A native of Canton (Madison County) Mississippi, Dr. Kenneth L. Simmons, Sr. received his Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Education from Alcorn State University (formerly Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College) in 1956. He received his Master of Science degree in Industrial and Technical Education from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois in 1964. He received his Doctorate of Education in Industrial Education with a minor in Educational Administration from Mississippi State University in 1977.

Dr. Simmons’ professional career began as an instructor in the Department of Industrial Education at Alcorn in 1956. He joined the staff of Texas Southern University in July 1971 as assistant director of the Cooperative Education Program and coordinator of the Building Construction Technology Program. In 1972, Simmons returned to his alma mater as chairman of the Department of Industrial Education and Technology. In 1973, he secured federal funds and organized Alcorn’s first Cooperative Education Program. In 1974, he received an EPDA fellowship through the state Division of Vocational and Technical Education. He was employed with the research curriculum unit as a research specialist. After earning his doctorate degree, Simmons returned to Alcorn and resumed his leadership role in developing the new Industrial Technology Building, which was occupied in 1982 and named in his honor in 1996.

Throughout his career, Simmons published a vast number of articles and funded several research projects. In addition, he received numerous honors for his professional and community service, including: Community Leader of the Year Award; Award for Outstanding Service to Phi Beta Sigma; Award for Distinguished Service to Vocational Education; Faculty and Staff Alumnus of the Year; Alcornite of the Year (1985); Induction into the ASU National Hall of Honor (1991); Sigma of the Year Award; Faculty and Staff Alumni Award, and the Higher Education Appreciation Day – Working for Academic Excellence (HEADWAE) Outstanding Faculty Member Award.

Simmons held positions in various civic, educational and religious organizations, including as: President and Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Magnolia State Vocational Association; Secretary and President of Alpha Iota Sigma Fraternity; President of the Alcorn State University Sports Booster Club and campus alumni chapter; Chairman of the Credit Committee of the Claiborne County Teachers Federal Credit Union; President of the Kiwanis Club of Alcorn State University; Treasurer of the Richardson Primary School Boy Scouts; and as Treasurer and Deacon of Mount Olive M.B. Church in Lorman, MS. He was a member of the ASU National Alumni Association; Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.; American Vocational Association; Mississippi Association of Vocational Educators; American Council of Industrial Teachers; Phi Delta Kappa; Iota Lambda Sigma and Epsilon Pi Tau.

He was married to the former Christine Levarne Brown and they were parents to six adult children: Kenneth, Jr., Curtis, Sabrina, Kimberly, Brian, and Christopher. Dr. Simmons succumbed January 19, 1994. At the time of his death, he resided in Lorman, MS.