Helen G. Drinan

Helen G. Drinan has served as President of Simmons University in Boston since 2008. Under her leadership, Simmons has achieved university status, simplified its academic structure to enhance interdisciplinary study by creating four colleges, completed the largest fundraising campaign in its history ($100 million), welcomed the two largest freshman classes in its history, reconfigured its undergraduate curriculum around leadership development, developed world-class coed online graduate degree programs, and cemented its status as a premier institution for women scholars.

In leading the institution forward, Ms. Drinan has established herself as a national expert on women’s education as a pathway to developing successful leaders, with her comments and writings appearing in numerous media outlets including National Public Radio, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and Boston Business Journal. The most recent recognitions for her work on behalf of women’s and girls’ education and leadership include the Abigail Adams Award from the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus (2018); Silent Spring Rachel Carson Advocacy Award (2016); the MissionSAFE “Be the Change” Award (2015); Women’s Lunch Place Honoree (2014); Strong Women Strong Girls “Phenomenal Woman” (2014); Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts Leading Woman (2013); Woman LEAD “Woman Who Leads in Academia and Inspires Others” (2013); and the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Pinnacle Award for Excellence in Arts & Education (2012). Simmons was also named a top 100 women-led business by The Boston Globe in 2016 and 2017.
Ms. Drinan is a member of several organizations dedicated to empowering women including the Advisory Council of the Women in Public Service Project; 2020 Women on Boards, and the Massachusetts Women’s Forum.

Her experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines in the early ’70s with her husband and two small children provided her with formative multicultural experiences that have influenced her leadership style and sensitivity. President Drinan was one of five prominent Bostonians highlighted in The Boston Globe’s “50th Anniversary Peace Corps” feature article.

Read her full bio online: https://www.simmons.edu/about/university-leadership/president