U.S. News to honor Simmons tonight

For President Ruth Simmons, November is turning out to be quite a heady month. U.S. News and World Report will honor Simmons as one of “America’s Best Leaders,” the magazine announced today, making it the second national publication in as many weeks to honor Simmons with an award.

Earlier this month Glamour, the popular women’s magazine, named the four female presidents of Ivy League schools – Simmons, Harvard University’s Drew Faust, Princeton University’s Shirley Tilghman and the University of Pennsylvania’s Amy Gutmann – among its Women of the Year for 2007.

This time around, Simmons doesn’t have to share the spotlight with as many of her Ivy League peers – Tilghman is the only other university president to make the U.S. News list this year.

Other recognizable names among this year’s 17 honorees include movie-star-turned-California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, actor and Parkinson’s disease activist Michael J. Fox and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. – also a 2007 Glamour Woman of the Year.

Simmons will attend an event recognizing this year’s U.S. News honorees tonight in New York City, wrote Assistant to the President Marisa Quinn in an e-mail to The Herald.

Leaders honored by U.S. News in past years have ranged from the staff of the New Orleans Times-Picayune to billionaire philanthropist Warren Buffet, Apple chief executive officer Steve Jobs and media mogul Oprah Winfrey.

U.S. News – probably best known among Brown students for its highly scrutinized annual ranking of America’s best colleges – said in a press release today that it teams up with the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government to give the award in order to identify exemplary leaders at a time when “public confidence in American leadership” is “spiraling downward.”

In today’s issue, U.S. News also reported the results of a poll undertaken with the Center for Public Leadership, which found that over three-quarters of respondents “believe there is a leadership crisis in this country,” the release said. U.S. News’ annual leaders issue is aimed at “highlighting the country’s finest leaders and exploring the critical elements of leadership in today’s society.”

“These men and women have taken bold, positive steps to bridge the nation’s leadership gaps,” said U.S. News editor Brian Kelly in the release. “These leaders have embraced, challenged and defied convention to lead in authentic and effective ways and, in doing so, genuinely inspire the rest of the world.”

The criteria considered in choosing the leaders included “the ability to inspire a shared vision, to challenge established processes and to achieve measurable results in their respective fields,” the release said. Selections were made by a series of committees organized by the Kennedy School center that were intended to be “nonpartisan and independent.”

But Simmons may have had at least one partisan of her own on the selection committee charged with examining arts and humanities, religion and education – Rhode Island School of Design President Roger Mandle. A committee member, Mandle spoke glowingly of Simmons’ leadership qualities at a signing ceremony for a new joint-degree program between the two schools earlier this fall.