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Simmons Celebrates Founder’s Day

October 31, 2013

Simmons faculty, staff, and students gathered in the Common Grounds Café October 30 to celebrate the birthday of John Simmons, the College’s founder. Members of the College community enjoyed cake, sparking cider, and the chance to pose with a six-foot-tall birthday card signed by hundreds in John Simmons’s honor.

After a welcome address by President Helen Drinan, School of Social Work Associate Professor of Practice Denise Hildreth delivered a Founder’s Day speech thanking John Simmons for his visionary commitment to women-centered education.

“Thank you for your recognition of the link between education, independence and freedom – freedom to determine the paths of our lives, not from a narrowly predetermined set of gendered expectations, but from a vast array of opportunities where we can find our life’s passion and purpose and make our own choices in navigating our careers,” she said.

Student Emily Singer ’15 also took to the podium to read her essay comparing the modern Simmons student to the College’s first attendees. Singer’s essay was one of 21 entries in this year’s Founder’s Day Essay Contest (up from seven last year) and was selected as the winner by a panel of judges, earning her a $1,000 prize.

“I love this school because it memorializes its past without romanticizing it,” she said.

Earlier in the day, a small group made the trek to Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge for an intimate ceremony at John Simmons’s grave. Archivist Jason Wood told the story of the College’s founder, a clothing manufacturer credited with inventing the ready-to-wear suit. President Drinan said she hoped to expand the trip to include more attendees next year. “It was really a quite touching and historical event,” she said.

See what the Simmons community has to say about John Simmons’s legacy in a special Founder’s Day edition of “Simmons Speaks.”

Pictured Above: President Drinan, Emily Singer ’15, and Dean for Student Life Sarah Neill.