Dr. James Young Simms Jr.

Published 2:07 pm Tuesday, April 30, 2024

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Dr. James Young Simms Jr.Dr. James Young Simms Jr. passed away on April 25. He was born on Nov. 1, 1936, a son of the late James Young Simms Sr. and Vera Ellen Seibert. 

Dr. Simms was Elliott Emeritus Professor of History and teaching Fellow in the Wilson Center. 

Dr. Simms joined the faculty of Hampden-Sydney in 1968. He served in the United States Marine Corps following graduation from the University of Maryland in 1958. He also taught at Eastern Michigan University and George Mason University. In addition to his service as faculty member, Jim was also the first varsity soccer coach and led the program from 1968 to 1980. Subsequently, in 2010, the soccer locker room at Hampden-Sydney was dedicated in his honor. Dr. Simms also coached little league soccer and baseball. Dr. Simms was the only tenured faculty member at Hampden–Sydney to be inducted into the H-SC Sports Hall of Fame. In 2005, Dr. Simms became the Director of the Military Leadership and National Security Studies program. During his tenure at H-SC, he taught a variety of classes, including, Western Civilization, Western Man and Histories of Europe and War. His area of expertise was Russian agriculture-peasant wellbeing- in late Imperial Russia. He has published several articles, op/eds, book reviews, papers and co-authored Modernization and Revolution: Dilemmas in Progress in Late Imperial Russia. Throughout his tenure at H-SC, Dr. Simms was a dedicated faculty member. He served on committees including Budget, Publications, Academic Affairs, Faculty Affairs, Athletics, Gender Issues and more than a few Dean of Faculty and Presidential searches. Dr. Simms served as an advisor to the College Republicans and Union Philanthropic Society. He performed in a few plays for the Fine Arts Dept. Dr. Simms was also an avid dancer, having taught dance classes on campus. 

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In 2009, Dr. Simms received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award for Distinguished Service. He received the four Fuqua Teaching Awards, the Crawley Award for Distinguished Service and the Cabell Award for Distinguished Teaching. He was awarded several National Endowment of the Humanities grants and a Fellowship of the Russian Research Center at Harvard University grant. The senior class of 2009 presented Dr. Simms with their recognition award and the Board of Trustees presented him with their Prize for Teaching and Research at the 1990 commencement. 

Dr. Simms is survived by his partner, Kay Young; daughter, Edith Simms (Joseph Nesbit); three stepchildren, Marlise Green (Tom), Leslie Wingfield (Kevin) and Justin Young and five grandchildren, Hannah Wingfield, Jacob Wingfield, Thomas Wingfield, Spencer Green and Kate Green. 

A private graveside service will take place on the campus of Hampden-Sydney. A memorial service will follow at a later date. 

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Wilson Center for Leadership at Hampden-Sydney, or the Southside ASPCA. 

Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory, Lynchburg is assisting the family. To send condolences, please visit www.tharpfuneralhome.com.