Internal - Faculty & Staff

Simmons Announces Ninth President

February 10, 2020

Dear Simmons Community,

I am delighted to report that this morning the Simmons Board of Trustees unanimously voted to appoint Dr. Lynn Perry Wooten to become the ninth president of Simmons University, effective July 1, 2020.  

This is an important and exciting moment for Simmons, and one I am particularly happy to share with our community today.     

Lynn’s appointment comes following a thorough, inclusive and collaborative search. To those who attended one of the dozens of listening sessions we held last spring and summer, to those who submitted nominations and leads to our search partners, to those who served on the search committee, and to those who participated in interviewing finalists, I am profoundly grateful. This work that we’ve done together has culminated in the selection of a president who is uniquely suited to lead and advance the transformation that has begun at Simmons.  

Here are some important things I think you should know about our ninth president: 

  • A native of Philadelphia, Lynn has had a lifelong career in academia. She majored in accounting at North Carolina A&T State University, graduating as valedictorian of her class, went on to get her MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, and received her Ph.D. in Business Administration at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan in 1995.  
  • Lynn’s first academic appointment was at the University of Florida. In 1998, she returned to the Ross School of Business as a faculty member and taught corporate strategy and organizational behavior courses. She later served as Faculty Co-Director for Ross’ Center for Positive Organizations and the Executive Leadership Institute. Lynn was appointed Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs at Ross in 2011 and became Senior Associate Dean for Student & Academic Excellence in 2016.     
  • Since 2017, she has been the David J. Nolan Dean and Professor of Management and Organizations at Cornell University’s Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, where she was a member of the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business leadership team that encompassed the three schools — the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, the Johnson Graduate School of Management, and School of Hotel Administration.
  • Lynn’s research interests include crisis leadership, strategic human resources management, positive organizing routines, workforce diversity and competitive advantage, and development of emerging leaders. She has been a prolific author of journal articles and has published two books — Positive Organizing in a Global Society:  Understanding and Engaging Differences for Capacity Building and Inclusion and Leading Under Pressure:  From Surviving to Thriving Before, During and After a Crisis.  
  • Lynn is known for her collaborative and inclusive leadership style. People who have worked with her and for her all noted her ability to build consensus and move forward.  

The Board was deeply impressed with Lynn’s unique combination of experience, knowledge and engagement with students, faculty, and academic leaders — which will serve Simmons well as we build on our successes, continue to address our challenges, and build the One Simmons we envision for the future. She is collaborative, curious, and passionate about learning, education, and the student experience. 

Lynn comes from an academic family. Her mother was a teacher and her father was a social worker. Lynn’s husband, David Wooten, is the Alfred L. Edwards Collegiate Professor and University Diversity and Social Transformation Professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. They have two children, Jada, who will be a freshman at Brown University this fall, and Justin, who is graduating from the University of Michigan Law School in May.

Lynn was on campus today and will be available for more trips here to Boston so that she can continue her learning about Simmons and arrive on July 1 ready to keep our momentum going.  

We plan to have a community wide meeting later this spring where Lynn will be able to meet more students, faculty, staff and alumnae/i in person. We will schedule this session as soon as we can, and we will plan to live stream it. 

This announcement signals the start of a transition for Simmons, but there is much work to do as we close out this academic year and deliver on the expectations Helen has for all of us in her closing months. I look forward to the many opportunities we will have to talk about Helen’s extraordinary accomplishments over the last 12 years and to honor her service and leadership to the University.  

In closing, on behalf of the Board of Trustees, I would like to thank the presidential search committee, for their thoughtful deliberation, their time and their enthusiasm throughout the process. I’d also like to thank all of you for your interest, support and feedback.   

For more information, visit the Simmons website where you can read the press release, view FAQs and leave a message for President-elect Wooten. 

All the best,

Regina Pisa

Regina Pisa, Chair
Board of Trustees

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