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    RuthSimmons-WebBorn on July 3, 1945, in Grapeland, TX; Simmons was the youngest of 12 children born to sharecroppers Isaac and Fannie Stubblefield in Grapeland, Texas. Sharecropping was on the wane, and when Ruth was seven years old the family moved to the fifth ward of Houston, a poverty-stricken neighborhood. There Isaac Stubblefield became a factory worker and later the minister of the Mount Hermon Missionary Baptist Church, while Fannie Stubblefield scrubbed floors in the homes of well-to-do white families. Simmons admitted that while the family was poor, the poverty made her recognize those things of true value in life, such as love and intellect. She also learned to negotiate, as her parents allowed her and her siblings to end their own disputes with a minimum of interference.


    Radcliffe College, admissions officer, 1970-72; University of New Orleans, assistant professor of French, 1973-77; assistant dean in college of liberal arts, 1975-76; California State University at Northridge, administrative coordinator for National Endowment for the Humanities studies project, 1978-79, acting director of international programs and visiting associate professor of Pan-African studies, 1978-79; University of Southern California at Los Angeles, assistant dean, 1979-82, associate dean of the graduate school, 1982-83; Princeton University, director of Butler College, 1983-85, acting director of Afro-American studies program and assistant dean 1986-87, associate dean, 1987-90; Spelman College, provost, 1990-92; Princeton University, vice-provost, 1992; Smith College, president, 1995-00; Brown University, president, 2001-.

    Ruth Simmons has made an illustrious career of serving students in higher education for more than two decades. Rising through the administrative ranks of various institutions of higher learning, Simmons made history in 1995 when she became the first African American to be inaugurated president of Smith College, an elite all-women college in Northampton, Massachusetts. In 2001, making history once again, she became the president of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, thus becoming the first black woman to reside over an Ivy League institution. Simmons's many talents are acclaimed by her peers. She is known for her intellect, empathy, and ability to achieve her goals. In the words of Princeton University president, Harold T. Shapiro, quoted in the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education (JBHE), "Ruth Simmons represents quality, Ruth Simmons represents integrity, and Ruth Simmons has a vision of how higher education can serve the society that supports it."

    While Simmons was still at Dillard, a year-long exchange program gave her the opportunity to study at Wellesley, a prestigious all-women college in the Northeast. The experience further cemented Simmons's belief in her abilities when she compared herself favorably to the students from privileged backgrounds.

    After graduating summa cum laude from Dillard in 1967 Simmons spent a year studying French at the university in Lyons, France, on a Fulbright fellowship. For the next decade Ruth Simmons' career decisions hinged on those of her husband. When her husband's work took the couple to New Orleans, Simmons hired on as an assistant professor of French at the University of New Orleans, where she later became the assistant dean of the college of liberal arts. Other administrative positions followed. In the late 1970s the Simmons and their two children made their home in Southern California, where Ruth administered a grant for the National Endowment for the Humanities, acted as visiting associate professor of Pan-African studies at California State University at Northridge, and held positions as assistant and associate dean at the University of Southern California at Los Angeles.

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    WBOK-Radio Interview with Uncle Luke PDF Print E-mail
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    Dillard University will host a lecture Thursday (Sept. 25) by Luther "Uncle Luke" Campbell, a founding member of the Miami hip-hop group 2 Live Crew, about the current state of hip-hop.

    'MasterChef' contestant Christian Green kicks off culinary program at Dillard University with demonstration PDF Print E-mail
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    Masterchef contestant Christian Green will have a cooking demonstration on Thursday, Sept. 25 at his alma mater. (Masterchef)
    Judy Walker, | The Times-Picayune By Judy Walker, | The Times-Picayune 
    September 22, 2014 at 6:30 AM, updated September 22, 2014 at 6:33 AM

    Are you a fan of Fox TV's "MasterChef" and New Orleans native Christian Green, who did so well on this season's episodes of the cooking competition? You might want to check out a cooking demonstration he will do on Thursday, Sept. 25, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Kearney Hall at Dillard University.

    Admission for the public is $8, which includes lunch of the dish he's demonstrating. In tribute to chef Leah Chase, he is preparing her Shrimp Clemenceau. University students with a dining card will not be charged.

    Green is a Dillard graduate, and his demonstration is the first in a series of culinary events from the Ray Charles Program in African American Material Culture.

    "He's Dillard's own. We're testing the waters, and celebrating the launch of the program," said Zella Palmer, new chair of the Ray Charles program. "We're really excited to get him on board, and for students to be involved. We're going to have student cook-offs."

    Palmer was named to the position, previously held by noted scholar Jessica Harris, in July. The program aims to be the epicenter for the study, preservation and proliferation of culinary studies in the southeastern United States.

    "We're revamping the program and figuring out our next steps, working towards having a minor in Culinary Studies at Dillard," Palmer said. To be scheduled soon is a class on cooking and gardening, with program partners Seventh Ward Neighborhood Association and the LSU AgCenter. The program is also partnering with the SoFAB Foundation and, on campus, Dillard dining services, part of Sodexco.

    Chef Gason Nelson is also scheduled for a cooking demonstration. Palmer said there may be pop-up restaurants showcasing local African-American chefs. 

    Top scholars will be invited to teach and lecture, Palmer said. She is teaching students how to document oral histories with home cooks, in conjunction with the Dillard film department. The Seventh Ward Neighborhood Association is helping identify subjects.

    Although her father's side of the family is from New Orleans, Palmer grew up in Chicago, where she received a bachelor's degree in Bilingual/Bicultural Education from Northeastern Illinois University. She holds a Master's Degree in Museum Studies from the University of Toronto, Canada, and has studied Cuban History and Spanish at the University of Havana, Cuba.

    Palmer has lived in New Orleans six years.  She turned down other opportunities to intern at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum with founder Liz Williams, which started her culinary career. She also has served as curator at the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago.

    Last year, her documentary cookbook, 
    "New Orleans con Sabor Latino: The History and Passion of Latin Cooking," was published by the University Press of Mississippi, and she is co-producer of a PBS documentary with WYES about Latin American cuisine in New Orleans. It is set for release this fall.

    The Ray Charles Foundation supports the university's African American Material Culture Program. In a press release about her appointment, Palmer stated, "My goal is to develop Dillard University's African American Material Culture Program by going into the kitchens, the communities, the classrooms, the farms and the organizations to bring into the light the living culinary arts and traditions of the south."

    And in a recent interview, she said, "We're launching to go big."

    Sunday Journal WYLD INTERVIEW PDF Print E-mail
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    (New Orleans) – New Orleans CityBusiness recently named two Dillard University women to the 2014 class of “Women of the Year.” Therese Badon, vice president for development for the UNCF and Dr. Toya Barnes-Teamer are among 50 women being recognized for their career and business accomplishments as well as their contributions to the New Orleans community.

                Badon, who graduated from Dillard University in 1987 with a B.A. in Business Administration and Management, has more than 12 years experience in fundraising administration. In 2008, she joined the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), the nation’s largest private provider of scholarships and other educational support to minority and low-income students. She has held several positions with increasing responsibility including regional development director and her current position as vice president for development. Previously, Badon served as executive director of alumni relations and annual giving at Dillard University.

                “I am humbled and honored by being selected for a second time as a City Business Woman of the Year, ” said Badon. “An honor like this speaks to the personal commitment I have made in serving the community and region in which I live.  I believe that in order to truly affect change, you must be rooted in the community and working towards making it a better place for all to live, work and play.”

                Dr. Barnes-Teamer has more than 20 years experience in higher education administration. As vice president for student success at Dillard, Barnes-Teamer is responsible for student affairs, student support services, public safety as well as campus and residential life. Prior to joining the executive staff at Dillard, she served as senior vice president for academic and student affairs for the Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTS) and has held positions at Loyola University and the University of New Orleans. She earned both a B.A. degree in Visual Arts/Communications and M.S. in Guidance and Counseling from Loyola University in New Orleans.  Barnes-Teamer received her PhD in Higher Education Administration from the University of New Orleans.

                “I am thankful and appreciative of this recognition by New Orleans CityBusiness, said Barnes-Teamer.  “It is humbling to be among such a special group of women, many of whom I've admired close-up and from afar. I extend congratulations to all honorees.

                Both women will be honored during the 16th annual “Women of the Year” luncheon on Nov. 14 at the Hyatt Regency hotel, where an overall “Woman of the Year” will be announced. Badon and Barnes-Teamer will also be spotlighted in a special insert in the Nov. 28 issue of CityBusiness.  

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