SMF Executive Director addresses Milford High School students

SMF Executive Director Omari Scott Simmons Talks About What Ignited his Passion to Help Others on WBOC-TV

Potential on the Periphery: College Access from the Ground Up

Book Reading @Malaprops Bookstore/Cafe Asheville, NC | March 12th 6:00-7:30 pm

Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe 55 Haywood Street | Asheville, NC 28801  828.254.6734 |

Potential on the Periphery: College Access from the Ground Up

“Simmons provides families and educators with valuable information on effective practices involving both access to college and academic success. His analysis includes practical suggestions and a substantial review of the literature, along with policy recommendations and actual solutions. Most importantly, he brings first-hand experience in working with students throughout their higher education experiences, and he inspires us with their stories.”

–Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, President of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County


“The brilliantly told story of a mentoring program, launched and sustained by an African-American family, which nourishes access and success in college for first-generation, low-income youths of all races. This is a playbook to study for social scientific and practical answers.
–Joseph A. Soares, author of The Power of Privilege: Yale and America’s Elite Colleges



Even high-performing students sometimes need assistance to transform their high school achievement into a higher education outcome that matches their potential, especially when those students come from vulnerable backgrounds. Without intervention, many of these students, lost in the transition between secondary school and higher education, would not attend selective colleges that provide greater opportunities. Potential on the Periphery profiles the Simmons Memorial Foundation (SMF), a grassroots non-profit organization co-founded by author Omari Scott Simmons, that promotes college access for students in North Carolina and Delaware. Simmons discusses how the organization has helped students secure admission and succeed in college, using this example to contextualize the broader realm of existing education practice, academic theory, and public policy. Using data gleaned from interviews with past student participants in the programs run by the SMF, Simmons illuminates the underlying factors thwarting student achievement, such as inadequate information about college options, limited opportunities for social capital acquisition, financial pressures, self-doubt, and political weakness. Simmons then identifies policy solutions and pragmatic strategies that college access organizations can adopt to address these factors. 


Available for purchase at the following outlets: 

Rutgers University Press


Barnes & Noble



2017-18 Sager Speaker Series with Craig Glidden, Executive Vice President & General Counsel of General Motors Co., Interviewed by Prof. Omari Simmons

Delaware Supreme Court Justice Randy Holland kicks off WFU Law Business Law Program’s new Sager Speaker Series


Pictured from Left to Right: Justice Randy J. Holland, Delaware Supreme Court; Professor Omari Simmons; WFU Law Dean Suzanne Reynolds; and Thomas Sager, Partner, Ballard Spahr LLP, former DuPont SVP and General Counsel.

Delaware Supreme Court Justice Randy J. Holland spoke at Wake Forest Law at noon on Thursday, April 7, in the Worrell Professional Center, Room 1312, as part of the Business Law Program’s new Sager Speaker Series. Professor Omari Simmons interviewed Justice Holland in a “Conversation With” style format.

The Sager Speaker Series is named for Thomas Sager (JD ’76), former vice president and general counsel for Dupont Co., and current partner at Ballard Spahr LLP. Mr. Sager was a strong and early proponent of diversity in the legal profession and helped pioneer the DuPont Convergence and Law Firm Partnering Program, or DuPont Legal Model, an industry benchmark that has received national acclaim for its innovative approach to the business of practicing law.  Read More



Dean Suzanne Reynolds (JD ’77), Professor Omari Simmons and Innocence and Justice Clinic earn Winston-Salem Chronicle’s Community Service Awards


Since 1985, Winston-Salem’s oldest and most-respected community newspaper has invited elected officials, business professionals, community leaders, residents and other stakeholders in the community to take part in the award ceremony designed to honor individuals throughout the area for their hard work and dedication to improving lives. Last Saturday evening, April 23, hundreds of people gathered at the Donald Julian Reaves Center on the campus of Winston-Salem State University for the 31st edition of he annual event.

Professor Simmons and Dean Reynolds were presented with Community Service Awards, along with Paulette Lewis-Moore, the Rev. Kelly Carpenter, Bishop Todd Fulton and Elizabeth Speight. The Innocence and Justice Clinic, led by Rabil, was one of the recipients of the Organization of the Year award, along with the Winston-Salem Urban League.

The community service awards event was created to recognize those individuals who benefit the overall quality of life for the community, many of whom are often unsung heroes who go about their daily lives helping to improve the conditions of the city, according to Chronicle Publisher Emeritus Ernie Pitt.

The following article,  “The Chronicle Honors Community Servants”, by Tevin Stinson, was originally published in the Winston-Salem Chronicle on April 28.  Read More

31st Annual METCO Director’s Association Conference Photos

It was an honor to deliver the keynote address for the 31st Annual METCO Director’s Association Conference on December 4th.  METCO is truly one of the great success stories in U.S. education with approximately a fifty-year track record creating educational opportunities for vulnerable youth.  It was great to visit Massachusetts and engage with a wonderful organization composed of passionate educators. To learn more about METCO click here.