Simmons University

Simmons University (Simmons College until 2018) is a private women focused undergraduate university and private co-educational graduate school in Boston, Massachusetts. It was established in 1899.

Simmons University
TypePrivate women's-centered undergraduate, co-educational graduate
Endowment$175 million (2017)[1]
PresidentHelen Drinan
Academic staff
251 full-time/327 part-time
Undergraduates2,060 women and non-binary students
Postgraduates2,873 men, women, and non-binary students
Location, ,
United States
AffiliationsColleges of the Fenway


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.[2] Simmons is a member of the Colleges of the Fenway consortium, which also includes Emmanuel College, Wentworth Institute of Technology, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Simmons absorbed Garland Junior College in 1976.[3]. Wheelock College, a former member, merged with Boston University to become the Boston University Wheelock College of Education & Human Development.

Simmons graduated its first African American student in 1914. Furthermore, Simmons was one of the few private colleges not to impose admission quotas on Jewish students for the first half of the 1900s.[2]

The undergraduate program is women-centered, 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, Public Policy 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. The co-ed online MBA program, MBA@Simmons, was founded in 2016.[4]

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-centered college in the United States to accept transgender women.[5] Government documentation of gender is not required. Graduate programs are co-educational, so gender identity is not of concern.[6]

The original site of the Simmons College Graduate School of Social Work is featured on the Boston Women's Heritage Trail.[7]

In 2018 Simmons College decided to change their name to Simmons University after reorganizing the structure of the school.[8]


Simmons University 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[9])

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 (Upperclassman and Graduate housing)
  • Health Center and Residence Life Offices
  • Holmes Sports Center
  • South Hall (Wellness housing)
  • Alumnae Hall (Multipurpose room)
  • 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.


Simmons University reorganized its academic structure in 2018 to foster interdisciplinary learning and cross-departmental collaboration. Students now explore new inter-professional opportunities and create their own pathways to meaningful work.

  • College of Natural, Behavioral, and Health Sciences
    • School of Nursing
  • College of Organizational, Computational, and Information Sciences
    • School of Library and Information Science (SLIS), est. 1902[10][11]
    • School of Business
  • College of Social Sciences, Policy, and Practice
    • School of Social Work
  • The Gwen Ifill College of Media, Arts, and Humanities


Simmons University sponsors athletics teams in a variety of sports including crew, cross country, field hockey, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, and volleyball. The mascot is 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 New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) and the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC).


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. [12]

Simmons' environmental efforts earned the school a "C" on the College Sustainability Report Card 2010, published in Fall 2009 by the Sustainable Endowments Institute.[13]

Notable alumni

Simmons alumni include

Notable faculty

See also


  1. As of March 21, 2018. {{cite web |url=
  2. "History: About Simmons College". Simmons College.
  3. Massachusetts Colleges that have Closed, Merged, or Changed Names, Brown, Ray C., retrieved January 8, 2015
  4. "Online Master of Business Administration | Simmons College". Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  5. "Simmons College Opens Its Doors to Trans Students". The Advocate.
  6. "Admission Policy for Transgender Students FAQ". Retrieved December 1, 2017.
  7. "Back Bay East". Boston Women's Heritage Trail.
  8. "Simmons Announces University Designation". Retrieved October 5, 2018.
  9. "Simmons College School of Management - LEED Gold". Lee Kennedy Co Inc. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
  10. "Library Schools and Short Courses: Simmons College School of Library Science", American Library Annual 1917/1918, New York: R.R. Bowker
  11. June Richardson Donnelly (1918). "Views of Library School Directors: Simmons College". Public Libraries. Chicago: Library Bureau. 23 (1) via HathiTrust.
  12. "Environmental Commitments". Simmons College. Retrieved June 7, 2010.
  13. "Simmons College – Green Report Card 2010". June 30, 2008. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  14. Fox, Margalit. "Barbara Margolis, Prisoners’ Advocate, Dies at 79", The New York Times, July 12, 2009. Accessed July 21, 2009.
  15. "In Memoriam: Catherine (Norris) Norton". Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Retrieved September 7, 2015.

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