Simmons College, established in 1899, is a private women's undergraduate college and private co-educational graduate school in Boston, in the U.S. state of Massachusetts.


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Simmons was founded in 1899 with a bequest by John Simmons, a wealthy clothing manufacturer in Boston. Simmons founded the college based on the belief that women ought to live independently by offering a Liberal Arts education for undergraduate women to integrate into professional work experience. Simmons is a member of the Colleges of the Fenway consortium, which also includes Emmanuel College, Wentworth Institute of Technology, Wheelock College, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Simmons absorbed Garland Junior College in 1976.

Simmons graduated its first African American student in 1914. Furthermore, Simmons was one of the only private colleges not to impose admission quotas on Jewish students for the first half of the 1900s.

The undergraduate program is exclusive to women, with approximately 1800 students enrolled in the 2012-2013 academic year. The graduate schools (Library and Information Science, Social Work, Health Sciences, Business Management, and an Arts and Sciences program that provides degrees in Education, Communications Management, Gender and Cultural Studies and Liberal Arts) are coed, and have about 3,000 students. The school's MBA program is the first in the world designed specifically for women.

In November 2014, the institution released an explicit policy on the acceptance of transgender students, claiming a strong tradition of empowering women and challenging traditional gender roles and a "rich history of inclusion." Its undergraduate program accepts applicants who are assigned female at birth as well as those who self-identify as women, making Simmons the third women's college in the United States to accept transgender women. Government documentation of gender is not required. Graduate programs are co-educational, so gender identity is not of concern.


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Simmons College currently consists of two separate campuses located near the Back Bay Fens in Boston:

Academic Campus

The Academic Campus is located at 300 The Fenway in the Longwood Medical Area. It is immediately adjacent to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the Boston Latin School. This campus currently consists of five buildings:

  • One Palace Road
  • Main College Building
  • Beatley Library/Lefavour Hall
  • Park Science Center
  • School of Management Building (a recent green construction)

Residential Campus

The Residence Campus is located one block from the main campus. It is near the Landmark Center and the Fenway and Longwood MBTA stations. The residence campus consists of 13 buildings centered on a grassy quad:

  • Simmons Hall (Freshman and Sophomore housing)
  • Dix Hall (Sophomore housing)
  • Smith Hall (Senior housing, also houses Quadside lounge and mail-room)
  • Arnold Hall (Junior housing)
  • North Hall (Graduate housing)
  • Health Center and Residence Life Offices
  • Holmes Sports Center
  • South Hall (Wellness housing)
  • Alumnae Hall (Theatre)
  • Bartol Dining Hall (also houses late-night dining service Bartol Late Night)
  • Evans Hall (Senior housing)
  • Mesick Hall (Freshman and Sophomore housing, renovated in 2010)
  • Morse Hall (Freshman and Sophomore housing)

Most of the buildings on the residence campus serve as dormitories, but the campus also includes a large dining hall, a health center, a large fitness center, a public safety office, an auditorium, and several other facilities.

The residence campus is separated from the main campus by Emmanuel College and Merck Research Laboratories Boston.


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The principal academic units of Simmons College are:

  • Undergraduate College
  • College of Arts and Sciences Graduate Studies
  • School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS)
  • School of Nursing and Health Sciences (SNHS)
  • School of Management (SOM)
  • School of Social Work (SSW)


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Simmons College sponsors athletics teams in a variety of sports including basketball, crew, cross country, field hockey, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis and volleyball. The mascots are the Sharks and the colors are blue and yellow. They compete as members of the NCAA Division III in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC), the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) and the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC).

Environmental Sustainability

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Simmons has made several significant sustainability efforts. Former President Susan Scrimshaw signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) as a formal commitment to eliminate campus greenhouse gas emissions over time. Furthermore, the School of Management is addressing sustainability in its curriculum as well as in building and resource-management programs.

Simmons' environmental efforts earned the school a "C" on the College Sustainability Report Card 2010, published in Fall 2009 by the Sustainable Endowments Institute.

Notable alumnae

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Simmons alumnae include

  • Mary Elizabeth Wood, 1861-1931, librarian and lay missionary who actively promoted Chinese early education and librarianship
  • Denise Di Novi (born 1956), film producer
  • Joseph M. Eagan, MLS, Class of 1977, librarian, ALA Executive Board member, 2008-2011
  • Dorothy Celeste Boulding Ferebee (1898-1980), class of 1920, African-American physician and activist
  • David S. Ferriero (born 1949) Tenth Archivist of the United States
  • Nnenna Freelon (born 1954), jazz singer
  • Gwen Ifill (born 1955), journalist, television newscaster and author
  • Louise Andrews Kent (1886â€"1969), author
  • Gail Levin, class of 1969, art historian
  • Elinor Lipman (born 1950), novelist
  • Bertha Mahony (1882-1969), founder of The Horn Book Magazine
  • Barbara Margolis (1929â€"2009), prisoners' rights advocate who served as the official greeter of New York City.
  • Eleanor Milleville (1922â€"1991), American sculptor
  • Bertha Reynolds (born 1914), American social worker
  • Srinagarindra (1900â€"1995), Princess Mother of Thailand
  • Suzyn Waldman, color commentator for the New York Yankees
  • Allyson Schwartz, class of 1970, U.S. Representative Pennsylvania's 13th congressional district 2004-
  • Ann M. Fudge, businesswoman, former CEO of Young & Rubicam
  • Anne Williams Wheaton, class of 1912, publicist and first White House Associate Press Secretary
  • Esther M. Wilkins (born 1916), class of 1938, pioneer in the field of dental hygiene, teacher, and author of "Clinical Practice of the Dental Hygienist"

Notable faculty

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Simmons faculty include Gregory Maguire, the author of the popular novels Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Son of a Witch and many others. Maguire was a professor and co-director at the Simmons College Center for the Study of Children's Literature from 1979-1985. Also, Nancy Bond, winner of a Newbery Honor, taught at the Simmons College Center for the Study of Children's Literature from 1979 to 2001.

See also

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  • Simmons College Center for the Study of Children's Literature


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External links

  • Simmons College official website
  • Simmons College official athletics website

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