Omari Scott Simmons


Omari Scott Simmons is a University Chair and Professor of Law at Wake Forest University School of Law. He is a leading expert in higher education policy and corporate governance. Professor Simmons is the author of numerous publications and frequently lectures on these topics to academic and nonacademic audiences across the country and abroad. He is a member of the American Law Institute.

Prior to entering academia, Professor Simmons worked as corporate counsel for two multinational corporations and as an associate at the law firm of Wilmer Hale in Washington, D.C. Immediately after law school, he clerked for the Honorable E. Norman Veasey, Chief Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court.

Professor Simmons is also the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Simmons Memorial Foundation (SMF), an award-winning nonprofit organization that provides a range of college access-related services to vulnerable students. Over a quarter century, Professor Simmons, on a volunteer basis, has helped more than a thousand talented students attain their higher education goals through his nonprofit organization. An organizational case study of SMF is captured in his book Potential on the Periphery: College Access from the Ground Up (Rutgers Univ. Press).

Professor Simmons received his undergraduate education at Wake Forest University; his Juris Doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania Law School; and a Master of Laws from the University of Cambridge. At the University of Pennsylvania, he received the Thouron Award and the Fontaine Fellowship. Professor Simmons has received multiple honors in recognition of his efforts promoting higher education opportunity including: the Winston-Salem Chronicle Community Service Award; the MERIT Hall of Fame Award; the Dr. Sadie T.M. Alexander Distinguished Graduate Award for Outstanding Service from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Black Law Students Association; and the MBNA Foundation’s Best Practices in Education Award.

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