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Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School inaugurates Sims as president

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Angela Sims

After about a year-and-half on the job, Angela Sims has been officially inaugurated as president of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. Sims said the multi-day ceremony was delayed from April because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rochester City Council President Loretta Scott, Brighton Town Supervisor Bill Moehle, Mayor Lovely Warren, Brockport College President Heidi Macpherson, Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter and District Attorney Sandra Doorley all took part in the ceremonies.

The celebration also highlights a milestone, Sims is the first Black woman to be named president of a college in the Finger Lakes. She said the milestone makes her think about her decades-long career in religious higher education. Sims said that there’s still a need to “wrestle with patriarchy,” and she wants more institutions to be open to change “and not be so quick to suggest that there’s not work yet to be done.”

Sims said there’s a need to focus on finding Black talent.

“I think it still says we have a lot of work to do when we talk about equity,” said Sims. “when we talk about access, and we have to examine our own commitment in the way that we cultivate our relationships with people, so that we are identifying talent early on, making sure that we are mentoring individuals, that we are providing opportunities for them, and that we make room at the table for others.”

As for her goals for the 202- year-old seminary’s future, Sims said she wants to increase her school’s outreach into Rochester’s poorest neighborhoods with a focus on advocating for more broadband home internet access in specific communities.

“In this moment,” said Sims. “I think that we should be thinking about how we can work with legislators, work with service providers, to sorta narrow the gap.”

She said the need for home internet access is highlighted by the pandemic’s impact on education. Most schools are at least partially remote. Sims is concerned that students, especially K-12 students, without broadband access may find themselves behind their counterparts after the pandemic is over.

Sims also said her school must embrace change as well. Sims wants instructors to take advantage of their new location in the Neighborhood of the Arts and connect with nonprofits throughout the area to shape their curriculum for the common good. The school relocated from its longtime home near Highland Park last year.

James Brown is a reporter with WXXI News. James previously spent a decade in marketing communications, while freelance writing for CITY Newspaper. While at CITY, his reporting focused primarily on arts and entertainment.