Carroll Harris Simms, TSU professor and sculptor, dies at 85

Carroll Harris Simms, an artist, author, professor and key figure in shaping Texas Southern University’s art department, died Monday after a long illness. He was 85.

Simms joined the TSU faculty in 1950 and taught sculpture and ceramics until retiring in 1987. Along with art department founder John Biggers, who arrived in 1949, Simms “built that department from the ground up,” said Alvia Wardlaw, director and curator of TSU’s University Museum. “It was a challenge, but they also had a great freedom, because they could create exactly the kinds of programs they wanted.”

“Dr. Biggers once said, ‘If you can get through Simms, you can get through anything,’” said Sifuentes, who teaches art at TSU. Still, “(Simms’) laugh could be heard throughout the whole department.”