The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents announced the approval of the new Ruth J. Simmons Center for Race and Justice. Prairie View A&M University announced its creation in June following the death of George Floyd and the civil unrest that ensued.
President Simmons mentioned the formation of The Center along with other initiatives in an open letter to the university community. She acknowledged that “Fighting racism and discrimination and upholding justice must always be among our highest callings.”
The Center will engage research, publishing, and training to develop strategies aimed at overturning systemic biases that impede minorities and other groups’ ability to access their full rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution.
Endowed professor of political science, Melanye Price, Ph.D., will lead The Center, which will be a hub of learning research, and activism. Plans for The Center include:
- Requiring all incoming students to take a course on the history of race, class, and gender in the US.
- Creating a Research Fellowship program that will bring scholars from across the nation to the campus annually.
- An Activist-in-Residence position, which will bring advocates, activists, and those who have worked on behalf of justice to the campus to build on our students’ long history of political engagement.
On June 11, 2020, HEB Chairman Charles Butt became The Center’s first donor with a $1 million personal gift to Prairie View A&M University in honor of and to add President Simmons’ name. When I learned of Mr. Butt’s gift, I was overwhelmed,” said President Simmons. “His generosity to the children of the State of Texas and his concern for the quality of education afforded Prairie View students is inspiring to us all. Our students can learn a good deal from his humanity and the manner in which he lives and practices his values.”
The Ruth J. Simmons Center for Race and Justice launches in 2021.
About Prairie View A&M University: Designated an institution of “the first class” in the Texas Constitution, Prairie View A&M University is the second-oldest public institution of higher education in the state. With an established reputation for producing engineers, nurses, and educators, PVAMU offers baccalaureate degrees, master’s degrees, and doctoral degree programs through nine colleges and schools. A member of The Texas A&M University System, the university is dedicated to fulfilling its land-grant mission of achieving excellence in teaching, research, and service.