New MAKERS: Ruth Simmons and Lauren Bush Lauren
Ruth Simmons made history when she became the first African-American president of an Ivy League University. As a child, Simmons did not dream of such a prestigious position. As the youngest daughter of tenant farmers, or sharecroppers, in east Texas, she had more modest ambitions. “I had one goal,” she said, “if only I could one day work in an office, because every woman that I knew was a maid.” A dedicated student, Simmons has received degrees from Dillard University, and Harvard. Seeing an opportunity to reach out to more diverse group of students than she usually saw in her department of French Literature, she left her professorship to become a university administrator. Six years after being named president of Smith College in 1995, Simmons was offered the position of president at Brown University. After stepping down in 2012, she has continued to teach at the university as a professor of comparative literature and Africana studies.
Lauren Bush Lauren’s hope for the world is that “when women are exposed to the fact that they have rights, that is where change is going to happen.” She is now the co-founder of FEED Projects, a company with the mission to create good products to feed the world. Her journey to FEED began as a student, when she was given the opportunity to travel around the world with the UN World Food Program. Building off of the reusable bag movement, she decided to launch her company, selling bags and working with the UN World Food Program to donate the proceeds to those in hunger. Find out more about Lauren by going to her profile. Learn more about how she is working to help women globally, and why she feels her sensitivity is an asset.