Recipients of the: Legacy Award in Music Education
Dr. Otis D. Simmons
In 1966, Dr. Otis D. Simmons was invited by then President Levi Watkins to serve as chairperson of the Department of Music. With that appointment Dr. Simmons also filled duties as Professor of Choral/Vocal Music. In addition, Dr. Simmons was later asked to become the first Dean of the School of Music at Alabama State University.
Dr. Otis D. Simmons earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Kansas in 1953. He continued his education by earning a teaching certificate in 1956 and taking a Master of Music Education degree also from the University of Kansas in 1957, and in 1965, he reached the capstone of his educational career at the University of Kansas when he was awarded the Ph.D. degree.
In his first placement out of college in 1953, Dr. Simmons became the choir director, and voice instructor at Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas. During his tenure in Arkansas, Simmons prepared the choir for a performance on ABC television during a nationwide broadcast of the United Negro College Fund series.
In 1958, Dr. Simmons became an assistant professor of Music at Texas Southern University. There he also conducted the University Choir, taught voice and taught voice methods classes. During this time Dr. Simmons sang with the Houston Symphony Orchestra. He also directed the eighty-four piece Houston Symphony Orchestra before a crowd of 2,000.
The pinnacle of Dr. Simmons' teaching career came at Alabama State University. At ASU, Dr. Simmons spearheaded the associate accreditations of the Department of Music in 1972, and led the full accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Music in 1974. He also played a key role in designing the ASU music building.
Dr. Simmons has authored nine publications, ranging from Neurophysiology and Muscular Functions of the Vocal Mechanism to Teaching Music in the Urban Schools. Dr. Simmons has also authored a manuscript entitled, "Singing with Confidence through research and technique Coupling."
Since retiring Dr. Simmons serves as an adjunct professor of Music at Troy State University in Montgomery.
Upcoming and Recent Programs
The Annual Ralph D. Abernathy Civil Rights Lecture Series
In 1955, Rev. Ralph D. Abernathy helped organize the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) and worked with Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a key leader of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Named in memory of the noted ASU graduate and civil rights leader, this annual lecture series honors the legacy of well-known and little-known activists who contributed to the success of the modern civil rights movement. Sponsored in partnership with the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA).
Lift Every Voice:
A newsletter from The National Center for the Study of Civil Rights and African-American Culture at Alabama State University. Fall 2015, Vol. 1, Issue 1.
A Visual Interpretation of African-Americans’ Struggle for Recognition as Human Beings and First-Class Citizens
Commissioned by The National Center for the Study of Civil Rights and African-American Culture at Alabama State University
- National Center Honors Alumnus for Outstanding Years of Service
- Remembering civil rights activist Medgar Evers
- New president brings sense of urgency to Morehouse
- Jeannie Graetz Literacy Program
- Inscription On Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial To Be Removed
- King's Forgotten Manifesto
- Harlem churches see gospel tourist boom on Sundays
- A Plot of Land, a Path to Freedom
- Tourism tax, like all taxes, should have a sunset