative power of education and holds lessons for those who study, teach, and lead in colleges and universities.

The book begins with Simmons’ girlhood under Jim Crow in rural east Texas, as the twelfth child of sharecroppers. It continues in segregated Houston in the all-Black Fifth Ward, where her family moved before she started second grade. It ends with her experiences as a scholarship student at Dillard University and at Wellesley College, where she spent her junior year. After earning her bachelor’s degree at Dillard, Simmons received her master’s and doctorate in Romance languages and literature from Harvard University and went on to lead Smith College, Brown University, and Prairie View A&M University.

Simmons will be interviewed by James Campbell, professor of history at Stanford, who was on the faculty at Brown when Simmons was president. During that time, Simmons appointed Campbell to lead the committee that produced a groundbreaking report on the university’s historical ties to the slave trade and slavery. It was the first instance of a major university taking such a step to come to terms with its past, and it was an example that other schools followed.

This is the second event in the 2024 Academic Innovation for the Public Good book series, co-organized by Stanford Digital Education and Trinity College. Program partners include the Badavas Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (Bentley University); Brown University School of Professional Studies; Dartmouth College; Mount Holyoke College; Notre Dame Learning (University of Notre Dame); Penn’s Center for Excellence in Teaching, Learning, and Innovation; and University of Michigan Center for Academic Innovation.