Woman Makes History as the 1st Black President of Simmons University in 120+ Years

Dr. Lynn Perry Wooten

Dr. Lynn Perry Wooten has made history as the first African American President of Simmons University, which was established in Boston, Massachusetts in 1899. That means that she is the first Black person to be President in the institution's entire 123-year history.

As only the ninth President of Simmons University, Dr. Wooten's experience and her ability to cultivate change as an everyday leader will enable the institution to evolve into what it should be both now and in the future. Previously, she served as the David J. Nolan Dean and Professor of Management and Organizations at the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University.

An innovative leader, author, and presenter, she is the author of two books, Positive Organizing in a Global Society: Understanding and Engaging Differences for Capacity Building and Inclusion (2016) and Leading Under Pressure: From Surviving to Thriving Before, During, and After a Crisis (2010). Even more, she has provided leadership development and training for a variety of institutions, including the Kellogg Foundation, Harvard University’s Kennedy School, and Google.

Dr. Wooten comments, "I am honored to be the ninth president of Simmons University, an institution with a rich tradition of empowering women-centered leaders and social justice champions... I feel a deep sense of gratitude to be part of this extraordinary community as we work together to shape the next chapter in Simmons history and continue the hard work of creating a more just world."

During her investiture ceremony, she thanked her family and friends in attendance, either in-person, virtually, or in spirit, addressing their personal and professional impact on her life. She shared the African Proverb, “every success has a foundation,” and shared how her foundation began with her family, her community, and her own college experience.

Notable people who were present for the ceremony include Boston's Mayor Michelle Wu, U.S. Senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren, as well as Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley.

Learn more about Simmons University at Simmons.edu