Professor Simmons is featured in Wake Forest Magazine in a section titled Portraits of Pro Humanitate. In this photographic feature, Wake Forest Magazine profiles Professor Simmons’ work with the Simmons Memorial Foundation:
His cause: He is co-founder and executive director of the Simmons Memorial Foundation, which encourages underrepresented students from North Carolina and rural Delaware to attend college.
“My nonprofit work has focused on providing a foundation of encouragement for all students. To perform this critical function, you don’t need an advanced degree, an elected office or success in the business world. It simply takes a willingness to encourage others plus the ability to empathize and understand the people you are assisting. My father best described our work: ‘We’re lifting others on our shoulders, giving them the chance to climb over a fence to face brighter possibilities and educational opportunities.’ We do this recognizing that we may never get over the fence and actually see what is on the other side. For example, I may never go to Harvard or Yale, find a cure for cancer or be president, but I know these students can. Ultimately, we must challenge them to be their best and fulfill their potential even when they don’t see it. Our satisfaction comes from knowing that students have traveled farther and benefited from the assistance we offer.”