Ruth Simmons

Ruth Simmons, who became the first African American to lead an Ivy League school when she was named president of Brown University in 2000, has announced her retirement. Simmons will leave her post in June, reports.

Simmons has been called the "Jackie Robinson of college presidents" for her groundbreaking role at the institution. But she's more than just a "first": Under her leadership, Brown increased its faculty by 20 percent, improved financial aid and built a new home for its medical school.

The Dillard University and Harvard graduate will also be remembered for bravely encouraging Brown to come to terms with the role that slavery played in its history. In 2003 she appointed a Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice to investigate ties between the New England slave trade and the university. 


In other news: A Great Year for Underground Rap.