Simmons University
Former names
Simmons College (1899–2018)
TypePrivate university
Established1899; 125 years ago (1899)
Endowment$225.6 million (2023)[1]
PresidentLynn Perry Wooten
Academic staff
224 full-time/648 part-time
Location, ,
United States
CampusUrban, 12 acres (4.9 ha)
AffiliationsColleges of the Fenway

Simmons University (previously Simmons College) is a private university in Boston, Massachusetts. It was established in 1899 by clothing manufacturer John Simmons. In 2018, it reorganized its structure and changed its name to a university. Its undergraduate program is women-focused while its graduate programs are co-educational.

Simmons is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.[2] As of 2020, 83 percent of applicants to undergraduate programs were accepted.[3] The university is divided into two campuses in the Fenway-Kenmore neighborhood totaling 12 acres (4.9 ha), one of which has five academic buildings and the other of which has nine Georgian-style residential buildings.[4]

The university enrolls approximately 1,736 undergraduates and 4,527 graduate students.[5] Its athletics teams compete in NCAA Division III as the Sharks.


Simmons was founded in 1899 with a bequest by John Simmons, a wealthy clothing manufacturer in Boston. Simmons founded the college, called Simmons 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.[6] Sarah Louise Arnold was the school's first dean[7] (she also later served as national president of the Girl Scouts).[8]

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.[9] (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.[6]

The school's MBA program was the first in the world designed specifically for women.[10] Today, the undergraduate program is women-centered, while the graduate schools are coed.[11]

In 2014, Simmons College teamed up with for-profit online program manager 2U, a deal that would generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues for the school.[12]

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.[13] Government documentation of gender is not required. (Graduate programs are co-educational, so gender identity is not of concern.)[14]

In 2016, the MBA program went online as MBA@Simmons, and began admitting men.[15]

In 2018, Simmons College changed its name to Simmons University after reorganizing the structure of the school.[16]


Simmons University is currently divided into two campuses located in the Fenway-Kenmore neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. One campus is home to five academic buildings referred to as the Academic Campus. The other campus, referred to as the Residential Campus, is home to nine residential buildings for undergraduate students. The original site of the Simmons College Graduate School of Social Work is featured on the Boston Women's Heritage Trail.[17]

In November 2020, a plan for a single campus was launched by the university called One Simmons. This plan aims to combine the two campuses into a single campus and create a 21-story "Living and Learning Center." This will include 1,100 dorm rooms, classrooms, and athletic facilities. Additionally, the plan outlines renovations to the Main College Building and Lefavour Hall. Lefavour Hall specifically will be outfitted with a new library and a new state of the art science center. Following the completion of these renovations in spring of 2022, the Park Science Center has been closed. It is going to be taken down to build the new Living and Learning Center. The project is scheduled to break ground in Fall 2022 and open in Fall 2026.[18]

In order to achieve such an endeavor, Simmons University entered into an agreement with Skanska, a multinational construction and property development company. This partnership has two stated goals. First, Skanska will build the new Living and Learning Center building, and in exchange, Simmons University will give Skanska a 99-year lease for the grounds of the residential campus.[18] Secondly, Skanska will plan and execute commercial development of the former residential campus after the construction of the Living and Learning Center is completed.[19]

Simmons College Main College Building

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:

Morse Hall, located on the residential campus
Bartol Hall, one of the dining halls at Simmons

Student body

According to the College Scorecard, the racial and ethnic composition of the undergraduate population is 62% white, 11% Asian, 8% Hispanic, 6% black, and 5% non-resident alien. 30% of the undergraduate student body is Pell Grant eligible.[21]


Simmons received 2,905 first-year applications for admission in fall 2020. They admitted 2,398 applicants (82.5% acceptance rate) and enrolled 451. The average high school GPA of first-year students enrolled in fall 2020 was 3.69; the middle 50% range of SAT composite scores was 1080-1250; and the middle 50% range of ACT composite scores was 24–29.[22]


Former President Susan Scrimshaw signed the American College & 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.[23]


Simmons University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.[2] Its most popular undergraduate majors, by number out of 412 graduates in 2022, were:[24]

Simmons University reorganized its academic structure in 2018 to foster interdisciplinary learning and cross-departmental collaboration among its constituent colleges:


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 athletes won some of the early national intercollegiate women's tennis championships in singles (Marjorie Sachs, 1932) and doubles (Dorrance Chase, 1930 and 1932, with Sachs).[27]

Notable alumnae

Simmons alumnae include:

Notable faculty

List of presidents

See also


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2023. Financial Reporting | Simmons University (Report).
  2. ^ a b Massachusetts Institutions – NECHE, New England Commission of Higher Education, retrieved May 26, 2021
  3. ^ "Simmons University". U.S. News & World Report.
  4. ^ "Simmons University Overview | CollegeData". Retrieved November 1, 2021.
  5. ^ "Simmons University". US Department of Education. Retrieved December 1, 2021.
  6. ^ a b "History: About Simmons College". Simmons College.
  7. ^ "Sarah Louise Arnold: The Suffragist Dean". Simmons University. Retrieved May 12, 2022.
  8. ^ "EDUCATION THEME OF SCOUT LEADER". The Birmingham News. October 11, 1925. p. 79. Retrieved May 12, 2022 – via
  9. ^ Massachusetts Colleges that have Closed, Merged, or Changed Names, Brown, Ray C., December 2, 2014, retrieved January 8, 2015
  10. ^ "Online Master of Business Administration | Simmons College". Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  11. ^ "Our Mission and History," Simmons University, 2022. Retrieved Aug. 23, 2022.
  12. ^ "Graduate programs have become a cash cow for struggling colleges. What does that mean for students?". PBS. September 18, 2017. Retrieved December 1, 2021.
  13. ^ "Simmons College Opens Its Doors to Trans Students". The Advocate. November 11, 2014.
  14. ^ "Admission Policy for Transgender Students FAQ". Retrieved December 1, 2017.
  15. ^ Valentina, Zarya. "The only all-female MBA program is closing—could it have been saved?" Fortune, Aug. 28, 2015. Retrieved Aug. 23, 2022.
  16. ^ "Simmons Announces University Designation". Retrieved October 5, 2018.
  17. ^ "Back Bay East". Boston Women's Heritage Trail.
  18. ^ a b c d Simmons University. “One Simmons.” Simmmons University. Simmons University, 2022. .
  19. ^ Probert, Annie. “Developer Proposes Massive Lab and Housing Complex Where Simmons Dorms Now Stand.” Boston Globe. January 7, 2022. .
  20. ^ "Simmons College School of Management - LEED Gold". Lee Kennedy Co Inc. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
  21. ^ "Simmons University". US Department of Education. Retrieved December 1, 2021.
  22. ^ "Common Data Set Simmons University 2020-2021". Simmons University. Retrieved June 28, 2024.
  23. ^ "Environmental Commitments". Simmons College. Retrieved June 7, 2010.
  24. ^ "Simmons University". U.S. Dept of Education. Retrieved February 28, 2023.
  25. ^ "Library Schools and Short Courses: Simmons College School of Library Science", American Library Annual 1917/1918, New York: R.R. Bowker, pp. 7 v, hdl:2027/nyp.33433069135071
  26. ^ Donnelly, June Richardson (1918). "Views of Library School Directors: Simmons College". Public Libraries. 23 (1). Chicago: Library Bureau. hdl:2027/hvd.hxdkbs – via HathiTrust.
  27. ^ "Pre-NCAA women's collegiate tennis". Tennis Forum. Retrieved May 25, 2021 – via (Boston Globe, 1929-1953. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 1954-1963.)
  28. ^ Fox, Margalit. "Barbara Margolis, Prisoners’ Advocate, Dies at 79", The New York Times, July 12, 2009. Accessed July 21, 2009.
  29. ^ "In Memoriam: Catherine (Norris) Norton". Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Retrieved September 7, 2015.
  30. ^ "College Corner", The Item of Millburn and Short Hills, September 1, 1966. Accessed May 6, 2021, via "Three Millburn High School alumnae have been named to the dean's list of scholars at Simmons College in Boston for the year..... Sondra A. Perl, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Herman Perl of South Orange Avenue, will be a sophomore in the department of education."
  31. ^ "Aline Yamashita". July 3, 2012. Retrieved October 15, 2021.
  32. ^ "William Mark Bellamy". Center for Strategic and International Studies. Retrieved July 13, 2020.
  33. ^ "Introduction · Presidents@Simmons · Presidents@Simmons". Retrieved November 26, 2023.

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