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Mills Quarterly Summer 2007 Alumnae Magazine

Your gifts to the Mills College Annual Fund

broaden Sonja’s world.

“Mills is doing all the right things to educate our minds, bodies, and spirits. I am constantly amazed at the passion and knowledge of my fellow students. Whether they are discussing global events, national political issues, or diversity on campus, the opinions of others are heard in an atmosphere of tolerance and respect. Because my peers teach me new things everyday, my education extends beyond the classroom. My awareness of the world expands.” — Sonja Miller, ’09, business economics major and recipient of a scholarship supported by the Mills College Annual Fund.

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Establish a Named Student Scholarship with a gift of $5,000 or more, and name the scholarship in honor of a relative, friend, or professor. A student will be selected as your scholar and will receive 100 percent of your gift.

Call 510.430.2366 or visit /giving to make a gift to the Mills College Annual Fund

and transform women’s lives today.







Mills Quarterly


The Making of a Lieu de Mémoire

by Professor Bert Gordon

Mills says farewell to the eucalyptus trees along Kapiolani Rd.


Commencement 2007 Congratulations graduates and welcome to the Alumnae Association!


Gloria Steinem

by Moya Stone, MFA ’03

A feminist icon visits and inspires the Mills community, family and friends by lecturing on feminism, language, and the sex power movement.


Mills Remembers A Daughter of the Dream

by Moya Stone, MFA ' 03

Mills says good-bye to a phenomenal woman who lived the dream.



edited by David Harrison Horton, MFA ’01

D E PA R T M E N T S 4

Inside Mills


Mills Matters





ABOUT THE COVER: Mills College is known for its beautiful green rolling hills, tranquil grounds and century-old eucalyptus trees that have a distinctive aroma and are colossal in size. Cover photo by Bruce Cook.


Mills Quarterly Volume XCVI Number 1 (USPS 349-900) Summer 2007 Alumnae Director Sheryl Bizé-Boutté, ’73

On This Issue

Acting Editor Sherrie Raynor, ’05 Design and Art Direction Benjamin Piekut, MA ’01 Assistant Editor Caroline Glesmann Contributing Writers Professor Bert Gordon, Jo Kaufman, Moya Stone, MFA ’03 Book Review Editor David Harrison Horton, MFA ’01 Editorial Assistance Wilma “Willi” Fuller, ’04, MFA ’06, Amber Williams, ’10 Quarterly Advisory Board Jennifer Neira Heystek, ’04, Marian Hirsch, ’75, Jane Cudlip King, ’42 Jane Redmond Mueller, ’68, Cathy Chew Smith, ’84 Ramona Lisa Smith, ’01, MBA ’02, Sharon K. Tatai, ’80 Class Notes Writers Alice London Bishop, ’58, Julia Bourland Chambers, ’93 Laura Compton, ’93, Barbara Bennion Friedlich, ’49 Sally Mayock Hartley, ’48, Marian Hirsch, ’75 Cathy Chew Smith, ’84, Judith Rathbone, MFA ’05 Special Thanks to Erinn Noel House, Jane Cudlip King, ’42 Board of Governors President Anita Aragon Bowers, ’63 Vice Presidents Linda Jaquez-Fissori, ’92 Diana Birtwistle Odermatt, ’60 Treasurer Kathleen Janes, ’69

This issue of your Quarterly showcases the strength of women, their impact in the arts and on feminism, and the ever-changing cycles of life within the Mills community. We celebrate commencement 2007, an eventful day in which family and friends cheer and look on as the excited graduates begin a new journey in life. Mills hosts a day with celebrated living legend Gloria Steinem, who speaks to the Mills community, family, and friends about feminism today and how it can remain vital in the lives of all women. We explore the world of art and examine alumna Phyllis Pacin’s works in progress and fascination with clay. Mills Professor of History Bert Gordon assists us in saying goodbye to Mills’ beloved eucalyptus trees along Kapiolani Rd. As a personal goodbye to our towering friends, I include a poem my mother recited to me when I was a child – Trees, a simple poem filled with appreciation and sincerity.

Executive Director Sheryl Bizé-Boutté, ’73 Alumnae Trustees Susan Brown Penrod, ’71, Gayle Rothrock, ’68 Sharon K. Tatai, ’80 Governors Lila Abdul-Rahim, ’80, Michelle Balovich, ’03 Micheline A. Beam, ’72, Marie Bowman, ’78 Lynda Campfield, ’00, Vivian Chin, ’89 Beverly Curwen, ’71, Rina Faletti, ’81 Cynthia Guevara, ’04, Nangee Warner Morrison, ’63 Karlin Sorenson, ’92, Rita Stuckey, ’01 Regional Governors Joyce Menter Wallace, ’50, Eastern Great Lakes Nancy Sanger Pallesen, ’64, Middle Atlantic Alice Zakian, ’73, Middle California Judith Smrha, ’87, Midwest Linda Cohen Turner, ’68, North Central Nina Schneider, ’90, Northeast Alice Zakian, ’73, Northern California Gayle Rothrock, ’68, Northwest Alice Zakian, ’73, Rocky Mountains Colleen Almeida Smith, ’92, South Central Ann Cavanaugh, ’65, Southeast Julie Almazan, ’92, Southern California Elaine Chew, ’68, Southwest The Mills Quarterly (USPS 349-900) is published quarterly in April, July, October, and January by the Alumnae Association of Mills College, Reinhardt Alumnae House, 5000 MacArthur Boulevard, Oakland, CA 94613. Periodicals postage paid at Oakland,CA and at additional mailing office(s). Postmaster: Send address changes to the Mills Quarterly, Alumnae Association of Mills College, P.O. Box 9998, Oakland, CA 94613-0998. Statement of Purpose The purpose of the Mills Quarterly is to report the activities of the Alumnae Association and its branches; to reflect the quality, dignity, and academic achievement of the College family; to communicate the exuberance and vitality of student life; and to demonstrate the worldwide-ranging interests, occupations, and achievements of alumnae.


In addition, Mills bids a sorrowful farewell to a woman whose presence and passion for social change and the arts will be missed immensely – Yolanda D. King. A few short months ago, she graced our campus filled with hope for the future and determination to remain an inspiration to us all. As we say goodbye, we will never forget her or the dream.

Producing this issue of the Quarterly was a challenge. I knew any attempt to fill the shoes of the previous editor, David Brin, would take an overwhelming amount of energy. David was the editor for eight years and did a fantastic job during his time with the AAMC. As a Mills woman, I accepted the challenge and hit the ground running. It is with great pleasure that I give you this issue of the Quarterly. I hope you will enjoy it!

Letters to the Editor

Of course Mills has grown and changed over the past 30 years, as any vital institution must do. But Chana Bloch’s depiction of the pre1973 Mills, “a WASPy finishing school for young ladies,” really stinks! Finishing school has so many pejorative connotations. With her choice of those words, Ms. Bloch trivializes the educational experience of several thousand Mills students. She is as guilty of stereotyping as her “well-meaning colleague.” Candace Mackay Kramer, ’70

If I had entered Mills College according to plan years ago, I would have arrived at the exact moment that Professor Emerita Bloch began teaching at Mills. Instead, a few decades intervened and I became a student in 2002 not 1973. However, I was intrigued to read her remembrances of campus life at the very moment that I, a young African American woman, had hoped to make my mark upon the world as a Mills student. While I enjoyed the touches of humor and warmth throughout the article, it was her description of the “WASPy” atmos-

1942 1947

phere at Mills in 1973 that caught my eye. What a relief to have attended Mills in 2002 with its more relaxed culture and diverse student population. The term WASP isn’t a snug fit any longer. Yet the need for increased diversity can only be achieved by continuing efforts to reach beyond the stone gates and into the surrounding communities. Professor Bloch’s perspective allowed me to add more depth to my younger self’s idealistic view of Mills while not taking away the love I bear it as an alumna. Willi Fuller, ’04, MFA ’06

Reunion 2007 October 11–14

1952 1957 1962 1967


1972 1977


Big things are happening • Literary Salon • Dance Concert • Oral History Presentation • Reconnect with Friends

1982 1987

Come Back and Enjoy

1992 1997

We won’t ask you to pull an all-nighter, but if you want to stay up until dawn talking to your classmates, that’s up to you.


The fall Reunion brochure can be found at: alumnae/activities/reunion.php S U MME R 2007 MILLS QUARTERLY


inside mills Celebrate Women in Science on October 11


ills alumnae and friends are invited to join the campus community for a special day-long celebration of women in science on Thursday, October 11, 2007, featuring a keynote address by Princeton University President Shirley M. Tilghman and a panel of national women leaders in the sciences. The

event immediately precedes Reunion Weekend and Family Weekend. The celebration will begin in the morning with the official dedication of the new Natural Sciences Building, followed by President Tilghman’s address. The first woman to serve as president of Princeton University, Tilghman is also a pioneer in molecular genetics (see caption) and prominent advocate for the advancement of women in the sciences. “When we place a premium on creating an equitable and supportive environment for female students and scholars, when we empower women to fulfill their potential in science and engineering, and when the human face of these fields is diversified,” she said in a recent speech at Columbia University, “we send a very powerful message . . . women can and do excel in disciplines where men have long predominated.” Tilghman participated in the 1994 Women in Science Summit convened by Mills’ Women’s Leadership Institute. After a buffet lunch on Toyon Meadow, noted science journalist Cristine Russell, ’71, will facilitate a panel discussion in Lisser Hall featuring four distinguished women scientists. A reception will conclude the day’s events. Throughout the day, tours of the Natural Sciences Building will be led by students, faculty, and the campus architect. The tours will provide an opportunity to explore the new laboratories and classrooms as well as several

Shirley M. Tilghman, keynote speaker at Mills’ October 11 celebration of women in science, has been president of Princeton University since June 2001. She received her PhD in biochemistry from Temple University and did postdoctoral studies at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), participating in cloning the first mammalian gene. A member of the committee that set the blueprint for the United States’ effort in the Human Genome Project, she also was one of the founding members of the National Advisory Council of the Human Genome Project for the NIH. Tilghman was appointed to the faculty of Princeton’s department of molecular biology in 1986 and served as founding director of Princeton’s LewisSigler Institute for Integrative Genomics.


unique features that make the building itself a learning experience: the “Women Hold Up Half the Sky” installation (see sidebar); an interactive display that monitors the building’s water and energy use; and the many components that have made the building the first on campus to earn LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. Among these components is a rainwater reuse system, which will provide 30 percent of the annual water consumed by toilets in the building. Portions of this system form artistic displays, including a series of water-collection funnels linked together in an arcing sculpture in the building’s central courtyard. For more information about the celebration, including the times of specific events and the names of panelists, visit the Mills College website <>.

Women Hold Up Half the Sky Tours of the new Natural Sciences Building during the October 11 celebration will provide many alumnae and friends with their first view of several stunning exhibits created for the building. One of these, entitled “Women Hold Up Half the Sky,” is a multi-screen installation that occupies an entire wall in the lobby. The installation uses images and text to tell the stories of historic women scientists, from fourth-century Egyptian mathematician, astronomer, and physicist Hypatia (illustrated at right) to American biologist Linda Buck, a 2004 Nobel Prize recipient. Each month, the installation will feature a different scientist on its large projection and LCD screens. Separate screens will tell the stories of Mills alumnae currently working in the sciences. Among those featured will be Susan Perrine, ’70, MD, who developed the treatment for sickle cell disease. The

Mills needs your help to advance women in science. To contribute to the fund for the Natural Sciences Building or to support scholarships and research grants for science students, call (510) 430-2097.

“Women Hold Up Half the Sky” installation was made possible by a generous gift from Cristine Russell, ‘71, and Ben Heineman Jr.


Aurelia Henry Reinhardt Society Tours Natural Sciences Building On May 4, members of the Aurelia Henry Reinhardt Society—alumnae and friends who have included Mills in their estate plans— gathered at the College for a hard-hat preview tour of the Natural Sciences Building. Pictured left to right in the second-floor lobby of the building are Richard Lee; Joe Mueller; Alice Gonnerman-Mueller, ’42; Director of Planned Giving April Hopkins, MFA ’03; Aletha Waite Silcox, ’54; Mary Ballin; Lee Anne Unrein; Professor of Chemistry John Brabson, who led the tour; Lucile Pedler Griffiths, ’46; Patricia Taylor Lee, ’57; Trustee Glenn Voyles; Leone La Duke Evans, MA ’45; Ellen Voyles; Erica BrevetStott, ’76; and Trustee Merrill Purdy Kasper, ’83. The tour was preceded by a luncheon featuring an address by Professor Brabson on women in the sciences. For more information about the Aurelia Henry Reinhardt Society, contact April Hopkins toll-free at (877) 746-4557 or by email at <>.



inside mills

Learn to Create Your Own Success at Mills Symposium on Women in Finance


Executives Kate Mitchell (top) and Evelyn Dilsaver will give keynote addresses at the symposium.

he Mills College Graduate School of Business will host its inaugural Linda Pitts Custard Women in Business Conference on September 28, 2007. Entitled “Creating Your Own Success,” this symposium will focus on women in finance and will be cosponsored by the Financial Women’s Association of San Francisco. “Mills alumnae and students in the Bay Area’s financial community will find this symposium particularly relevant to their careers,” says Nancy Thornborrow, dean of the Graduate School of Business. “The event provides an opportunity not only to hear keynote addresses by women leaders in this field, but also to

Mills to Construct New Home for Graduate School of Business


n May 10, the Mills College Board of Trustees approved plans to construct an innovative, environmentally sustainable building to house Mills’ Graduate School of Business. More than any other building on campus, the school’s new home will embody the College’s vision for leadership education for women, in which women’s liberal arts education is integrated with graduate professional education. The new facility will enhance the ability of Mills’ core economics faculty and visiting business faculty to teach women the skills needed to advance into management positions—skills that range from quantitative aptitude to expertise in corporate responsibility, ethical business practices, and information technology in a global environment. The small rooms of the Graduate School of Business’ current home— Reinhardt Hall, a former dormitory—severely limit enrollment, which grew from 12 to 73 students in the six years since the program’s founding. The new building, four times larger than the existing space, will allow the school to expand to 100 students by 2010. Its large Gathering Hall will serve as a venue for campus events. Designed by internationally renowned architectural firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, the facility will meet the high standards required for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. Located on a portion of Orchard Meadow Field, the building’s L-shaped footprint, ample porches, and floor-to-ceiling windows will preserve and integrate with outdoor spaces. Trustee approval of building plans followed news that donors had given or pledged more than $24 million for the facility—surpassing Mills’ goal to raise 80 percent of the funds needed for construction before breaking ground. Construction will begin in fall 2007. Details about building design and gifts received will be announced in the fall Quarterly. 6 MILLS QUAR TERLY S U M M E R 2007

network and share strategies for success with other women working in finance.” The symposium will feature keynote speakers Kate Mitchell, managing director of Scale Venture Partners, and Evelyn Dilsaver, executive vice president of Charles Schwab and president and chief executive officer of Charles Schwab Investment Management. In addition, four breakout sessions moderated by Graduate School of Business faculty will facilitate discussion of specific topics of interest to women in finance. All of the following sessions will be offered twice during the symposium, so that each participant can choose two sessions to attend: Leadership Strategies for Women Creating Your Dream Job—Women Entrepreneurs Negotiations—A Class with No Quizzes A Convenient Truth—Turning Green into Gold The Linda Pitts Custard Women in Business Conference is funded in large part by an endowment established at Mills by Lloyd Frank Pitts in honor of his daughter Linda Pitts Custard, ’60. The conference will take place once every two to three years. “By endowing this conference, Mr. Pitts has enabled the Graduate School of Business to reach out beyond the classroom in carrying out its mission: to help highly motivated individuals, particularly women, achieve their career potential,” says Dean Thornborrow. Symposium Schedule 11:30 am Registration and networking in Student Union 12:00–1:30 pm Lunch and keynote address by Kate Mitchell 1:45–2:45 pm Breakout session 1 (all four sessions are offered during this time) 3:00–4:00 pm Breakout session 2 (all four sessions are offered during this time) 4:15–5:00 pm Closing keynote address by Evelyn Dilsaver in Mills College Art Museum 5:00–6:00 pm Reception and networking Registration For information about conference fees and registration, please visit <> in early August or call Dawn Schrey Colvin at (510) 4302096. Please register early, as space is limited.

Mills College Activism Fosters Harassment-Free Athletics


n March, Mills College brought about a significant change in a national rule governing men’s and women’s soccer. The change is designed to make the playing field a harassment-free environment that is hospitable to diverse student-athletes. Because of Mills, Rule 12.15.7 of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Men’s and Women’s Soccer Rules and Interpretations now directs referees to eject a player who “uses hostile or abusive language or harassment that refers to race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or national origin or other abusive, threatening, or obscene language, behavior, or conduct.” Previously, the rule only specified ejection of a player who “uses abusive, threatening, or obscene language or engages in such behavior or conduct.” The effort to change the rule began in October 2006, after Mills’ soccer team heard sexist, racist, and homophobic slurs from an opponent while competing at another college. At the game, referees did not penalize the offending player. But Director of Athletics Themy-Jo Adachi and soccer coach Colette Bowler decided to take action. “After the game, we discussed the harassment our players experienced with Mills’ dean of students, student diversity program director, President, senior officers, and legal counsel, who worked together with the soccer team for the change,” says Adachi. Bowler met with the NCAA to propose the revision to Rule 12.15.7, while Adachi presented a similar proposal to the California Pacific Conference of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). In response, the California Pacific Conference made new legislation against harassment part of their sportsmanship policy, and the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel adopted the ejection rule change for soccer. Mills’ actions preceded the uproar in April over radio personality Don Imus’ disparaging comments about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team. That controversy highlighted the impact of racist and sexist slurs on student-athletes. “When the Imus controversy began,” Adachi recalls, “the president of the NCAA was out front saying, ‘We need to protect our student athletes from this kind of harassment.’ I think the Imus situation and what the Mills soccer team experienced are related. Both demonstrate how sports reflect and impact societal values. Mills College and the NCAA took steps to say, ‘That’s not okay, we’re not going to tolerate harassment.’”

Mills Athletes Honored While Mills has made a national impact on college soccer, individual Mills women have won recognition for their accomplishments as athletes and community leaders. Muffy McKinstry Thorne, ’48, gave the keynote address and accepted the Alumnae Athletic Achievement Award during the Athletic Awards Banquet on April 12. Physical fitness and community service have been life-long passions for Thorne. She played on the Mills tennis team as an undergraduate, and 40 years later joined other Mills alumnae for a trek in Nepal. Muffy and her husband, Harry, are avid bicyclists: for her 80th birthday, they enjoyed a bike tour in Costa Rica. In June, they did the same in Hungary. Meanwhile, Thorne has been actively engaged as a volunteer or board member with several nonprofit organizations. She has served as a Mills College Trustee for 15 years and previously served the AAMC as president and as editor of this magazine. Her working career was capped by 20 years with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) when the office was located at Mills. Christine Fisher, ’08, is one of seven students nationwide to win a 2006–07 Coca-Cola Community All-American Award, which celebrates student-athletes

Mills' soccer team, the Cyclones (in white below), spurred national changes in collegiate soccer policy regarding verbal harassment on the playing field.

who make a difference in their community. Fisher, a child development major, is a member of the Mills College swim team. She has also been named an NAIA All-American Scholar-Athlete and Collegiate Swimming Coaches Association of America Academic All-American. Fisher was instrumental in organizing the swim team’s community service efforts, such as the Havenscourt Middle School Project, where Mills student-athletes and athletics staff members worked to refurbish and restore the school library after years of disuse.



Nominate Your Choice for Alumna Trustee Today Now is the time for you, the alumnae and alumni of Mills College, to nominate the next candidates for Alumna Trustee.

Who are they? n The three Alumnae Trustees serve on both the Board of Trustees of Mills College and the Board of Governors of the Alumnae Association, and n convey the majority view of the Board of Governors to the Board of Trustees, and n serve as a liaison between the two Boards. One Alumna Trustee is elected each year. What are the expectations of the Alumnae Trustees? Each year the Alumnae Trustees are expected to attend n three two-day meetings of the College’s Board of Trustees (plus possible additional committee meetings) and n six evening meetings of the AAMC’s Board of Governors, as well as a day-long retreat and the annual meeting. The Alumnae Trustees serve a three-year term and may run for a second term. How are the Alumnae Trustees nominated? n Nomination of candidates, or self-nominations, are mailed, faxed, or emailed to the AAMC Nominating Committee before September 1, 2007. n In October 2007, candidates who choose to be considered complete and return to the Nominating Committee a questionnaire that details their qualifications and position statements. What background and experience are desired? The Nominating Committee is looking for individuals who have demonstrated n participation in alumnae activites such as branch or regional leadership or service as a class secretary or agent, or

n participation in college activities such as the Alumnae Admission Representative Program, and n fundraising/financial support of the AAMC or the College. In order to ensure that there is at least one Alumna Trustee who lives outside the Bay Area, the AAMC Board of Governors has restricted nominations every third year to alumnae who live outside the Middle California region. This year nominations are restricted. How are the Alumnae Trustees elected? n Up to three final nominees, selected by the Nominating Committee, will be featured in the Winter 2008 Quarterly. n All alumnae and alumni are eligible to vote by mail-in ballots provided in the Quarterly, and one Alumna Trustee is elected from the nominees. (The newly elected Trustee begins her term on July 1, 2008.) For more detailed information . . . n Ask the AAMC to send you the complete Alumna Trustee information packet. Questions? Micheline Beam, ’72, chair, Nominating Committee at <> or call Reinhardt Alumnae House at (510) 430-2110. Current Alumnae Trustees Are: n Susan Brown Penrod, ‘71, n Gayle I. Rothrock, ’68, and n Sharon K. Tatai, ’80.








You may mail this form to the Alumnae Association of Mills College, PO Box 9998, Oakland, CA 94613 or you may fax a copy to the AAMC at (510) 430-1401 or email the information to <>.


AAMC Activities Our regional branches have been extremely active this year. We invite you to take a look at the events that have taken place and to contact the AAMC if you are interested in becoming involved with alumnae in your area. Los Angeles Branch: Aside from the afternoon tea held at the Regency, this year the branch also held a number of meetings, put out a lovely newsletter, and in the spring took its annual conservancy walk. The site selected for this year’s tour was City Hall. New York Branch: This year the Mills College Club of New York raised $7,500 for the Tri-State Scholarship. The money was donated in honor of Beate Sirota Gordon, ’43, who spoke at the branch’s spring meeting. This is one of the largest contributions to the scholarship in recent years, and the branch attributed the success to the generosity of Deborah Fennebresque, the amazing hard work of the fundraising committee, and everyone who attended, donated, and made a bid on some great auction items. Oakland/Berkeley Branch: This spring, Professor of English Ruth Saxton shared some of her insights into Virginia Woolf at a pre-show event of the Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s To the Lighthouse. The branch coordinated the pre-show

The New Alumna Trustee: Gayle Rothrock, ’68


event, and brought a number of alumnae and guests together for a stimulating lecture and play. Palo Alto Branch: On April 25, 2007, the branch held its annual architecture and design house tour. The tour, which walks guests through the beautiful homes and gardens of Palo Alto, is held as a fundraiser for the branch-sponsored scholarship. On June 9, 2007, the branch closed

out the year by bringing together a number of alumnae for a summer potluck. The dinner was held in the home of George and Helen Leong and Anna May Duncan. San Diego Branch: On May 17, 2007, the branch coordinated a no-host lunch at the San Diego Yacht Club. Vonn Marie May, cultural landscape specialist, spoke about “Reading the Cultural Landscape of Mills College: Findings from the Getty Campus Heritage Grant Project.” Seattle Puget Sound Branch: Aside from the wine tasting held at the home of Mary Galloway, the branch coordinated a couple of other events. On May 18, 2007, the branch hosted a Golden Girls lunch at the home of Jane Gede Slyfield, ’52, in Ellensburg. Guest speaker, artist Dixie Parker-Fairbanks, made the event memorable, and everyone was happy to see the lunch brought back after a four-year absence. On May 20, 2007, local alumnae were invited to a performance of Don Quixote at the Meydenbauer Theatre in Bellevue. The event included a high tea prior to the matinee performance.

Vivian Stephenson, Chair of Mills College Board of Trustees, Named Among Bay Area’s 100 Most Influential Women Vivian Stephenson, chair of the Mills College Board of Trustees, has been named among the Bay Area’s “100 Most Influential Women in Business” for the third year in a row by the San Francisco Business Times. The retired chief operating officer of Williams-Sonoma Inc., she was selected for the annual list because of her highranking position and her outstanding leadership within a wide range of influence.

Alarcón Awarded Guggenheim Daniel Alarcón, distinguished visiting professor at Mills College, has received a 2007 Guggenheim Fellowship for fiction. The 2007 Fellowship winners include 189 artists, scholars, and scientists selected from almost 2,800 applicants for awards totaling $7,600,000. Alarcón’s fiction and non-

Mills says farewell to treasured Elizabeth Burwell Elizabeth Burwell, vice president of finance and administration and treasurer, recently retired after 38 years of service to

Mills College. In recognition, the Elizabeth Burwell Prize for Leadership has been endowed by trustees, faculty, staff, and friends of the College to honor her legacy of leadership and achievement. The prize will be awarded each year to a student who exhibits leadership within her community. Elizabeth’s blunt Texasstyle honesty, her fondness for sweets, especially cookies, and her very generous spirit have left an indelible impression on those who have interacted with her. She will now have time for her many eclectic interests from baseball to ballet. by David Gin assistant vice president of student financial and administrative services and director of financial aid




fiction have been published in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Salon, and elsewhere. He published his first novel, Lost City Radio, earlier this year.

Mills Trustee Lorry I. Lokey Named a Leading U.S. Philanthropist Lorry I. Lokey, a Mills College trustee and major donor, has been named among the nation’s most generous philanthropists in The Chronicle of Philanthropy (“Record-Breaking Giving,” February 22, 2007). Ranked 10th on the list of 60 philanthropists, he gave away $163 million in 2006. Lokey is one of 21 Americans noted for giving away more than $100 million last year—a new record in philanthropic giving. This is the seventh year in a row that he has been recognized on the Chronicle’s annual list.

More than 75 people attended a dinner at Mills on May 1 for the Cyrus and Susan Mills Society (CSMS), which honors top donors to the College. The event provided CSMS members with an opportunity to meet students who have received scholarships supported by donor gifts. Among the guests were student Eugenia Yong Hua Gee, ’07, and donor Patsy Chen Peng, ’51, MA ’53. For more information about the Cyrus and Susan Mills Society, contact Holly Stanco, director of the Mills College Annual Fund, at (510) 430-2366.

From the President of the Board of the AAMC On behalf of the Board of Governors of the Alumnae Association of Mills College (AAMC), I am writing to share news about a significant transition in the relationship between the AAMC and the College. At the request of the College, the AAMC Board of Governors and College representatives held several meetings in June to discuss the AAMC-College relationship. After a special meeting on June 27, the Board of Governors voted to revise its Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Mills College so that: The AAMC can gain a stronger role in the leadership of the College, and Functional responsibilities for alumnae relations can be transferred from the AAMC to the College, allowing for a broader and more cohesive alumnae relations program.


According to the terms of the MOA as restated on July 1, 2007, the AAMC will retain its current status as a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation independent from Mills College, and will continue to elect alumnae to its own Board of Governors. In addition: The President of the AAMC Board of Governors will now serve as a regular voting member of the Mills College Board of Trustees, and will be the AAMC’s primary spokesperson on the College’s board. Alumnae Trustees, elected by the AAMC membership, will continue to serve jointly on the Mills College Board of Trustees and the AAMC Board of Governors. In consultation with the AAMC, the College will include alumnae on all major campus committees and

task forces. These alumnae will provide direction and guidance to Mills administrators and Trustees. The AAMC will retain its ability to use Reinhardt Alumnae House as a gathering place for alumnae. The AAMC will retain its endowment account and will be able to accept gifts to the AAMC endowment. Alumnae outreach and event activities will be transferred to the Office of Institutional Advancement (OIA) at the College. By drawing upon the College’s infrastructure, this transition will result in more comprehensive support of our global alumnae network. If you have any questions, please call the Alumnae Association at 510.430.2110. Anita Aragon Bowers, ’63 President, AAMC

Eucalyptus at Mills—The Making of a Lieu de Mémoire by Bert Gordon, Professor of History

Trees I think that I shall never see A poem lovely as a tree. A tree whose hungry mouth is prest Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast; A tree that looks at God all day, And lifts her leafy arms to pray; A tree that may in Summer wear A nest of robins in her hair; Upon whose bosom snow has lain; Who intimately lives with rain. Poems are made by fools like me, But only God can make a tree. —Alfred Joyce Kilmer


rench historians over the past twenty years have developed an approach to history focusing on “lieux de mémoire,” or sites of memory. These are places, sometimes metaphorical more than physical, that become iconic in history, charged with cultural meaning. In America, the Gettysburg battleground could be considered a lieu de mémoire but so also could “mom’s apple pie,” equally invested with symbolic meaning. Imported from Australia to Mills, the eucalyptus trees became precisely such a site of memory. To many, past and present, they are identified with the campus. Their shapes, colors, sounds, and fragrances are indelibly impressed in the recollections of those who experience the campus. They induce floods of memories for alumnae that evoke their college days even decades later. In “Symbol of a College: The History of the Eucalyptus at Mills,” Taylor Conrad, a student in the spring semester of 2007, noted that the eucalypti, used in “Mills’ admission material as adding a unique aspect to the urban campus,” had become a symbol of the College (pp. 1-2). On the “Yelp: Real People, Real

Reviews” web site, a recent graduate commented: “whenever I smell eucalyptus I think of Mills.” The Eucalyptus Press was established at Mills by Rosalind A. Keep in 1930 and subsequent College memorabilia, including jewelry, stationery, and tee shirts, have borne eucalyptus designs. The exact history of sites of memory often defies reconstruction. Tradition has it that Cyrus Mills planted the first eucalyptus shortly after the move to Oakland in the 1870s, an account buttressed by a typescript in the College archive’s Mills papers, entitled “Description of Trees and other Things of Interest in the Grounds belonging to Mills College,” by Susan Mills who wrote that Cyrus had planted over 50,000 trees and shrubs, including eucalypti and cypresses grown from seed. College historian Keep, indicated in her Fourscore Years, A History of Mills College (Mills College, 1931), that Cyrus was “particularly attracted by the many varieties of eucalyptus that had recently been introduced from Australia, and his experiments with these foreign trees were watched with interest throughout the state” (p. 56). Borrowing SU MME R 2007 MILLS QUARTERLY




Professor Bert Gordon talks about the history of the eucalyptus at Mills.


President Holmgren greets alumnae and visitors at the tree ceremony.

from Keep’s account, the 2001 Campus Master Plan states that Cyrus, “like others experimenting with eucalyptus in the 1870s,” planted “thousands of seedlings of blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus)” (p. 44). In his Story of Cyrus and Susan Mills (Stanford University Press, 1953), Elias Olan James wrote although we might never know who first introduced eucalyptus into California, Cyrus Mills and neighbor Robert Simson “were the first in their neighborhood” (p. 185). The “informed surmise” of Vonn Marie May, consultant to the Mills College Landscape Heritage Plan process, funded by the Getty Foundation, also points to Cyrus. A 1916 survey by Howard Gilkey depicts eucalyptus proximity to Kapiolani Road and a late 1920s aerial photo shows them to be “five stories” high, according to May, putting their origins back into the late nineteenth century, assuming they were, in fact, planted from seedlings. A nineteenth century eucalyptomania, based on a belief in their value for timber and a perception that their vapors cured malaria, preceded Cyrus and may have swept him along (Conrad, p. 3). The University of California at Berkeley and the San Francisco Presidio also received generous eucalyptus plantings. One Oakland nursery, according to May, sold one hundred thousand of the trees in a year. The preponderance of evidence for the origin of the campus eucalyptus trees points to Cyrus. The past, however, has ways of frustrating even the most indefatigable researchers and May reminds us that landscape history is harder to reconstitute than architectural history because of the records, official and otherwise, left during the construction of buildings in contrast to the absence of them for the planting of trees. If, in fact, the trees were planted toward the end of the nineteenth century, as has occasionally been suggested, they would have postdated Cyrus Mills. Interestingly, the Mills catalogue published in 1885, the first year after Cyrus’s death, refers to “fine oaks,” alders, and willows as enhancing the beauty of the campus but makes no mention of eucalyptus (p. 24). If the trees do, indeed, postdate Cyrus Mills, it may have been Rosalind Keep’s father Josiah, a conchologist who taught at Mills from 1885 to 1911, and constituted virtually the entire science department for much of that time, who brought them onto the campus. However the eucalypti arrived, they did so in many forms. Howard McMinn, professor of botany at Mills from 1918 to 1957, wrote extensively on California flora, and listed fifteen varieties of eucalyptus in his

Manual of Tree Shrubs and Vines of Mills College Campus in 1919 (pp. 96-97). The eucalypti acquired iconic status during Aurelia Henry Reinhardt’s presidency (19171943), which in so many ways produced the modern Mills College we know today. In a broadsheet prepared for the students in 1927, President Reinhardt extolled the “Pungent eucalyptus paths leading out and up to hilltop and to hall!” (Cited in Keep, Fourscore Years, p. 137.) Rosalind Keep opined: “today [1931] the picturesque eucalyptus trees predominate and will strike the keynote for many years to come” (p. 121). Eucalyptus iconicity, however, was accompanied by a decline in fashion. Even Rosalind Keep pointed out that recent campus plantings were focusing on other species. McMinn grew disenchanted with them. Years later, George Hedley, then Mills chaplain, in a 1963 Founders’ Day speech at Sunnyside (the burial site of Cyrus and Susan Mills), mentioned that, according to Mrs. McMinn, her husband had considered the trees dangerous and had introduced native plants in an effort to supplant “these Australian imports.” Hedley also expanded McMinn’s fifteen varieties to forty! McMinn’s attempt to replace the eucalypti appears to date to 1932 as a Mills Quarterly article of May 1938 reports one thousand trees having been planted by the Buildings and Grounds Committee over the previous six years to make “the already beautiful Mills campus ‘the most beautiful of all college campuses’” (p. 27). “In a few years,” the article continued, “the older eucalypti on campus will reach their maturity, and when they are removed they will be replaced by other species.” The plan was to retain the eucalypti as long as possible as the trees gave the campus “a beautiful skyline” but the removal of “certain” eucalypti was envisioned in the following ten to twenty years. Recently, the uprooting of sidewalks by the eucalypti along Kapiolani and their falling limbs, endangering people and automobiles below, led to a decision to remove them, a decision in the making since the 1930s. In a ceremony held on May 2, 2007, the campus community bade an official farewell to them. Presentations by President Janet Holmgren and others focused on rebirth and renewal as these eucalypti (not all the campus eucalypti were to be replaced) entered a new dimension of lieu de mémoire. MQ Professor of History Bert Gordon has taught at Mills since 1969. BRUCE COOK




Today, we celebrate the academic achievements of 249 undergraduate women and 305 graduate women and men. â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Thoraya Ahmed Obaid


Education, we have witnessed, empowers women and men to seek and understand information about their human rights. â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Thoraya Ahmed Obaid



Mills College positioned its graduates for leadership roles in so many institutions and in many countries. Women, and increasingly men, of all walks and colors, graduates of diverse faiths and backgrounds, from many states and countries have received an outstanding education at Mills. â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Thoraya Ahmed Obaid


Bent Twigs

What you actively seek from now on is what matters to you and to the world. Go in peace and do good for our common humanity. â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Thoraya Ahmed Obaid



Journalist • Playboy Bunny • Celebrity • World’s Most Beautiful Byline • Feminist Activist • Woman of the Year • Legend

Gloria Steinem: A Day at Mills by Moya Stone, MFA '03


arch 15, 2007: People are arriving as early as 9:00 a.m. By 11:00 a.m. the usually empty lawn across from the library is a carpet of parked cars. Cancelled classes and closed departments allow at least 1,200 staff, faculty, alumnae and alumni, trustees, and community members to sprawl across the campus, chatting and sharing their common memories of a feminist icon. An exceptional buzz in the air that has been building for weeks heightens to almost bursting on a day that will surely go down in the Mills annals as Gloria Steinem Day. With clear skies and a gentle breeze, spring

comes early this momentous morning on which renowned feminist, activist, and author Gloria Steinem arrives at Mills in a hired black car. Opening her own door, she emerges from the back seat standing tall and dressed in black. Sporting a shorter version of her trademark straight hair parted down the middle, but without the oversized glasses, she looks decidedly younger than her 72 years. The coordinator of this event, Renee Jadushlever, vice president for information resources and library director, greets Steinem and escorts her through the day’s activities which include a meeting with President Janet

Gloria Steinem with Vivian Stephenson, Honorary Degree, ’05, chair, Mills College Board of Trustees and President Janet Holmgren


Holmgren, a luncheon, a meeting with students, a reception, and a public conversation in the Music Building concert hall to discuss the current state of feminism. Jadushlever says the College has been working with Steinem’s office for the past five months to arrange this visit. “President Holmgren had wanted to bring Steinem to Mills for several years, but it was difficult with her schedule,” says Jadushlever. “We were pleased that her visit coincided with Women’s History Month.” As Steinem lunches with trustees and donors, students of Professor of Book Arts Kathy Walkup and Professor of Art History Moira Roth gather in the Rare Book Room of the library, anxiously awaiting their visit with her. For this auspicious occasion, Walkup and Roth have combined two of their classes and prepared their students with readings by Steinem and discussions about feminism. Walkup says she hopes the meeting will be an opportunity for Steinem to engage with the students. “I’d like our students to come away with a profound sense of women’s history over the past 30 years,” says Walkup, “and an appreciation of how the table was set for them.” In an intimate setting, the combined class of 30 students sit in a circle. Junior Kat WellerFahy says she grew up with Ms. magazine and remembers her mom talking about Steinem and feminism. “This is beyond phenomenal,” says Weller-Fahy. “When I told my mom about this, she nearly had a heart attack.” Kristen Diner, also a junior, says she was very surprised to discover that the younger women in her class were unfamiliar with Steinem. “I’ve known about her since I was young and I’m thrilled to get this opportunity.” Steinem arrives and is greeted with enthusiastic applause and a few hoots and hollers. Warmly smiling and applauding back to the class, she takes her seat among the circle of students, as a photographer quietly moves around the room snapping photos. One student from each class alternates as moderator, pulling from a hollow book and reading aloud questions previously submitted by members of both classes. Questions cover the spectrum from language and feminism, to the sex power movement, to

the conflicting messages in the second wave of feminism. With a format that is less a dialogue and more a question/answer session, Steinem speaks in her uniquely strong but calm voice and encourages the students to participate, saying, “I learn from you.” Weller-Fahy comments that as a women’s studies major, she’s noticed that today women don’t really understand feminism. Steinem responds that women’s studies and ethnic studies are like remedial studies. “If we were learning human history, we wouldn’t need these studies.” In response to a question about what current issues artists should be addressing, Steinem says, “I’m not sure there are shoulds. Images mediate our perceptions of the world.” She recalls her childhood in Toledo, Ohio, looking for herself in books in the library and in the Toledo Museum of Art, surprised to find nothing of herself reflected in the artwork. “I had a choice of being a Madonna or a nude woman reclining, until I

“Gloria Steinem taught me to do my own thing. She’s everybody’s hero, especially these years we look to her as a leader.” —Edythe Heda, ’75 saw Womanhouse.” (Womanhouse was a 1972 feminist art installation headed by Judy Chicago.) “Then I realized I have images too.” When asked about the role of men in feminism, Steinem says, “I hope the role of men is to look at the world as if women mattered and not fear the woman inside themselves.” Steinem comments on the importance of language and that we have lost our control of language. “Language is very important politically and tactically,” she says. She gives the example of the term domestic violence, “ . . . that sounds small. Instead call it original violence. We need to keep changing language in that way.” On the other side of campus, the ambiance is that of a Hollywood studio set with a frenzy of people, like movie extras, gathering inside and outside the Art Museum. A party of elderly women in wheelchairs from a local convalescent home disembarks from a van; Mills staff mem-



bers dart around checking important details; caterers busily serve drinks and food; and individuals excitedly wait for the icon of their youth to arrive. Inside the museum Edythe Heda, ’75, chats with her friend and enjoys the current art exhibit. “Gloria Steinem taught me to do my own thing,” she says. “She’s everybody’s hero, especially these years we look to her as a leader.” Oakland resident Carol Norberg and her husband, Mark, a card-carrying National Organization of Women feminist, read about Steinem’s visit in the newspaper. “We’ve been following Gloria Steinem for years,” says Mark. “More young women need to understand what women have been through,” says Carol. Her husband nods in agreement. “Women’s history has more or less been ignored in schools,” she says. Carol Motzkus’ daughter, Stephanie, is a junior at Mills. “Mom,” she says, elbowing her


mother, “tell your story. This is a good story.” Carol smiles and says, “I was in college in the 1960s and I was writing a paper on women’s rights and there wasn’t a lot of material at that time, but I used Gloria Steinem’s books for my research.” Stephanie nudges her mother again. “And my husband wouldn’t talk to me the whole time I was writing the paper. I got an A + and that bothered him too.” Stephanie says she is really happy to be able to see Steinem. “She’s a legend. We can work from and be inspired by her,” says Stephanie. “I’m honored that she dedicated her life to this work.” Among the gathering is a group of a dozen or so students wearing bright orange t-shirts with the slogan, Another Youth for Choice. Members of the Choice USA Mills College chapter are particularly excited to meet Steinem, who is one of the founding members of Choice USA, an organization with chapters around the country work-

Mills students had the opportunity to meet with Gloria Steinem during her visit to campus.

ing for women’s reproductive rights. Junior Erin Mowlds, president of the Mills chapter, recounted later that upon her arrival to the museum, Steinem saw the orange t-shirts and headed straight for them, saying, “We’re related!” She asked the name of each student and wanted to know what they were working on. “We told her about our plan to start a women’s health resource center on campus,” says Mowlds. “She was so friendly and personable.” Included in the Art Museum reception is the launch of Mills trustee Nan Gefen’s online literary magazine, Persimmon Tree. “We are thrilled to launch Persimmon Tree magazine in the best company possible,” says Ms. Gefen. “Gloria Steinem and Mills College—we couldn’t ask for more.” Meanwhile, minutes before curtain time, the Music Building concert hall is overflowing and people are quickly heading down to Lisser Hall and the Student Union where telecasts have been set up. Eventually people will flood onto the Suzanne Adams Plaza. “Outside of commencement,” says Jadushlever, “this is the largest attended event the College has sponsored in all of my 16 years here.” Inside the Music Building people of all ages, from tweens to great great grandmothers, are taking their seats or standing in the aisles, while staff members are directing people and answering questions above the crowd’s white noise. In the audience is former Mills trustee Estrellita Redus, ’65. “I’m here to acknowledge and validate Gloria Steinem for being a leader,” says Redus. She was inspired by Steinem in her early career days of the 1960s. “Civil rights paved the way for women’s rights and a lot has changed, but it’s too soon to say we don’t need to keep fighting,” says Redus. “We have not arrived yet.” Precisely at 4:00 p.m. Gloria Steinem takes the stage. The crowd, which includes Steinem’s good friends author Alice Walker and longtime women’s rights activist Aileen Hernandez, stands and greets her with cheers and a roar of applause. She in turn raises her right arm with a fist, a nostalgic gesture of woman power. After introductions by President Holmgren and Director of the Women’s Leadership Institute Daphne Muse, the discussion begins.

More about Gloria Steinem Born March 25, 1934 in Toledo, Ohio. Grandmother, Pauline Steinem, was a suffragist in Ohio. Has one sister, Sue, nine years her senior. Parents separated when Gloria was 10 years old and she became the sole caretaker of her ill mother. Graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Smith College in 1956 with a degree in government. Traveled in India for two years after college and then settled in New York City to become a journalist. Went undercover in 1963 as a playboy bunny to write an exposé article on the treatment of women in the New York City Playboy Club. Co-founded New York magazine in 1967 and wrote its political column, The City Politic. Met César Chávez in 1968 and helped raise money for farmworkers’ causes. Co-founded Ms. magazine in 1972 and was the magazine’s editor for the next 15 years. Named Woman of the Year by McCall’s magazine in 1972. Worked on George McGovern’s 1972 presidential campaign. Inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993. Married in 2000 at age 66 to entrepreneur David Bale who died in 2003 of lymphoma. Inducted into the Magazine Editors’ Hall of Fame in 1998. Published books: Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions (1983); Marilyn: Norma Jean (1986); Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem (1992); Moving Beyond Words (1994)



The setting is not unlike a casual kitchen table chat, but with water bottles instead of coffee mugs. Steinem sits at a table facing the audience in between her fellow conversation partners —Holly Kernan, news director of KALW Radio and Meredith May, ’91, reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle. Kernan and May are also part-time faculty at Mills. “Go back 35 years,” May begins the conversation, “when you started Ms. magazine, what was your vision for change in the future?” “We were not looking forward four decades,” says Steinem. “We were just looking to the next issue. People didn’t think we’d last. They thought once we talked about equal pay and childcare there was nothing left to say. . . . We were naive; I kept thinking that if we just exposed the injustices that would take care of it. And we were naive about the structures of power —they don’t match with the majority.” Kernan says she asked her Mills students if they were feminists and she was surprised by the 50–50 split. Kernan shares that the reasons the students don’t identify as feminists varied, including that the movement is limited, it’s anti-male, there is too much emphasis on gender, and it’s elitist. Steinem responds that the women’s movement is the most inclusive example of race, class, and sexuality that this country has ever seen. “To say it’s a white middle-class movement gives away its ownership,” says Steinem. “African American women were twice as likely to support the women’s movement, so to say otherwise is erasing reality.” When asked to identify her guilty pleasures, Steinem mentions that she’s an old movie buff and doesn’t go for the current celebrity craze. “The media has given up on narrative,” she says. “They are giving facts and generalities . . . people are not getting stories they can relate to so they’re going by default to crazy celebrity culture.” For example, while she was in India recently Anna Nicole Smith’s death was all over the news, “ . . . in spite of 2,500 Indian farmers committing suicide,” says Steinem. “I felt ashamed to be an American, I really did.” “What would you do today as a journalist?”


asks Kernan. “There’s so much to expose,” says Steinem. “I think I would try to get across that we really do still have slavery in this era – sex slavery and labor slavery. In India there are sex trafficking projects trying to rescue women and children from brothels and offering economic alternatives and schools for children.” May asks, “What would change if Hillary becomes president?” Without missing a beat, Steinem responds, “It wouldn’t change; suppose Condoleeza Rice gets in? We’re not talking biology, we’re talking consciousness and experience . . . no one person on top can change the whole structure. But I think she [Hillary] listens and she has something no other candidate has – eight years on-the-job training.” After ninety minutes, the discussion winds down and closes with a standing ovation. Steinem stands and applauds the audience in return and says, “Keep talking; talk to each other.” To learn more about Gloria Steinem read, Gloria Steinem: Her Passions, Politics, and Mystique by Sydney Ladensohn Stern (Carol Publishing Group). MQ Moya Stone, MFA ’03, is a freelance writer who has worked for The Contra Costa Times, Orinda News, Daily Candy, and Glamour magazine. She can be contacted at

Gloria Steinem, Delaine Eastin, senior advisor to the president, and President Janet Holmgren

Mills Remembers a Daughter of the Dream: Yolanda Denise King by Moya Stone, MFA ’03


o have heard Yolanda King speak was to know she spoke from her heart. A talented actress and passionate social activist, Ms. King spent her life using dramatic arts and motivational speaking to keep her father Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of equality for all alive. Having put her heart and soul into her craft and causes, it seems sadly apt that on May 15, 2007 Ms. King died of apparent heart failure. On November 17, 1955, Yolanda Denise King was born the first child to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King in Montgomery, Alabama. With her first breath, she entered a world of social upheaval and violence that would shape her life. King was only two weeks old when Rosa Parks refused to sit at the back of a Montgomery bus, the incident that propelled Dr. King into the civil rights movement. She was a mere infant when the family home was firebombed, and she was 12 years old when her father was assassinated in 1968. King said in a 1999 interview with People magazine that she heard about her father’s death on the television while washing dishes. “I just ran out of the room and screamed, ‘I don’t want to hear it,’ ” she recounted. “To this day, my heart skips a beat every time I hear one of those special bulletins.”


King discovered her interest in acting at the early age of eight when she enrolled in the only integrated drama school in Atlanta at the time. At 15 she played the lead in a production of The Owl and the Pussy Cat, causing an uproar for not only kissing her white co-star, but also playing the part of a prostitute. Her paternal grandfather, Rev. Martin Luther King Sr. refused to attend the play and she was forced to address the congregation at her church one Sunday to explain her actions. A graduate of Smith College in 1976, King went on to get her master’s degree in drama at New York University in 1979. She acted in many movies, including Ghosts of Mississippi, the 1996 film about the murder of civil rights leader, Medgar Evers. She told the Baltimore Sun in 1998 that acting had liberated her. “In life I had to be prim and proper and poised—the King daughter,” she said. “But acting, I could be zany, silly, sometimes the foolish person that I am. I could let the rough edges show.” In 1990, King founded Higher Ground Productions, a company through which she perfected her unique approach to public speaking with what she called “Lecture-Performances.” Rather than simply stand at a podium and talk, King created characters, used music, and recited poetry to inform and inspire her audiences. On the Higher Grounds Productions’ website, King explained her philosophy as, “Anything you have to say is better served by engaging your audience . . . often a way into a message is through the heart.” On April 10, 2006 (just three months after the passing of King’s mother), the Mills College community experienced King’s heart-filled presentation style firsthand. More than 500 people gathered in the Music Building concert hall to hear King present Daughters of the Dream along with Susannah Heschel, daughter of Rabbi Abraham Heschel. AAMC Executive Director Sheryl BizéBoutté ’73 had the opportunity to meet King during her visit. “When she took my hand in hers, I immediately felt her strong sense of loss,” says Mrs. Bizé-Boutté. “As one who also lost her mother way too soon, this was a wordless connection. In those few precious moments, she left her imprint on my soul.” MQ SU MME R 2007 MILLS QUARTERLY


BOOKSHELF This Connection of Everyone With Lungs by Juliana Spahr; University of California Press <>


his remarkable collection of poetry by award winning poet, critic, and Mills instructor Juliana Spahr should be required reading for those of us who’ve allowed ourselves to be lulled into complacency in a post 9/11 world. Insulated by friends, family, jobs, and busyness, it’s all too easy to ignore the atrocities taking place around the globe, which effectively undermines the connectedness of our collective humanity. In keeping with the long-standing tradition of poet-as-visionary, Juliana Spahr acts as both guide and conscience as she names and lists the specifics of a 21st century world rocked by the turmoil of war. That she manages to do so in such a graceful, meditative way is what gives this new (2005) collection of poems its life-force; it is also what keeps it from being an edgy political rant. The poems are divided into two sections: in the first, the eight-page “Poem Written after September 11, 2001,” Spahr reinforces our connection to one another by bringing it down to a cellular level. There is no talk of ground zero, no overwrought poetic discourse on the subject of grief and loss. Instead, there is this: that “everyone with lungs breathes the space between the hands…the space of the oceans and the space of the troposphere in and out…” Until, as she writes in the last couplet, “How lovely and how doomed this connection of everyone with lungs.” The second section, “Poem Written from November 30, 2002 to March 27, 2003,” is comprised of 15 similarly lyrical, ruminative but no less powerful poems. To begin, as Spahr does, by addressing her readers as “beloveds” is to include us in the dialogue, to let us in on a heartbreaking little secret: despite the horrors and the disconnect, it’s imperative to embrace our humanness if we are to find our place in the soul of the universe. But it is also Spahr’s role as our guide to inform, to remind, but most importantly, to bear witness, which she does by rendering the brutalities with the unflinching eye of a reporter. Whether or not you consider yourself to be a lover – even a reader – of poetry, the depth and strength of Spahr’s voice will resonate long after you’ve finished reading, as much for the dark realities as the possibility of redemption. –– Jo Kaufman


Death Notices by Meg Hamill, MFA ’05; Factory School <>


n lieu of flowers, Meg Hamill offers us a complex essay on the consequences of the Iraq War—and by extension, of all other wars—in poetic form. Hamill recognizes early on that the task she has set before herself of recording a written monument for each of the war’s dead is overreaching: “I can’t write that many obituaries, though I’m beginning to understand why I must.” In stark prose poems formatted to mirror newspaper obituaries, Hamill records loss on both sides of the conflict. Of a potential insurgent, she asks, “was he one of the good ones or the bad ones....The missile that killed him now in pieces over there in lieu of flowers.” On the death of a coalition soldier from Jesup, Georgia, Hamill questions her own complicity in the conflict: “dominic you signed up for killing and yet you were killed you were guilty and yet holding on to your rabbit ear were you any more guilty than me dominic.” Interspersed between these obituaries, Hamill deftly shifts our gaze to her personal responses to the war, written in standard free verse format and sound bites culled from news sources. The shift in form reflects the movement of our gaze, forcing us to approach the war from multiple angles, creating a humanizing effect while at the same time bolstering her overall argument. It is hard to read “soldiers would mention some english names of stars of football players and request us to remember them or we would be beaten severely” and not think of prisoner torture. Likewise, lines like “what does it mean to lose courage / if we are hurtling through space like this anyway/ where would the courage go if it was lost” encourage us to continue through this necessary reflection without fear. Hamill urges the reader not to “kick the bodies underneath the table that are gathering between us without noticing without taking note of their limpness their inability to hold onto each other their inability to pray or to breathe.” Death Notices is at times an uncomfortable read filled with precise, accurate, and disturbing details (the kind we aren’t seeing on television). She asks us to look, to take a good look, because “healing begins at the moment when we learn to sustain our gaze on all the bad and all the stunning things just keep our eyes looking past the time when we want to stop looking.” — David Harrison Horton, MFA ’01

The Traveling Death and Resurrection Show by Ariel Gore, ’94; HarperSanFrancisco <>


rankka, the 28-year-old member of the Traveling Death and Resurrection Show and narrator of the novel by Ariel Gore with the same name, just happens to be a stigmatic, and this begins her tale: “You’re given a mythology in this life, the way you’re given a body, a family, a country. You can reject it if you like— starve it, laugh in its face, run away into exile—but it’s still your mythology.” From one angle, Frankka’s mythology is her Catholicism—its saints and its miracles—but for all the regimentation of the Catholic Church, nothing is regimented about Frankka’s life except her diet—fasting before performing the stigmata—and her devotion to a life of angst and indecision. Every performance of the show, whose cast consists of a multiethnic, international crew of talented outcasts, begins with Madre Pia, a 300-pound drag queen, shouting through a megaphone, but the tone of the novel is quiet and matter-of-fact. It’s precisely how Gore manages to say big things offhandedly that makes the novel work. The moments that could jump off the page into philosophical airs are tempered through Frankka’s cynical lenses. When Magdelena, one of the show’s stars, asks, “You ever get the feeling that your destiny is way bigger than the life you’re living?” Frankka doesn’t answer; instead she watches Magdelena do her makeup and narrates, “She’s been coming up with Big Questions ever since she turned thirty.” Still, her cynicism couldn’t guard against the importance of this question. Stigmatics attract freaks—Jesus freaks, media freaks, anti-Jesus freaks alike. So it’s inevitable that Frankka’s “talent” is discovered. Like any good saint, feeling abandoned and betrayed by the only people she trusts, she retreats into the mountains to learn just how far she’s willing to travel to avoid her own destiny. Here, like Frankka, the novel begins anew. In this fun and philosophical novel, the present leads to a back-story and/or a tale of a saint and the backstory pulls the reader through to the present. The shifts in time and the twists in the plot are careful and effortless. Little happens in any way other than the obvious. Even what the reader learns from and about Frankka— and there are many lessons neatly folded away in this unpretentious novel—is obvious. That’s the novel, plain and simple, right there before your eyes, like one’s destiny, and the journey through it is worth every page. —Cleavon Smith, MFA ’02

Facts about the Moon by Dorianne Laux, ’88; W. W. Norton & Co. <>


ith Dorianne Laux’s fourth collection of poetry, Facts about the Moon, she has mined the stuff of ordinary life. Laux is a realist writer, and though her observations may reject sentimentality, she is not entirely without a romantic spirit; it is just one that tries to look at the world without flinching. Laux has a gift for the deft and surprising metaphor. Kissing is “that prolonged lapping that makes a smooth stone / of the brain.” Pine trees “shake / their bleary heads like fashion models / or old hippies.” Our cells are “pinhead / sponges soaking up whatever we need / to keep walking, to keep stumbling into / the blinding darkness ahead.” Or “the woman with her purse clutched / to her breasts like a dead child.” Laux is also the author of Awake, What We Carry and Smoke, and coauthor with Kim Addonizio of The Poet’s Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry. In an interview with Southern Hum magazine, Laux described her process of writing poetry: “I sit at my desk or at a bus stop or on my front porch, watching the crows squabble in the trees and write things down as they appear to me. At some point, I write something that catches fire or takes root or begins to flow like a river and I follow the trail, the scent, like a dog.” In Facts about the Moon, Laux has followed the trail where it led her, to a collection of lyrics that trace the rough-hewn edge of the everyday: rough wanderings that have brought me here, to this sleep-repaired morning, these singing trees and into my own listening body. — Loretta Clodfelter, BA ’00, MFA ’06




WORKS IN PRO GRESS: P H Y L L I S PA C I N , M FA ’ 7 3 by Jo Kaufman It’s a long way from the Midwest to the Bay Area, but the twin cities of Champaign and Urbana, Illinois, didn’t offer ceramic sculptor Phyllis Pacin, MFA ’73, the artistic community she longed for. Born and raised in Champaign, Phyllis completed two fine arts degrees at the University of Illinois, in 1968 and 1970, before attending Mills College. She graduated from Mills with a master of fine arts degree in 1973. “I had to get out of the Midwest,” Phyllis says of her decision, “and I knew I wanted to go to California.” Unlike many undergrads, Phyllis knew from an early age that she wanted to be an artist. “My love of clay goes back to the first grade and my first clay project: a sombrero ashtray. What I remember most is the smell of the damp clay and the tactile pleasure of wetting the piece to keep it soft while I worked. I loved the feel of it—the slippery surface contrasting with the solidity of the underlying form. I could barely wait a week to work on it again, and the finished piece was a shiny, glazed wonder to me.” Ralph DuCasse, head of the Mills art department when Phyllis was a student, was a steady source of support, and it was at Mills that she met two lifelong friends, Noreen Thompson, ’72, and Sharon Schwartzmann, ’73, both undergraduates in art. Phyllis still treasures these friendships. Armed with her MFA from Mills and three teaching credentials—one from the state of Illinois, and two from California, one in secondary education and one a community college teaching credential—Phyllis was on her way to becoming the working artist she aspired to be, despite having grown up in a family of engineers, scientists, and mathematicians. Her paternal grandfather – a jewelry designer – was the exception. In addition to pursuing her art after graduating from Mills, Phyllis began a long and fruitful career as a teacher, first at Chabot College and later for high schools in the Oakland Unified School District. She currently works with seniors at the Center for Elders Independence and St. Paul’s Towers. The recipient of countless awards, most recently the David and Susan Hostetler Visual Concept Award from the Starbrick Clay National in Ohio, Phyllis’ work is exhibited in several museums, including the Oakland Museum and the American Museum of Ceramic Art in Pomona, California. It can also be seen in public and corporate collections around the country, such as those on display at the Kaiser Permanente buildings in Fort Worth and San Diego. Her current body of raku-fired ceramic tile is, in her words, “worlds away from my background of traditional sculpture and pottery,” which has resulted in new pieces that excite the eye and the imagination. Raku firing, which has its roots in Japan, is a labor and time intensive process, but, says Phyllis, “The excitement that comes in seeing four finished tiles every 20 minutes compensates for the demands of this particular method of firing.” The tiles, arranged in architectural compositions, have the trompe l’oeil effect of appearing as three-dimensional forms floating in space. After rolling out large slabs of clay, Phyllis textures them with found objects, which can be anything from circuit boards to ping pong paddles, so when the slabs are cut into tiles, no two have the same textural design. “Playing with the space within the picture plane, and with the illusions this creates, has become as important as the composition of my subject matter.” As both collectors and casual fans agree, the work is as nuanced as it is evocative and the results are nothing short of magic.



STA RTING A M O V EM ENT, EN D I N G H U N G E R : J E S S I C A B A RT H O L O W, ’ 9 4 by Caroline Glesmann Fighting hunger has been an enduring passion in the life of Jessica Bartholow, ’94, in part because experiencing poverty has characterized some of her most deeply felt experiences. When Jessica was growing up in northern California, there were times when she and her younger sister did not have enough to eat. Her mom was a bookkeeper and her dad had a job that took him 150 miles away during the week; despite the two incomes, it was difficult to make ends meet. “There were weeks when we had whatever you could make out of Bisquick for dinner – one night it was pancakes, the next night it was doughnuts,” she recalls. She remembers one night when her mother did not come home until 2:00 a.m., and Jessica and her sister didn’t know why. Today, from her vantage point as a parent of two young sons, Jessica understands the situation better. “Our mom couldn’t afford to buy food that day, and she couldn’t face us being hungry,” she says. “When she finally came home she was carrying big bags from McDonald’s. I realize now she was waiting until they closed, and she could get the leftovers for us.” Jessica’s professional life is informed by the imprint of those difficult childhood experiences. For six years she was the director of education and advocacy for the Oakland-based Alameda County Community Food Bank, which provides food assistance for 40,000 low-income residents weekly. Since 2005 she has been the statewide manager of the Food Stamp Outreach and Access Project for the California Association of Food Banks, an organization that unites 42 food banks to help alleviate hunger in the state. As a high school student, Jessica rarely thought about pursuing higher education. Her parents hadn’t gone to college, nor had her adult acquaintances, other than her teachers. Her outlook began to change when, due to her high PSAT scores, she started receiving college recruitment information. Mills stood out from the pack of glossy brochures, and she became excited

about the opportunity to attend a school where women are empowered to learn and grow. At Mills she majored in international relations, minored in economics, and studied Spanish. “I felt like I could do anything while I was at Mills,” she recalls. “If there was just an idea I had, I could find support from my professors, and there was a strong Mills community that could support me in other ways.” In addition to being a time of academic exploration, Jessica’s years at Mills also were marked by a new awareness about differences in socioeconomic class. Coming from a poor family, she often felt isolated from many of her classmates. “For me it was a time of real class awakening,” she says, “but I didn’t have the words to position my feelings about class and income into what I was experiencing on a regular basis.” Her parents were homeless for part of Jessica’s time at Mills, and though she worked multiple jobs in addition to receiving financial aid and a generous Mills scholarship, she struggled to pay her annual fees and buy books. After Mills, Jessica earned a master’s degree in political science, with an emphasis in Latin American studies, from the University of New Mexico, and a graduate degree from the Institute of Latin American Social Studies in Santiago, Chile. She then worked with a nonprofit organization to increase voter participation among low-income Albuquerque residents, helping to register more than 15,000 new voters. Some of the voter recruitment was conducted at food pantries, where people in need could receive a free bag of food, giving Jessica her first glimpse at doing community organizing in this venue. “The people running the food pantries were well-respected community leaders, and I saw the food

bank system as an incredible way to organize.” When she and her now-husband moved back to the Bay Area, Jessica looked for food bank organizing jobs. She found one with the Alameda County Community Food Bank, one of the first food banks in the nation to do advocacy work with clients as well as food stamp outreach. In 2005, she joined the California Association of Food Banks (CAFB). At CAFB, she raises awareness about the federal Food Stamp Program, which she describes as the country’s most important anti-hunger program. She connects food banks across the state in outreach efforts, manages a website <>, and developed a toll-free food stamp hotline that received over 50,000 inquiries in its first year. She also oversees CAFB’s Nutrition Education Program, which teaches people how to use, store, and prepare locally grown fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods. Most recently, Jessica has been engaged in educating California’s Congressional delegation about the 2007 Farm Bill, the major federal legislation that encompasses food, agricultural, environmental, and rural policy. She and other advocates hope to prevent food stamp benefits from being reduced and improve access to the program. While Jessica’s life experience motivates her work, this personal knowledge also can make her job difficult. “As a seven-year-old, I had to worry about what I was going to eat the next day – that’s an indignity that impacts you for the rest of your life,” she says. “I feel very deeply when decisions are made that force parents and children to go without food.” She knows this passion will continue to define her career, wherever it takes her. “I don’t know where this work will lead me in the next ten years, but I definitely know that forever I’ll be working on issues of social and economic justice.” S U MME R 2007 MILLS QUARTERLY


Passages Alumnae Gladys “Glad” Anderson Stankowski, ’30, sister of Genevieve Anderson Robertson, ’22 (deceased), Norma Anderson Johnson, ’26, and Evelyn Anderson May, ’28 (deceased) / March 23, 2007 Mrs. Stankowski was an instructor in the physical education department of the University of Missouri. She later worked as an admissions counselor at the university. Marie “Louise” Heyfron Stark, ’30 / December 9, 2000 Florence Thrift Galla, ’31, sister of Kathryn “Kay” Thrift Files, ’33 / December 4, 2005 Catherine “Katie” Morgan Trefethen, '31 / June 8, 2007 Elizabeth Coghlan Lawry, ’34, sister of Virginia “Ginny” Coghlan MacLean, ’40 (deceased) and aunt of Nancy MacLean, ’66 / December 7, 2006 Mrs. Lawry was a class secretary for ten years and also served on the AAMC’s Board of Governors. Among her many

other volunteer activities she was active in the San Francisco Junior League and on the Board of Directors of Children’s Hospital of San Francisco. Louie Mason Walther, MA ’35 / January 27, 2007 Mrs. Walther taught high school in Grand Junction, Colorado and Elko, Nevada. She was active in the friends of the library in Broomfield, Colorado and wrote several books on local history and antiques. Inez Gardner Barr, ’36, sister of Alma Gardner, ’44, and aunt of Karyn Daniels Mandan, ’68 / August 20, 2006 Eleanor Hadley, ’38 / June 1, 2007 Beth Baxter Garcia, ’39, MA ’41, sister of Barbara Baxter Gray, ’35 (deceased) / February 2, 2007 Mrs. Garcia was a sculptor and jewelry maker, with animals providing much of her artistic inspiration. She had been a member of the Carmel (California) Art Association since 1955 and served several

Sheila Ballantyne, ’58, 1936-2007 Writer Sheila Ballantyne, ’58, died on May 2 in Berkeley of multisystem atrophy, a degenerative neurological disease. She was the author of two novels, Norma Jean, the Termite Queen, published in 1975, and Imaginary Crimes (1982). She also penned a collection of short stories, Life on Earth (1988); one of the collection’s pieces, “Perpetual Care,” received an O. Henry Prize in 1977. Ms. Ballantyne was perhaps best known for the critically acclaimed Imaginary Crimes, which the New York Times described as a “semi-autobiographical account of a young woman raised by a father who is a confidence man.” Sheila’s mother died of breast cancer when Ms. Ballantyne was just a child, and her father was a charming but often absentee parent to Sheila and her younger sister. In 1994 Imaginary Crimes was made into a feature film starring Harvey Keitel and Fairuza Balk. Born in Seattle, Ms. Ballantyne moved to Oakland to attend Mills, where she majored in psychology. In 1985 she joined the Mills faculty and taught creative writing in the English department until 1997. She is survived by her daughter, son, sister, two grandchildren, and niece.


terms on its Board of Directors. Her works of art have been featured in galleries in California, Florida, and Oregon and are also found in many private art collections nationwide. Mary Jane Stamm, ’39 / February 6, 2007 Milda Iffert Hester, ’40 / February 15, 2007 Mrs. Hester was a class secretary for many years. A longtime high school teacher, she received an honorary life membership in the National PTA for her contributions to teaching and the American Field Service program. Patricia Hind Black, ’41, TCRED ’42 / February 4, 2007 Ruth Garvin Marquis, ’41 / April 11, 2007 Judith Winestine Wolf, ’41, sister of Minna Winestine Hewes, ’39 / August 30, 2006 Jean Goodrich Gibson, ’42 / December 16, 2006 Caroline Dickason Peters, ’42, aunt of Dorothy Rockwood Mitchell, ’67 / May 15, 2005 Dorothy “Jane” McVeigh Raney, ’45, mother of Rebecca Raney, ’71, cousin of Doris Foote Maddux, ’39 (deceased) and cousin of Phyllis Foote Vay, ’44 (deceased) / March 30, 2007 Mrs. Raney taught art at Washington State College and at Vacaville (California) High School. An extensive traveler, she was also a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines. Joan Scribner Patterson Jacobs, ’47 / February 20, 2007 Mrs. Jacobs was a real restate agent with Capik and Company in Sun Valley, Idaho, for many years. She was also active in the development of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, which assists emerging ski racers. Barbara Bohannon Carleton, ’50 / December 29, 2006 Ivabelle “Belle” Bargerhuff Rhodes, ’51 / February 13, 2007 Mrs. Rhodes and her husband owned Bella Oaks Vineyard in Rutherford, California, a supplier of cabernet sauvignon grapes for Heitz Wine Cellars. In the 1970s, she helped establish the Napa Valley Cooking Class, an informal culinary training venue which lasted two

decades; a renowned cook herself, she had a library of 3,500 cookbooks. In the 1950s, she was director of occupational therapy at Mills. Elizabeth “Wiz” Weyerhaeuser Meadowcroft, ’55, aunt of Elizabeth “Lisa” Weyerhaeuser, ’78 / March 25, 2007 Mrs. Meadowcroft served on the board of directors of organizations including the National Wildlife Federation, Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition, and National Resources and Wildlife Foundation. She was the first woman appointed Washington state game commissioner, serving 12 years in this capacity. She loved fishing in the San Juan Islands, hunting in eastern Washington, and traveling the world. Sheila Ballantyne, '58 / May 2, 2007 Elizabeth Hawks Nord, ’58 / December 4, 2006 Mrs. Nord was a longtime volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America’s Pikes Peak Council, located in the Colorado Springs area. Catherine O’Connor, ’60 / March 15, 2007 Ms. O’Connor worked as a teacher and nurse. She was also a talented potter. Kimberly Meyers-Gordon, MAT ’80 / March 15, 2007 David Schurr, GR ’87 / December 26, 2006 For many years Mr. Schurr worked in nuclear medicine at Kaiser Permanente. A dedicated bird watcher and naturalist, he was a docent at the Audubon Canyon Ranch, located in Stinson Beach, California. Alda Nye Byron, ’88/ March 20, 2007 Abigail “Abby” Soffer, ’98 / Unknown Dana Whittaker, MSP ’98 / March 13, 2007 Since 2002 Mrs. Whittaker taught third grade at Wildwood Elementary School in Piedmont, California, and was an active member of the Association of Piedmont Teachers. Her previous roles at Wildwood included instructional aide and substitute teacher. She enjoyed running, hiking, and scuba diving.


Mary Jane Stamm, ’39, 1915–2007

Kenneth Holmgren, father of President Janet Holmgren / March 27, 2007

A few of the constants that define true Mills women are high intellect, bold goals, and the determination to succeed where others may fail. A woman who exemplified these characteristics was Mary Jane Stamm, MD. On February 6, the Mills community was saddened to say goodbye to Dr. Stamm, who passed away peacefully at the age of 91. A 1939 graduate of the College with a pre-medical bachelor degree in zoology, Dr. Stamm was a courageous and determined individual who was the only woman in her 1943 graduating class at the University of Oregon Medical School. Trained as an obstetrician, she studied surgical techniques and, over the ensuing decades, held several significant positions in medicine including assistant clinical professor on the obstetrics-gynecology attending staff at the UC San Francisco. At various times she also practiced at San Francisco General Hospital, Hayward Hospital, and Peralta Hospital. In addition, she was the first female ob-gyn at Hayward’s Eden Hospital and worked there from 1954 until her retirement. Known for her honesty and integrity, Dr. Stamm delighted in giving generously to help others achieve their life goals. To that end, she created and funded the Dr. Mary Jane Stamm scholarship for Castro Valley High school graduates. She was also a consistently generous contributor to the AAMC. Dr. Stamm will be missed by the thousands of lives she touched through her medical practice and her financial generosity. —Willi Fuller, ’04, MFA ’06

Don Conway, husband of Constance “Connie” Hellyer Conway, ’59, brother-in-law of Dorothy “Doro” Hellyer Oliver, ’60, and Tirrell Hellyer Kimball, ’62, cousin-in-law of Natalie Hellyer Gordon, ’58, and Marion Hellyer King, ’54 / January 30, 2005 Dorothy Gillard, sister of Ruth Gillard, ’36 (deceased) / December 13, 2006 Wallace Harmon, husband of Patricia Reid Harmon, ’57, and father of Jennifer Harmon, ’82 / October 10, 2006 Alan Hjellum, husband of Nanette “Nan” Ostrander Hjellum, ’48 / February 1, 2007 Donald Kroll, father of Laura “Katie” Kroll, ’00 / April 19, 2006 John Mee, husband of Sally Cheek Mee, ’42 / April 2, 2007 William “Bill” Rogers, husband of Bonnie Grosser Rogers, ’48 / March 15, 2007 Walter “Wally” Schirra, husband of Josephine Fraser Schirra, ’47 / May 3, 2007 Mr. Schirra was one of the original seven Mercury astronauts named by NASA in April 1959. He was the only astronaut to have flown on Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo spacecrafts. Charles Stoddard, father of Carol Stoddard Segur, ’68 / December 21, 2006 Clyde Yasuhara, father of Clyde Yasuhara, MFA ’91 / January 31, 2007

Gifts in Memory of Chloe Doerr Ackman, ’40, aunt of Katherine Doerr, ’64, by Katherine Doerr, ’64 Nick Antone, by Diane Smith Janusch, ’55 Laura Balas, MA ’92, by Helen and Arne Hovdesven Alda Nye Byron, ’88, by Isabelle Hagopian Arabian, ’45 Jane “Jae” Giddings Carmichael, ’46, by Barbara Perren Evelyn “Peg” Deane, ’41, by

Alda Nye Byron, ’88, 1943-2007 Alda Nye Byron, ’88, dedicated her professional life to academia, carving out lengthy careers supporting students, faculty, and staff at both Mills College and UC Berkeley. Alda died unexpectedly on March 25. Alda worked at Mills from 1979 to 2000 in the positions of registrar and academic analyst. As registrar, Alda managed the office that tracked students’ academic progress, and in so doing she interacted with many generations of Mills students—from the time a student entered the College as a freshwoman to the day she walked across the stage at graduation. She also convened the Academic Standing Committee, a faculty committee, and guided generations of faculty in academic policies, protocols, and traditions. In her role as academic analyst, she worked on curricular issues including the annual revision of the course catalog and the review of new and revised courses. Marion Ross, ’44, professor emerita of economics and former dean of faculty, said of her long-time friend, “Late in my professorial tenure I chaired the Academic Standing Committee for three years. We met weekly and reviewed the registrar’s summary of the cases before us. Alda’s presentation of each and every case was succinct, complete, and clear. Some of the decisions were difficult, but in no case did we lack information of either the particular circumstances or the College’s regulations and any previous exemptions granted to those regulations.” While working full-time at Mills to support her family, Alda completed her undergraduate degree, earning a BA in economic and political analysis in 1988. “Her heart was entirely in the academic enterprise,” recalled close friend and colleague Sharon PageMedrich, ’05, who worked in the offices of the president and provost during Alda’s tenure at Mills; Sharon and Alda again worked together in the graduate dean’s office at UC Berkeley from 2003 to 2004. “She was devoted to the mission of women’s education, as well as the liberal education of a well-informed and civic-minded citizenry. She exemplified the Mills adage of ‘Remember who you are and what you represent.’” Before coming to Mills, Alda worked in UC Berkeley’s office of records from 1964 to 1979. Alda will be remembered not only for her dedication to higher education but also for her creativity, generosity, and genuine interest in others. She was an integral part of the Mills Faculty-Staff Club, which hosts a weekly happy hour and biannual special events for members. “She was the heart and soul of the club’s gatherings, and expert at culinary creations,” noted Ms. Page-Medrich. She also enjoyed baking and often brought delicious treats to the office to share with her colleagues. She had a wonderful sense of fashion, often wearing festive hats for special occasions. Always well read, she was a witty conversationalist, with a wide range of eclectic interests and a droll sense of humor. Alda Nye Byron is survived by her son, Ethan, her sister and brothers, and many other relatives and loving friends. Almost 100 gathered at Mills on May 2 to pay tribute to “Lady B,” as she was known by many. SHARON PAGE-MEDRICH, ’05




Passages Mary Hart Clark, ’42 Alice “Put” Putnam Erskine, ’31, MA ’35, by Georgine O’Connor, ’81

Cornelia “Connie” Dodge Fraley, ’44, by Carolyn Clothier Killefer, ’45 Florence Thrift Galla, ’31, sister

of Kathryn Thrift Files, ’33, by Kathryn Thrift Files, ’33 Beth Baxter Garcia, ’39, MA ’41, by Roberta Rice Treseder, ’43,

Eleanor Hadley, ’38, 1916-2007 Dr. Eleanor Hadley, who as a young woman was instrumental in helping to democratize Japan’s post-World War II economy, died June 1 of natural causes. Dr. Hadley studied political science, economics, and philosophy at Mills. Her nephew, Robert Hadley, told the Seattle Times that she was chosen for a student fellowship at Tokyo Imperial University, an experience that influenced both the direction of her professional life and the formation of her personal ideals. From 1938 to 1940 she traveled in Japan and China and was one of the first Westerners to visit Nanjing after the massacre of an estimated 150,000 to 300,000 Chinese by the Japanese military. “She went to Japan a pacifist but came back from the whole experience with an understanding that there are times you have to stand up to horrible regimes,” her nephew told the Times. As a doctoral student at Harvard, she was recruited by the U.S. State Department to work as a research economist, concentrating on Japan. At the end of the war she joined General Douglas MacArthur’s staff in Tokyo, where she worked to help dismantle the zaibatsu, the business conglomerates that controlled Japan’s economy. Later, after completing her doctorate in economics, she planned to work for the Central Intelligence Agency but was denied security clearance. She eventually discovered she had been blacklisted and waged a successful 16-year fight to clear her name. Dr. Hadley taught at Smith College, George Washington University, and the University of Washington a senior policy analyst for the U.S. Tariff Commission and General Accounting Office. She co-authored her autobiography, Memoirs of a Trustbuster: A Lifelong Adventure with Japan, published in 2003. In 1998 Mills conferred an honorary doctor of laws degree upon her. Eleanor is survived by two nephews and two nieces.

Catherine “Katie” Morgan Trefethen, ’31, 1909–2007 To those who knew Catherine “Katie” Morgan Trefethen, the vibrant colors of the Napa Valley vineyards were the perfect backdrop for the life of the former Mills College art major. Born in Piedmont, California, Mrs. Trefethen attended Piedmont High School before coming to the College. After receiving her BA in art in 1931, she met her future husband Eugene Edgar Trefethen, Jr.; they married in 1937. It was a loving alliance that lasted for 59 years until his death in 1996. Their union created a dynamic partnership in which Mrs. Trefethen’s intelligence, style, and grace supported her husband throughout his career as an industrialist who worked to build the Henry J. Kaiser companies into mega-giant Kaiser Industries. As the wife of the president of Kaiser Industries, Mrs. Trefethen was actively involved in many of his social and business pursuits including the acquisition and development of the Trefethen Family Vineyards. A lover of all things beautiful, Mrs. Trefethen put her talents to work alongside her husband to create a world class winery. She was also a gifted gardener who believed in the power of fresh produce to enhance the flavors of any meal, especially when complemented by a selection of Trefethen fine wines. The garden that surrounds her Napa home is admired by garden enthusiasts around the country and has appeared in books and magazines. It seemed fitting that Mrs. Trefethen passed away on June 8 while overlooking her beloved garden—the one that had given her such pleasure for so many years. She was 97. At various times during her life, Mrs. Trefethen supported the arts by her involvement as a member of organizations that include the Junior League of the East Bay, Marin Art and Garden Center, Oakland Museum, San Francisco Arboretum, Filoli, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She continued to support Mills by establishing the Catherine Morgan Trefethen Fellowship for graduate art studies and the Trefethen Professorship for art history. The Mills College Trefethen Aquatic Center, completed in 1998, was made possible by a generous donation in her husband’s memory. She is survived by two children along with numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren. She is also survived by her sister Barbara Morgan Eisele. Mrs. Trefethen was a kind and loving woman with an enduring spirit, lively wit, and generous heart. She will be missed by the entire Mills community. —Willi Fuller, ’04, MFA ’06


and Betty Taves Whitman, ’46 Dr. Wallace Harmon, P ’82, father of Jennifer Harmon, ’82, by Jennifer Harmon, ’82 Kenneth Holmgren, father of President Janet L. Holmgren, by Carol Chinn Chiu, ’63, Mills College Club of Hawaii, Mills College Club of New York, Gordon Russell, Ramon S. Torrecilha, and Betty Chu Wo, ’46 Virginia Holmgren, mother of President Janet L. Holmgren, by Mills College Club of New York and Ramon S. Torrecilha Donald Kroll, P ’00, father of Laura Kroll, ’00, by Laura Kroll, ’00 Joyce Leyland, ’47, by Mary Keith Osborn Michael McPherson, by April Ninomiya Hopkins, MFA ’03 Carol Nockold, ’77, by Karen Caplan, ’77, and Greer Stern Noble, ’77 Dorothy “Jane” McVeigh Raney, ’45, by Shirley Schweers Goers, ’45 Charmian Everding Robinson, ’46, by David Robinson Ruth Collison Ross, ’24, by Priscilla-Joy Everts, ’40 Dr. Mary Jane Stamm, ’39, by Robert and Diana Birtwistle Odermatt, ’60 Gladys “Glad” Anderson Stankowski, ’30, by Stephen Mollenkamp Charles Stoddard, P ’68, father of Carol Stoddard Segur, ’68, by Elaine Wong Chew, ’68 Hal Tower, by Diane Smith Janusch, ’55 Eva Ueltzen, P ’07, mother of Alexi Ueltzen, ’07, by Robert Ueltzen, P ’07 Louisa Pownall Wagner, ’38, by Carla Wagner Cynthia Weintraub Weber, ’69, by Jorie McLaren Townsley, ’69 Jeannine Dennis Wendt, ’47, mother of Ann Wendt Hall, ’89, by Evelyn Maglathlin Petersen, ’47, and James Petersen, P ’83 Reynold Wik, by Derwent Elisabeth Craven Bowen, ’65, Judith Ireland, ’56, Donna and Robert Johnston, Kelly Anne Preyer, ’76, and Favour Hazeltine Slater, ’58

Travel for Fall 2007

Fun, friends, food, wine and art on the 2nd annual post-reunion trip. Added to last year’s successful agenda will be a visit to the world famous Hess Collection/Winery, a lunch and tour of the Culinary Institute of America, reception with local alumnae, 3 winery visits, and ending with dessert (a chocolate factory tour with sample). Beginning at Reinhardt Alumnae House for brunch, 2-night stay in The River Terrace Inn, all transportation will be by deluxe motor coach. Limited to 30 passengers. October 14–16, 2007, $669.

The Holiday Markets along the Danube River have proven a favorite. Immerse yourself in the culture of the Czech Republic, Germany and Austria at the most festive time of the year. Enjoy hot mulled wine, gingerbread and sausages while you visit the holiday markets teeming with handicrafts and art. Music is a significant part of the holiday atmosphere. You unpack just once on the deluxe MS Tranquility, your hotel for the journey, as you enjoy the picturesque scenery, architecture and ambience with your fellow passengers. December 11–20, 2007, $1,531 plus air.

Travel for Spring 2008

The artwork of Phyllis Pacin, MFA '73, showcased at Pence Gallery. See Pacin profile, page 28.

Mills Quarterly Alumnae Association of Mills College Reinhardt Alumnae House Mills College PO Box 9998 Oakland, CA 94613-0998 (510) 430-2110



Printed on recycled paper with soy-based inks.

Mills Quarterly summer 2007  
Mills Quarterly summer 2007  

Summer 2007 Mills College alumnae magazine