Graham To Head Simmons

Currier Co-Master To Be Acting President

Currier House co-master Barbara S. Graham will assume the role of acting president of Simmons College today.

"Simmons College is a unique and innovative institution, and I look forward to working with faculty, staff and the entire Simmons community during this transition," Graham said in a statement.

Graham indicated that she may not serve for very long, saying that Simmons would mount an "intensive early summer search" to find a new president.

Graham, who is the associate director for administration and programs in the Harvard University Library currently serves on the corporation of Simmons College, the college's governing board.

She received a master of science degree from the Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science, and masters and doctoral degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Linda Paresky, the chair of the Simmons College Corporation, said the corporation was pleased that Graham would fill in as president.

"The corporation feels very fortunate that Barbara Graham, a distinguished graduate who has been associated with the college for the past two decades, has agreed to serve Simmons," Paresky said in the statement.

Graham said she would continue to meet her commitments at Harvard while serving as acting president.

"I will honor my commitment on a reduced-time basis during this transition," Graham said in an interview last week. "My colleagues have been most supportive."

Other faculty members said the appointment was an honor for Graham.

"Being asked to step in this way is an honor as well as a challenge for [Graham]," said Pforzheimer University Professor Sidney Verba '53, who is director of the University Library.

"I know she can count on the support andcheerfulness of her colleagues at Harvard whileshe performs her temporary but demanding newduties across the river," he said in thestatement.

Graham may have to deal with some turmoil inthe faculty.

She will replace Jean Dowdall, who resignedabout two weeks ago, just weeks after a majorityof the tenured undergraduate faculty petitionedtrustees for her removal, according to The BostonGlobe.

This semester the Simmons faculty voted noconfidence in Dowdall's strategic plan and theprovost she appointed to oversee it.

Two deans resigned over differences with theadministration, and the provost quit in April. InJune 1993, then-president William J. Holmesretired after 23 years at the helm, quitting fivemonths after a faculty vote of no confidence.

But Graham downplayed the departure of bothpresidents.

"The former president retired after a long andsuccessful tenure," Graham said. "The currentpresident is resigning to accept a wonderful newposition in Washington."

Dowdall will become a senior fellow at theAmerican Council of Education