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N e w fac u lt y


The MBA Progr am marks 10 years


The senior gift

Mills Quarterly Fall 2012

Back to


Girls on three continents gain access to education through the efforts of Mills alumnae

John Bischoff, MFA ’73

Photo by Joe Johnston

Composer and pioneer of live computer music Associate professor, Mills College Music Department Donor to the Mills College Annual Fund

“Your giving to Mills means a great deal to the College, even if your gift is modest. I do whatever I can to support Mills because my experience here has been so important to my musical education and artistic development.” — John Alumnae/i contributions to the Mills College Annual Fund send the message that we value the education Mills provides. When thousands of alumnae/i give, no matter the size of each gift, we amplify this message, which influences prospective students and donors. And we provide essential support for Mills’ academic programs, faculty salaries, and financial aid.

Make your gift today and show your Mills education is important to you. Give to the Mills College Annual Fund by calling 510.430.2366, picking up the phone when a student calls you, visiting, or returning the enclosed envelope.




Mills Quarterly

contents Fall 2012 8 Pay it forward by Caitlin Graveson The graduating Class of 2012 demonstrated their philanthropy with a well-orchestrated gift campaign that raised more than $8,000 and achieved a 42 percent participation rate. Plus: Bent Twigs

12 Teach a girl, change the world by Jessica Langlois, MFA ’10 Success in school can make all the difference in a girl’s life, but overwhelming cultural, physical, and financial barriers keep many girls from gaining that advantage. We profile four alumnae who have had remarkable results improving access to education for young women from disadvantaged communities in Kenya, China, and northern California.

17 Risk and reward by Allison Marin ’12 A decade ago, the Mills MBA Program—and its first entering cohort of 12 students—forged new pathways in business education for women. We caught up with several of those first graduates to see where their paths have led.

32 What the body craves by Tarrin Griggs ’12 Excerpts from the winning submission that earned the 2012 Mary Merritt Henry Prize for outstanding poetry by an undergraduate student.

Departments 2

Ask Alecia


Mills Matters


Class Notes




In Memoriam

On the cover: As summer turns to fall, students everywhere are heading back to school. This issue of the Quarterly looks at the benefit that education brings to young women who are most in need; at the opportunities Mills offers to women pursuing advanced degrees; and at the joy of those who completed their degrees at Mills last May. Illus tr ation by MG & Co/IS tock .com

Join us in celebrating the new academic year at Convocation on September 28—and enjoy all that Reunion has to offer September 27–30. See for details.

Ask Alecia Volume XCXI Number 1 (USPS 349-900) Fall 2012 President Alecia A. DeCoudreaux Vice President for Institutional Advancement Cynthia Brandt Stover Senior Director of Communications Dawn Cunningham ’85 Managing Editor Linda Schmidt Design and Art Direction Nancy Siller Wilson Contributing Writers Caitlin Graveson Jessica Langlois, MFA ’10 Andrew Faught Editorial Assistance Allison Marin ’12

Q: Dean Deborah Merrill-Sands is  

Q: Will you please reinstate the theater

dedicated to sustaining a quality  

arts department?

MBA Program at Mills’ Lokey Graduate

—Shelley Fernandez ’55

School of Business. Are you providing   the strongest support possible for the

A: Yours is a question I’ve heard from a

Mills MBA and will you continue this  

number of alumnae in the past year! The

support for the foreseeable future?

Dramatic Arts Department, which was

—Alisa Rodriguez ’11

closed in 2004 because of the budget deficit the College faced at that time, clearly

A: I am very proud of all that Dean

holds a very special place in the hearts of

Deborah Merrill-Sands has accomplished

generations of Mills graduates.

in the past two years to build on the

Many in the Mills campus community,

strengths of our Lorry I. Lokey Graduate

myself included, share your belief in the

The Mills Quarterly (USPS 349-900) is published quarterly by Mills College, 5000 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland, CA 94613. Periodicals postage paid at Oakland, California, and at additional mailing office(s). Postmaster: Send address changes to the Office of Institutional Advancement, Mills College, 5000 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland, CA 94613.

School of Business. I’m also proud of the

importance of theater for the liberal arts

achievements of our MBA students, who

curriculum. Because an understanding

have been winning scholarships, grants,

of theater is essential in dance perfor-

and accolades from a number of national

mance, our acclaimed Dance Department


has begun offering an acting fundamen-

Copyright © 2012, Mills College Address correspondence to the Mills Quarterly, Mills College, 5000 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland, CA 94613. Letters to the editor may be edited for clarity or length. Email: Phone: 510.430.3312 Printed on recycled paper containing 10 percent post-consumer waste.

One significant way that Mills is

tals class taught by the casting direc-

investing for the long term in the Lokey

tor of Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Amy

Graduate School of Business is by add-

Potozkin. The class is open to Mills stu-

ing faculty. Previously, all MBA faculty

dents of any major. In addition, the Dance

were either based in our outstanding

Department teaches courses in costume

Economics Department or were visiting

design and dance theater.

professors and lecturers. This spring, we

Although we are reintroducing drama

hired the first-ever tenure-track professor

through the dance curriculum, the College

specifically for the Business School, and

is not currently in the financial position to

she will start teaching this fall (see page 4).

invest in rebuilding a drama department.

A very different way the College sup-

Among other challenges, Mills lacks a

ports the Business School is by celebrat-

theater facility that could support a well-

ing its 10th anniversary at Reunion 2012

rounded, state-of-the-art theater program.

on September 29. We invite all MBA stu-

Lisser Hall, which opened in 1901, is full

dents and alumnae—and anyone curious

of character and history—but badly needs

about the program—to come and join us.

renovation. This is a situation in which a very generous donor could make a big difference for the College!


M i l l s Q u a r t e r ly

Each month, President Alecia DeCoudreaux answers questions submitted by alumnae and friends through the Mills College Alumnae Community website. A selection of these questions and answers is reprinted here.

Q: Did you know when you became  

dents matriculated in fall 2011. And with

istrative positions. Another strategy is

president that the College had sig- 

fewer students, Mills also received less

to boost enrollment. We are dedicating

nificant financial problems? What is  

tuition and room and board revenue. The

as much of our budget as possible to

your analysis of the cause(s) of these?

decline in student revenues contributed

scholarships, and we have just hired a

$3.5 million to the budget shortfall in the

vice president of enrollment manage-

2011–12 fiscal year.

ment who will help to reinvigorate our

—Margaret Goldsmith Fawcett ’63

recruitment efforts and develop a strate-

A: I became aware that Mills College

The College is pursuing several strat-

faced some financial strain when I was a

egies for reducing the deficit, increasing

candidate for the position of president in

enrollment, and becoming more sustain-

A third strategy is to engage as many

the fall of 2010. The Presidential Search

able in the long run. One strategy is to

alumnae and friends as possible in sup-

Committee shared budget reports with

reduce our expenses wherever possible

porting the College financially and restor-

me and briefed me on fiscal concerns,

without compromising academic excel-

ing it to financial health. I am thankful

such as the effect of the recession on

lence or the financial support we offer

for the many donors who have given to

the Mills endowment and the College’s

students. We have achieved this through

Mills in the past year. As of June 30, these

high tuition discount rate (the amount of

temporary salary reductions and fur-

donors provided a total of $11.9 million, 8

financial aid Mills awards to students in

loughs and by eliminating a few admin-

percent more than last year!

gic enrollment plan (see page 6).

relation to tuition revenue). When I arrived at Mills and began working with my cabinet to analyze the budget in detail, I realized how complex and interrelated these financial problems are. Like other colleges, Mills saw the value of its endowment decline in 2008, and it has not yet fully rebounded. In June 2007, the endowment was worth $233 million; when I began as president here more than one year ago, it was worth $183.4 million. This decline in endowment value had a domino effect. It led to a significant decrease in the amount of income we receive from the endowment—income that used to cover as much as 20 percent of the College’s operating budget. Less endowment income meant that Mills had less scholarship funding to offer prospective students. Fewer and smaller scholarship offers meant that fewer stu-

At Mills, for Alumnae Alumnae Relations 510.430.2123, Alumnae Admission Representatives Vala Burnett, Assistant Director of Admissions 510.430.2269, Career Services 510.430.2130, Giving to Mills 510.430.2366, Library Services 510.430.2377,

M Center/Transcripts 510.430.2000, Pool and Gym Trefethen Aquatic Center 510.430.2170, Haas Pavilion Fitness Center 510.430.3376, Alumnae Association of Mills College (AAMC) Linda Jaquez-Fissori ’92, President 510.430.2110, AAMC, 5000 MacArthur Blvd., MB #86, Oakland, CA 94613-1301

For more information on these and other alumnae services at Mills, visit Some benefits, such as access to the pool and fitness center, require you to show your AAMC membership card, available from Alumnae Relations and the AAMC. fa l l 2 0 1 2


Mills Matters Fresh faculty bring scholarly skills and teaching talent Mills continues to invest in academic excellence and quality teaching with the addition this fall of the following new faculty members: Audrey Calefas-Strebelle, assistant

Meryl Faith Bailey

Jennifer E. Smith

Carol Theokary

professor of French and francophone studies, received her BA in history and

Harvard Law School, and her MA and PhD

postdoctoral work at the Center for

art history as well as her MA in French

in art history at UC Berkeley.

Society and Genetics in the Department

Amy Franceschini will join the faculty

and American history at Sorbonne

of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at

University in Paris. She studied Turkish

as assistant professor of studio art,

the University of California, Los Angeles,

at Bogazici University in Istanbul and

with a focus in new genres, in spring

where she received an Innovative

completed her PhD in French at Stanford

2013. With a BFA in photography from

Courses in Undergraduate Education

University in June. She has previ-

San Francisco State University and an

grant award. Smith earned her doctor-

ous teaching experience at Stanford

MFA from Stanford, her works focus on

ate in 2010 at Michigan State University,

University and Notre Dame de Namur.

themes of sustainability and community

where she studied social ecology of

and perceived conflicts between humans

spotted hyenas. Her research focuses on

professor in fall 2011, returns as assistant

and nature. She has taught at Stanford,

the interface of behavior, physiology,

professor of art history with specializa-

California College of the Arts, San

ecology, and evolutionary biology.

tion in late Italian Renaissance art and

Francisco Art Institute, and UC Berkeley.

Meryl Faith Bailey, a visiting assistant

Assistant Professor of Biology Jennifer

architecture in Venice. She received her BA in anthropology at Harvard, her JD at

E. Smith comes to Mills following

Reunion ’12

September 27–September 30 Convocation on September 28

Join your classmates for a weekend of friendship and fun. See, or contact or 510.430.2123.

Celebrating alumnae from class years ending in 2 or 7, including the Golden Girls of 1962

In Celebration of Julia Morgan

The Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business welcomes its first tenuretrack faculty hire: Assistant Professor of Business Carol Theokary earned her doctorate of business administration in 2010 from the School of Management at Boston University, where she specialized in operations and technology management with a minor in economics. She earned her MS in computer and communications engineering in Lebanon and worked for several years as an engineer in the telecommunications industry. Theokary has been a visiting assistant professor in the Mills MBA Program, teaching operations management and quantitative methods and supervising students in their management practicums. Former Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance Ann Murphy has been promoted to assistant professor, a tenure track

As part of a statewide festival honoring Julia Morgan, Reunion 2012 includes an exhibition of the architect’s drawings and photographs of the buildings she designed for the campus.

position, as has Jay Gupta, assistant

Come enjoy an opening reception on Friday and tours led by Campus Architect Karen Fiene of the five Morgan–designed Mills buildings on Friday and Saturday.

Look for more news on this appointment

professor of philosophy. As we went to press, Chiu-Hung Chen was confirmed as the Peng Visiting Assistant Professor of Chinese Language and Literature. in the next issue.

Calendar Generous gifts strengthen College Mills College gratefully acknowledges the following gifts and grants of $50,000 and more received between March 1 and June 15, 2012. Trustee Mei Kwong ’70 and her husband, Laurence Franklin, made a generous gift through the Morris S. Smith Foundation that will support the Mills College Annual Fund, strengthen career services provided to students and alumnae of the Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business, increase the visibility of the Business School, and enhance activities to engage MBA alumnae. Alba Witkin and her family have been longtime donors and advocates for early childhood education and teacher training at Mills. Their most recent contribution, through the Bernard E. and Alba Witkin Charitable Foundation, will fund assistantships for graduate students in the Children’s School’s Preschool and Infant Care Program and scholarships for the Children’s School. Trustee Barbara Ahmajan Wolfe ’65 directed a gift from the Barbara A. and

Mills Music Now September 15  Bill Evans: Banjo in America September 28  Music by Darius Milhaud: Mills alumnae/i perform during Reunion October 5–6  John Cage and Pauline Oliveros birthday celebration (see back cover)

All events start at 7:30 pm in the Ensemble Room. Admission is free. For information, see or contact John Bischoff at 510.430.2331 or

Contemporary Writers Series September 1  Rubén Martínez

(7:00 pm, Student Union, co-sponsored with Latina/o Heritage Month) October 16  Rikki Ducornet

October 13  Thingamajigs: Music and art created with made and found materials

October 30  James Thomas Stevens

October 26  Jean-Philippe Colard: Dewing Piano Recital

November 13  Erin Moure

November 16  Laurie Anderson, Jean Macduff Vaux composer-in-residence All events start at 8:00 pm in the Littlefield Concert Hall. $15 general, $10 senior and non-Mills students, free to alumnae with AAMC card. See or contact Steed Cowart at 510.430.2334 or

November 6  Nina LaCour, MFA ’06 All events are at 5:30 pm, Mills Hall Living Room (unless otherwise noted), free. For information, contact Stephanie Young at 510.430.3130 or

Mills College Art Museum Dance Rehearsal: Karen Kilimnik’s World of Ballet and Theater September 12–December 9, 2012

Songlines Series September 24  Magda Maya and Tony

Hung Liu January 23–March 17, 2013

Buck: Improvisational piano and percussion interplay

For information, see or contact 510.430.2164 or The museum is open 11:00 am–4:00 pm Tuesday through Sunday, 11:00 am–7:30 pm Wednesday, and is closed Monday. Admission is free.

October 8  Keith Kirchoff and Eric Glick Rieman: Prepared acoustic piano and prepared Rhodes electric piano October 22  Bryan Eubanks and Cat Lamb: Solos and collaborative pieces using electro-acoustic sources and generative techniques

Thomas F. Wolfe Foundation to support efforts to increase student enrollment at Mills. The Hellman Foundation made a grant to support the Hellman Summer Science and Math Fellows Program. Ann Sulzberger Wolff ’42 made a leadership gift to the Mills College Annual Fund. The College received three distributions of bequests: from Kathleen Nordman Smith ’57 of San Mateo, California, to support the Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business; from the estate of Betty Jean Brosinske Erickson ’47 of Eugene, Oregon, to support undergraduate student scholarships; and from Priscilla-Joy “PJ” Everts ’40 of Alhambra, California, to endow Priscilla-Joy Everts and Joy McCauley Everts Memorial Scholarship. Joy McCauley was PJ’s mother.

Jay DeFeo: A Retrospective Jay DeFeo (1929–89), an associate professor of art at Mills College in the 1980s, is recognized as a unique and influential figure in 20th-century American art. She inspired a generation of students and endowed the Jay DeFeo Annual Prize to support and encourage the artmaking of MFA students graduating from Mills. A major retrospective of DeFeo’s work will be presented in San Francisco and New York. The exhibition encompasses the extraordinarily wide range of media in DeFeo’s art—including three major works on loan from the Mills College Art Museum’s permanent collection—and reveals the incredible scope and depth of her artistic vision, ideas, and influences. The exhibition catalogue, by Curator Dana Miller of the Whitney Museum, is the first comprehensive monograph on DeFeo.

Untitled (Florence), 1952, © 2012 The Jay DeFeo Trust/ Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

• November 3, 2012–February 3, 2013, at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art • February 28–June 2, 2013, at the Whitney Museum, New York • November 5, 7:30 pm, Lisser Theatre on the Mills College campus Greil Marcus delivers “Jay DeFeo and All That Jazz,” the 2012 Jane Green Endowed Lecture in Art History and Criticism fa l l 2 0 1 2


Mills cards now available The 5.5 x 4” folded notecard (below) displays a eucalyptus branch across the front and is blank inside.

New VP unifies oversight of admissions offices Brian O’Rourke has been named vice president of enrollment

A 4 x 6” correspondence card featuring a small eucalyptus leaf is also available.

management at Mills College, a new position that will be

Each comes in packets of six, with envelopes, for $10, plus $2.50 shipping and handling for up to five packets. Proceeds benefit Orange County Mills College Alumnae chapter activities, including an annual scholarship for a Mills student.

well as student retention. The position will also oversee finan-

To order: Mail your check, payable to Orange County Mills College Alumnae, along with a note indicating the quantity of each style, to Jana McDonough, 29262 Country Hills Road, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675. For more information, please contact Jana at or 949.347.8744.

responsible for both undergraduate and graduate admission as cial aid and student accounts. O’Rourke comes to Mills after 10 years as dean of admission and recruitment at Holy Names University (HNU), where he was responsible for reversing a decade-long enrollment decline and growing their student body to the largest in the university’s history. He counts his early-admit program guaranteeing admission at HNU for local college-bound students as one of his most gratifying accomplishments. He previously was director of undergraduate admission at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, California, where he also increased student enrollment to record levels. O’Rourke began his admission career at his alma mater, the University of Southern California, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations and business administration. He was selected from a slate of candidates from across the nation by a search committee including representatives from Mills faculty, staff, and students. He took office on August 13.

College and alumnae leadership looks to the future The Mills College Board of Trustees has appointed three new members to help guide and support the College in its mission of advancing women’s education. Lyn Flanigan ’65, who previously served as alumna trustee from 2008 to 2011. A resident of Honolulu, Hawaii, she earned her JD at the University of Hawaii and has been executive director of the Hawaii State Bar Association. Her previous years of service to the College give her a strong sense of the campus’ strengths and challenges. Liz Parker ’85, of Chicago, Illinois. She was ASMC president while at Mills and completed her MA in international relations at the University of Chicago. Parker brings extensive volunteer experience gained through leadership roles with the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lincoln Park Zoo, the Service Club of Chicago, and other organizations. Marjan Soleimanieh ’11 is the recent graduate trustee. During her time as an economics major at Mills, Soleimanieh served on the Mills College Presidential Search Committee and was a member of the Retention Task Force. Since graduation, she has coordinated events for recent graduates as a committee chair with the Palo Alto Area Mills College Club and works as a financial analyst with Siemens Medical Solutions. The Alumnae Association of Mills College (AAMC) also welcomed new—and returning—members of its Board of Governors. Julia Almanzan ’92 has been elected to a second term as alumna trustee on the AAMC board and the Mills College board, and will serve in that role until June 30, 2015. In addition, five new AAMC board members are Rebecca Freeman ’13, student governor; Lesli MacNeil ’75; LaKimbre Brown, EdD ’10; Bianca D’Allesandro, EdD ’12; and Merritt Richmond, MA ’12. These alumnae began their terms on July 1. 6 

M i l l s Q u a r t e r ly

Clockwise from top left: Lyn Flanigan, Marjan Soleimanieh, Merritt Richmond, Lesli MacNeil, and Bianca D’Allesandro

Campus kudos A selection of recent achievements by faculty, staff, and students

Kay Gilliland ’50, a teacher supervisor in the School of Education, received the Walter Denham Memorial Award for Advocacy for Mathematics Education from the California Mathematics Council. The award recognizes lifetime

Joseph Kahne

Priya Shimpi

John Bischoff

Hung Liu

achievement by an individual who has demonstrated “advocacy for leadership, curriculum, assessment, and quality

Greg Tanaka, visiting professor of

mathematics education, as well as a

education, facilitated two workshops at

Symphony Orchestra’s concert of

broad knowledge and deep beliefs about

the National Conference on Race and

“Tchaikovsky, Elgar, and Shakespeare,”

the myriad issues related to mathematics

Ethnicity in late May in New York City:

which was broadcast to nearly one


“How to End Racism in America” (pre-

million listeners.

program commentary for the Chicago

The Jeannik Méquet Littlefield

sented with Mills doctoral student Nolan

Concert Hall was recognized with a

Jones) and “The Economic Crisis and Its

of education, has been selected to

Historic Preservation Award from the

Impact on Higher Education.”

receive an American Association of

Priya Shimpi, assistant professor

San Francisco chapter of the American

Audio Combine, a solo CD by

Institute of Architects for outstanding

Associate Professor of Music John

restoration work that has preserved part

Bischoff, was released in February on

of the San Francisco Bay Area’s cultural

New World Records. His new solo piece,

American Studies Carlota Caulfield


University Women Fellowship for the 2012–13 academic year. Professor of Spanish and Spanish

“Field Transfer,” was featured in the

was a guest poet at the Taller de

Professor of Education Joseph Kahne,

2011 edition of The Experimental Music

Creación Poética de Bonsuccés in

with researchers from Mills College and

Yearbook, www.experimentalmusicyear-

Barcelona in March. Her translation

the University of Chicago, released a

of Antonio Beneyto’s “Carta desde

new study entitled “Participatory Politics:

Mitch Allen, visiting professor

el Gótico. Para Patti Smith” (“Letter

New Media and Youth Political Action”

of anthropology, was added to the

from the Gothic. To Patti Smith”) was

in June, which found that young people

Professional Advisory Board of Digital

published in the Spanish magazine El

are engaged in online participatory

Antiquity, a Mellon Foundation–funded

perro blanco and she has been reap-

political acts across racial, ethnic, and

initiative to create a permanent reposi-

pointed to the advisory board of the

socioeconomic lines: 43 percent of white,

tory for archaeological research data.

review Caribe.

41 percent of black, 38 percent of Latino,

He presented a paper on archaeologists’

and 36 percent of Asian American youth

experiments with creative nonfiction

presented a paper, “The Reinvention

have engaged in at least one such act

writing at the International Congress on

of a Tourist Town: Politics, Medicine,

during the prior 12 months. President

Qualitative Inquiry at the University of

Society, and Tourism in Vichy,” at the

DeCoudreaux wrote a blog entry for the

Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, in May.

University of California, Berkeley,

Huffington Post discussing the results and implications of this research. Marc Joseph, associate professor of

In Napa, California, di Rosa’s Gatehouse

Professor of History Bert Gordon

in April. His article on Vichy was

Gallery featured a display of new

published in the April 2012 issue of

works by Professor of Studio Art Hung

Journal of Tourism History.

philosophy, presented a paper at the fall

Liu through June 10. Her work was

2011 Northwest Philosophy Conference

also included in the Gold show at the

several photographs by Professor of

on the relation between Wittgenstein’s

Belvedere Museum, Vienna, through June.

Studio Art Catherine Wagner for its

early treatment of meaning in the

The Yale Art Museum has acquired

Nalini Ghuman, associate profes-

permanent collection. Within the past

Tractatus and Wilfrid Sellars’ conceptual

sor of music, gave the keynote lecture

several months, Wagner has delivered

role semantics. He also published an

at the annual event for the Society

lectures at Harvard University, Boston

article on Donald Davidson’s philosophy

for Art & Cultural Heritage of India at

University, and the Museum of Fine

of language in the Internet Encyclopedia

San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum in

Arts, Houston.

of Philosophy.

November. In January, she also gave the

fa l l 2 0 1 2


Pay it forward

The Class of 2012 sets a philanthropic benchmark By Caitlin Graveson • Photos by Steve Babuljak

Senior Class Vice President KC Callender and President Jack Elliott present the class gift, right, which would continue to grow in the days following Commencement.


M i l l s Q u a r t e r ly

Members of the Class of 2012 not only celebrated their individual accomplishments when they received their baccalaureate degrees at Commencement on May 12, they also a marked a great collective achievement with the legacy they left behind: the Class of 2012 Lavender Scholarship. Established with the senior class gift of more than $8,000, the scholarship is being awarded this fall to a Mills student with financial need. But there’s more to the class’ legacy than

vice president of the Class of 2012.

the scholarship itself. Forty-two percent

Modesta Tamayo, who served as presi-

of the class donated to the senior gift—an

dent of the Associated Students of Mills

impressive participation rate that is now

College during her senior year, under-

the benchmark for future graduating

stood the importance of getting everyone

classes to beat.

involved. She found that many students

The class mobilized such high participa-

were reluctant to donate because they

tion through a semester of creative effort.

could only give a small amount. “We tried

The Senior Class Council began with a

to combat that by telling people that their

fundraising goal of $5,000 for the class

contribution could be just a quarter or a

gift, but its main focus was to get as many

dime,” she says. “It is whatever you can do.”

Isabel Cortes, above, can’t contain her excitement. Bottom row, left to right: Jillian Harris gives the day’s ceremonies “two thumbs up;” Michelle Mitchell helps Barbara Blackwell adjust her stole; Commencement speaker Luma Mufleh, a civil rights advocate for refugee and immigrant families; Martinet Phan, Michelle Ho, and Dawn Yanogacio share a moment of pride.

students as possible to participate actively

Following a conversation with a student

multiple classmates money from her own

in the campaign. By Commencement, the

who explained that she couldn’t donate

pocket so that they could participate. In

seniors had exceeded their dollar goal,

to the senior gift, Tamayo came up with

the end, most students who accepted

recruited nearly half their class as donors,

a creative way to address a need, bolster

money from Tamayo turned around and

and procured additional support from

participation, and foster community. “I

offered money to other classmates so that

faculty, staff, parents, and alumnae.

asked, ‘If I gave you one dollar right now,

they could participate, too.

“The point of emphasizing participa-

what would you do with it?’ and she said,

“It makes a difference when you are

tion was to bring our class together and to

‘Well, I guess I would donate it,’” Tamayo

that up front,” Tamayo explains. “For

make our entire class feel like they were

recalls, and they did just that. Over the

many students, the campaign became a

making a difference,” says KC Callender,

course of the campaign, Tamayo gave

way to ‘pay it forward.’”

fa l l 2 0 1 2


President DeCoudreaux presents a well-earned diploma; beaming graduates line up to receive their degrees.

The Senior Class Council initially set a

wanted to feel supported,” says class his-

coffee and instead put that money toward

participation goal of 30 percent, well above

torian Meaghan Leferink.

the campaign.

Mills’ alumnae participation rate, which has averaged 25 percent in recent years.

Senior Class President Jack Elliott feels

Leferink, a music major, wrote an origi-

the gift showed DeCoudreaux’s com-

nal song to promote the cause. With lyrics

“I was really nervous that they wouldn’t

mitment to students’ goals. “She was

that emphasize donating as a way to leave

get up to that level because it represented

grateful that we were working so hard,”

a legacy, the chorus appeals to the need

such a big leap forward,” says Elizabeth

says Elliott. “I really think that President

to give back: “We’re working for a scholar-

Coyle, associate director of alumnae out-

DeCoudreaux is a huge champion of

ship / Donate / In many convenient ways

reach, who served as staff support for the

Mills and its students.”

/ Donate / And show that a Mills educa-

campaign. “But the students were just so

In return, surpassing their participa-

tion pays.” She posted a video of the song

eager to make it work. They really blew it

tion goal shows students’ dedication to

on Facebook, where it scored hundreds

out of the water.”

the College, Elliott says. “We sent a mes-

of views. She also performed her song at

sage that Mills is worth something to us

fundraising events and at a thank you


and that it should be worth something to

reception for senior class donors hosted

offered to make a personal contribution

other people as well,” Elliott explains. “It

by President DeCoudreaux.

to the campaign based on the participa-

tells everyone else that they should pay

tion rate: $2,012 if the class met their 30

attention to Mills.”

President Alecia DeCoudreaux provided




“People thought it was hilarious. By the end, they were singing the chorus with

percent goal. “It was important to me to

From the beginning, the campaign

indicate to students that I supported their

was inclusive of all voices. The council

efforts and wanted to see them succeed,”

surveyed the class, asking for feedback

With all the success that the senior class

DeCoudreaux says.

on how to use the funds, then hosted an

had this year, they expect the tradition

“The challenge really got the students’

open forum where students could vote

will live on. “A standard has been set and

attention,” says Coyle. “It showed how

and share opinions about where the gift

the other classes are very much aware of

much their campaign was recognized and

should go.

it because the senior class did so much

me,” Leferink says. “That was a really awesome feeling.”

valued by the College.” The President’s

The class also reached out to students

bragging,” Tamayo says, adding that other

donation was also a tangible demonstra-

in new ways: Callender put together

classes have already responded to the chal-

tion of her dedication to students, many

Mills’ first ever YouTube solicitation, a

lenge by indicating that they intend to

of whom felt a sense of disillusionment

video of President DeCoudreaux offer-

surpass this year’s participation rate. “The

following staff layoffs in December. “We

ing her challenge gift. Another student,

Class of 2012 welcomes that,” Tamayo

all knew and experienced the fallout

Susan Summerfield, sent an email appeal

explains, “because every time the participa-

of the financial crisis, and we as a class

to every senior, asking them to forgo a

tion rate goes up, we are all winning.” ◆


M i l l s Q u a r t e r ly










Bent twigs ’12 A Bent Twig is a Mills student or alumna whose family tree includes another Mills alumna. 10

1 Divinia Anderson ’11, MPP ’12, with her mother, Drucilla Anderson ’11 2 Zoe Marcus and her mother, Tiffany Renee ’97 3 Helen Kennedy and her sister, Jane Kennedy ’09 4 Charlotte Martin with her mother, Lesley Manheim Martin ’78, EdD ’07 5 Christina Kwong and her sister, Stephanie Kwong ’10 6 Veronica Perry and her mother, Maria Baraona Perry ’80


7 Ellen Newton and her mother, Mary Loeser, MA ’93 8 Ashley Roaseau with her aunt, Annie Neves, both members of the Class of 2012


9 Dawn Yanogacio and her sisters Stephanie Yanogacio ’05, MBA ’06, and Kimberly Yanogacio ’06, MBA ’07 10 Caitlin Osborne with her adopted Bent Twig, Lucy Barron-Gitter ’82 11 Ashley Mason with a photo of her grandmother, Nancy Griffitts Mason ’47 12 Dana Doughty ’11, MPP ’12, with her mother, Carol Evans Doughty ’63, and daughter, Madeleine, Mills Children’s School ’12


13 Lynn Burnett, MEd ’12, with his sister, Vala Burnett ’05 14 Mary Moon and her mother, Barbara Seid Moon ’74


photos by dana dav is

fa l l 2 0 1 2


Teach a girl, change the world By Jessica Langlois, MFA ’10

year after retiring from teaching high

similarly motivated a decade ago, when she created

school and several years after losing her husband

the Spring Buds program, a 13-year plan to fund

to cancer, Margo Manin McAuliffe ’58 traveled

the education of 1,000 girls from isolated villages

to Naivasha, Kenya, a rural town on open, fertile

in western China. And closer to home, Lacy Asbill

land about 50 miles northwest of Nairobi. It was

’02 and Elana Metz ’03 established Girls Moving

2005, and she had volunteered to teach math to

Forward, an organization that combines mentoring

girls at a co-ed Catholic boarding school there.

and tutoring to encourage the academic and emo-

Ever since she was a young girl herself,

tional growth of K-12 girls from at-risk communi-

McAuliffe had known that she wanted to do

ties in Oakland and Watsonville.

something to leave the world better than she

Each of these four alumnae has been spurred

had found it, she says, her lively green

to action by a shared commitment to using their

eyes shining behind oval, wire-rimmed

skills and resources to advancing women through

glasses. Providing education for girls in Kenya was a sure way to improve the circumstances of those

the power of education.

young women dramatically. In Africa, educated girls

A conducive climate for learning

face a reduced risk of HIV infection, are less vulner-

After arriving in Naivasha, McAuliffe learned that

able to exploitation and human trafficking, are less

the high school where she had planned to teach

likely to marry at a young age, and raise children

was phasing out girl students, with the intention

who are more likely to go to school themselves.

of building a separate girls’ school. This change was a reaction to the co-ed school’s high rate of

Numerous studies show a direct correlation between women’s education levels and their quality of life, including their health status, economic standing, and political power.

teen pregnancy—which carries a heavy stigma in Kenya. According to one regional nonprofit organization, 13,000 Kenyan girls leave school each year due to pregnancy, and nearly half of all young women have had a first child by age 19. Many girls who leave school pregnant risk ending

In any country, in fact, gender parity in educa-


M i l l s Q u a r t e r ly

up in prostitution.

tion is critical; numerous studies show a direct

Then there are those who can’t afford to go

correlation between women’s education levels

to school at all. Though Kenya introduced free

and their quality of life, including their health sta-

primary education for all in 2003, continuing on

tus, economic standing, and political power. The

through high school is very expensive for both

United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative reports

boys and girls. “There’s a hope that if you have

that 39 million girls globally are not enrolled in

an education, you can get a job,” McAuliffe says.

school, and that two-thirds of the world’s illiterate

“No guarantees—just like here.” Girls who can-

adults are women.

not afford high school are left with few options.

Like a number of other Mills graduates, McAuliffe

Mostly, McAuliffe explains, they become “house

is working to educate underserved girls in one of

help,” or end up in arranged marriages to men

the world’s most economically and socially disad-

two or three times their age, doing hard labor on

vantaged communities. Rosalyn Chen Koo ’51 was

the farm and producing children.

McAuliffe also learned that the Naivasha com-

shows, skits, and other

munity had donated a plot of land for building the

performances to let loose

separate girls’ school, which would be directed by

and express themselves.

the local Kikuyu priest, Father Daniel Kiriti. She

The school also brings in

realized, too, that by teaching math herself, she

speakers to hold work-

would be taking a job away from a well-trained

shops and lead discus-

local teacher, and came to conclude that her great-

sions on topics including

est result could be achieved by raising money to

relationships, careers, and sex, which encourage

build the new school. So McAuliffe returned home

the students to make responsible decisions and

to Menlo Park, California, and started sharing her

bolster their feelings of self-worth.

experience with friends, who shared it with other

Both in her fundraising and in her summers

friends. Her goal was to raise as much as $20,000

tutoring at the school, McAuliffe frequently consid-

for the St. Francis Xavier School for Girls. She never

ers her position of relative privilege and recognizes

thought she’d raise $1.3 million in just seven years.

the limitations of her status as a foreigner. “I realize

McAuliffe’s foundation, Kenya Help, has little

that it’s not my country or my culture, and it’s not

overhead and no paid positions, so all of the funds

my school,” says McAuliffe, who leaves the plan-

raised have gone to build the school and to pay

ning to Father Kiriti. McAuliffe particularly strug-

tuition for the girls. In addition to classrooms, two

gles with some disciplinary policies, but maintains

science labs, a library, a computer lab, a multipur-

an open conversation with school leaders about

pose room, and dorms, the school has livestock

the ineffectiveness of physical punishment and the

and a garden so the students can cultivate their

anger it breeds—and hopes her continued presen-

own food.

tation of alternatives is having an effect.

Anne Chantel, a student who appears in a short film on the Kenya Help website, speaks passion-

All of a sudden you are special

ately about her education: “Why I love this school

Rosalyn “Roz” Koo is a petite woman with a quick

is that it has a conducive climate for enabling us

sense of humor; she is never at a loss for words,

to participate in our studies,” she says. “The teach-

or at a loss for something sweet to offer visitors.

ers help us a lot.” Another student, Celia Bouquet,

Koo came to Mills from an elite all-girls school in

adds, “This school is improving our culture physi-

Shanghai in the late 1940s, but her mother had

cally, mentally, and emotionally; it helps me as a

always encouraged her to question the inequities

student improve and become a better person in

women faced in China and globally. With this back-

the future.”

ground, Koo knew she wanted to serve underprivi-

At St. Francis Xavier, education extends beyond

leged women, but determined that she had to work

just the classroom. The girls often put on fashion

and train herself before she could help anyone else.

Margo McAuliffe (inset) and the students at the dedication of St. Francis Xavier School for Girls.

fa l l 2 0 1 2


 Rosalyn Koo (above, center) and her Spring Buds in Shaanxi Province, China.  Lacy Asbill and Elana Metz (opposite page, standing at left) with a group of Girls Moving Forward participants.

In 1949, at the onset of the Chinese civil war, Koo’s

when Koo started planning for the Spring Buds

family moved to Taiwan. “I searched my soul and

project, girls were seen as just another mouth for

decided I would stay here in the US,” she says.

their families to feed and often stopped going to

After several decades working in education

“So you married,” Koo says, “not for love, but

tion with government agencies in China, Koo was

to produce children. And if you only have a girl,

ready, at age 72, to start a major project. But she

heaven help you…that’s the end of your life.”

had one rule: she would run things her own way.

Suicide rates were high among teenage mothers.

In her four decades of organizing, Koo came to

Women who remained single or married poor

understand that the success of a project relies on

became domestic servants— “indentured slaves,”

three “circles” of factors: a strong need for change,

Koo calls them. Many of the girls in Spring Buds

a dedicated interest in the project, and the dem-

are orphans, “abandoned by their villages,” Koo

onstrated capability of the organizer. “When the

explains, whose parents have died from illness

three circles meet in the middle,” Koo says, “That’s

or accidents or have left their homes to become

when you can get things done.”

migrant workers.

She sought out Wang Hong, vice chair of the All-

Koo instructed Wang Hong to choose 1,000 of

China Women’s Federation in Shaanxi Province,

the neediest girls entering fourth grade. These

to help her bring a

girls were placed in 22 primary schools across the



region, and each group was assigned a homeroom

tion to the “poorest

teacher to nurture them through at least ninth

of the poor” girls in

grade, when they could choose to work, attend

the region. Shaanxi,

vocational school, or continue on an academic

home to the famous

track. Meanwhile, Koo organized 400 foreign

Terracotta Army and

donors—professional, mostly Chinese-American


women who were passionate about education—to

As the students advance in each stage of schooling, they develop a sense of control over their lives, learning to think independently and make their own decisions.


M i l l s Q u a r t e r ly

school after the third grade.

and philanthropy, both in the US and in conjunc-



dynastic province, is

fund up to 13 years of education for these girls.

a mountainous region with dry soil and barely

Koo’s goals for the Springs Buds project are

accessible transportation. The options for poor

clear: to build up a middle class and to create new

girls there are similar to those of the girls in

women leaders. But the program also has another,

Naivasha. The United Nations Girls Education

less tangible result: as the students advance in

Initiative reports, “An estimated two thirds of

each stage of schooling, they develop a sense of

China’s school-age children who are not enrolled

control over their lives, learning to think inde-

in school are girls. When girls are enrolled, they

pendently and make their own decisions, and

are usually the first to drop out of school when

connecting with mentors and peers outside of

economic pressures affect their families.” In 2000,

their home counties.

Koo, whom the girls call Grandma Koo, has care-

conviction Asbill says she took from her education

fully monitored the progress of all her Spring Buds

at Mills. They want to take the experience they

from her home in San Mateo, California, and has

had at Mills—of feeling supported and encouraged

visited the young students almost every year. She

to take risks in small classrooms of women—and

funneled those who chose to go into vocational

bring it to younger girls who may not otherwise

school after middle school into three professions—

have a chance to benefit from such a setting. The

nursing, nursery school teaching, and computers—

cornerstone of their program is providing positive

that have high possibilities for employment, and

women role models to ensure the success of girls

that she sees as the foundation for the emerging

in need.

middle class. The 163 girls who have passed the

After graduating from Mills as women’s studies

highly competitive college entrance exams are

majors, Asbill worked in a bank and Metz worked

studying a diverse array of fields, including educa-

in a nonprofit health clinic. They both quickly

tion, art, music, environmental science, medicine,

realized they were unfulfilled by their jobs and

and engineering. These women will graduate from

decided to combine their work experience and

university with student loans, but if they return to

feminist education to create an endeavor that

their home county and work for two years to ben-

would be more meaningful to them: an organiza-

efit the community, they can apply to Koo to have

tion run by and for young people.

their loans reduced.

“We see the education system as being pretty

Though Koo says the Spring Buds project’s focus is

broken,” says Metz, who wears her bobbed, curly

economic support, it’s clear that it is more than just

hair clipped back, and speaks with the convic-

that both for her and for the girls. For these young

tion and eloquence of a seasoned organizer. “The

women, the investment in their education is a trans-

inequity we see in Oakland, let alone nationwide,

formative affirmation. “Just think: the girl feels like

is overwhelming.” Although the United States has

nobody,” Koo says of her Spring Buds. She pauses at

a long history of providing free and compulsory

length, the words seeming to catch in her throat. Her

education to youth, not all students have the

voice wavers as she continues and she blinks back

access, support, or confidence to stay enrolled or

the moisture in her eyes; the reach of her empathy

engage in the material. Girls Moving Forward seeks

and emotional investment in these young lives is pal-

to help the most at-risk youth by offering a blend

pable. “Overnight, you have an American sponsor,”

of academic and social skills development through

she says. “All of a sudden you are special.”

partnerships with public schools—especially “con-

Education by and for young people

tinuation” schools that provide a flexible schedule and specialized curricula for students who were

Like Rosalyn Koo, Lacy Asbill and Elana Metz share

unsuccessful in standard schools. They also offer

the desire to run an organization their own way, a

their services through after-school programs.

fa l l 2 0 1 2


“We’re working with girls at continuation high

woman.” Touched at the effect she’d had, Castillo

schools, with girls at a pregnant and parenting

says, “That’s my only drive everyday—to hope that

teen school, with girls at a school for kids who’ve

I can make a difference.”

been expelled from Oakland schools,” Asbill says. “There is a persistent culture of low expectations

The ripple effect

for these young women,” she adds. “They know it

Asbill and Metz hope their work will not only influ-

and they feel it.”

ence the girls they tutor, but also the young people

Asbill and Metz base their methodology on a

who are doing the tutoring. “We see our organiza-

1991 study, “Shortchanging Girls, Shortchanging

tion as the beginning of a ripple,” Metz explains.

America,” that found girls’ academic performance

“Part of the reason we do this is to train the next

was directly affected by their confidence level.

generation of educators.”

The outcomes achieved by Girls Moving Forward

In addition, Asbill and Metz have spent the last

are impressive: the continuation high school stu-

two years developing a reading curriculum that

dents who participate in the program pass the high

suggests more contemporary books like Diary of a

school exit exam at double the rate of average con-

Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie to get students

tinuation students. The organization’s tutors work

talking about race, class, and low expectations

with the girls on body image, self-acceptance, com-

rather than more traditional texts like The Great

munication, and friendship. “Participants build

Gatsby. “The curriculum will roll out in pilot proj-

social and emotional connections that allow them

ects with a handful of partner schools in Oakland

to be open to academic learning,” Asbill explains

Unified this fall,” says Metz, “and will be available

with an easy smile that conveys her warm, charis-

for general distribution to educators throughout

matic demeanor.

the country shortly afterwards.” The two Mills

In 2011, Asbill and Metz were named Yoshiyama

alumnae see this curriculum program as a way to

Young Entrepreneurs by the Hitachi Foundation,

expand their positive effect beyond the scope of

and were awarded a $40,000 grant in addition to

their Oakland- and Watsonville–based programs.

professional guidance in growing their business.

Similarly, Rosalyn Koo has structured the Spring

Girls Moving Forward is now headquartered in an

Buds project to create a ripple. The 13-year cycle of schooling Koo initiated will be complete in two years

The cornerstone of their program is providing positive women role models to ensure the success of girls in need.

but, at age 84, Koo doesn’t plan to initiate another project of this scale. In order to continue and multiply the positive effects of these girls’ education, she has formed the Spring Bud Student Alliance, a professional association to be administered by the more than 100 girls who will graduate from college. The

airy, lofted Emeryville office that feels like it could

mission of the alliance is threefold: “Mutual support.

be a young girl’s bedroom, decorated with a play-

Help the needy. Improve the community.”

ful rug and presided over by an enormous teddy

In Kenya, St. Francis Xavier graduated its first class

bear. Funded primarily through federal grants, the

of 18 girls in 2010, and they are already driven to

program has served over 3,000 girls in the past

empower other women in their community. About

five years, at no cost to the girls’ families, and has

a third of the girls said they wanted to be lawyers.

expanded to offer a separate program for boys.

One told McAuliffe that she wants to provide peo-

Asbill and Metz attribute much of their intellec-

ple fair representation in the courts; another said

tual capital to the tutors they hire—the majority of

she wants to defend women threatened by domes-

whom are people of color or first-generation col-

tic violence as well as by a legal system that tends

lege students who model academic achievement

to favor husbands in family disputes.

for the girls.


M i l l s Q u a r t e r ly

As all of these alumnae are creating powerful

One of those tutors, Lindsay Castillo, had her

change for girls in need, they too are feeling a great

own struggles with confidence as a teenager. On

personal satisfaction rippling back to them. At a

the Girls Moving Forward website, she describes

2011 TEDx talk in San Jose, California, McAuliffe

her memory of “how scary it can be to take a

encouraged her audience, “If you feel something

math problem on and sit in a classroom of peo-

tugging at your heart, listen up, don’t wait until

ple who seem like they understand what’s going

you’re 68 like I did. And when you step on that

on.” She goes on to tell of being introduced to the

path for the first time,” she added, “just be pre-

mother of a student as “a mentor who is helping

pared, it may be a longer path than you ever imag-

her become an independent, intelligent young

ined, and infinitely more rewarding.” ◆

Ramona Smith and Yimei Wong

Risk reward and

The first 12 Mills MBA students struck out into uncharted territory— and have gone on to find success in a variety of endeavors By Allison Marin ’12 • Photos by Dana Davis

The MBA Program at Mills College has come a long way since its inception a decade ago, and so has its first cohort of a dozen students. The fledgling program was essentially an educational start-up, with its limited course offerings and no dedicated career services staff. Classes were held in what had been the Children’s School. But the MBA curriculum offered some obvious advantages from the beginning: it provided a way for students to earn an MBA in one year, it built on Mills’ strong undergraduate economics courses, and it was led by faculty who were committed to helping women realize their potential as business leaders and to an ethic of business as a means for social change. Members of that first graduating class—all of whom had completed their undergraduate degrees at Mills—describe the Mills MBA as a “once in a lifetime opportunity.” It was risky, but “it was like opening a refrigerator,” says Yimei Wong ’00, MBA ’02. “We were hungry, so we made the best of it.” These days, MBA enrollment hovers at nearly 100 students and more than 50 courses are offered in topics ranging from core economic theory and marketing basics to strategic philanthropy and environmental sustainability in business. When we caught up with several fa l l 2 0 1 2


A brief history of the

MBA Program at Mills

members of the class, we learned that they too have blossomed: their risk has been well rewarded with success in business, contributions to their communities, and personal achievements.

Wong believes “nothing is impossible,” and her bold confidence isn’t surprising after reading her resume: she has been a global operations consultant for

2001 May

Chevron, head of operations and project development for

Mills MBA Program launched; Professor of Economics Nancy Thornborrow named director.

Trina Solar, member and strategic advisor for Joint US-China

2001 August

and president of Chinamagination, LLC. She says her success

First 12 students admitted.

in the years after completing her MBA has come from her ever-

2002 May

evolving goals. “We need to let our goals morph over time as

First MBA class graduates.

2004 August Lorry I. Lokey, P ’85, provides funding to support construction of a building for the Business School. The MBA Program becomes a school; Thornborrow named dean; dedicated MBA career services established.

Collaboration on Clean Energy, and, most recently, founder

the world changes,” she says, “and we need to master these pivotal moments to create change.” Her goal now is remarkable in its scope: her efforts in promoting solar energy and encouraging business partnerships with China through Chinamagination could potentially affect billions of people. “We can create an energy ‘ecosystem,’” Wong

2007 Fall

says, “that is sustainable for the future if we use corporate col-

Mills Graduate School of Business and Financial Women’s Association of San Francisco present the Linda Pitts Custard ’60 Women in Business Conference.

laboration.” Wong’s endeavors have also included travel to 43 countries; lecturing for Singularity University in Mountain View,

2008 April

former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom create the ChinaSF

Ground broken on a new building for the school, now named the Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business.

program, which supports business exchange between China and

2008 September

which educates leaders in sustainable enterprise; and helping

the San Francisco Bay Area. Ramona Lisa Smith ’01, MBA ’02, started at Mills as an under-

Center for Socially Responsible Business (CSRB) established; first annual conference held in April 2009.

graduate resumer in dance, but switched her major to business

2009 April

cal” to support herself and her two-year-old daughter. Pursuing

economics after deciding she “needed something more practi-

Mills MBA Program selected as a partner in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women initiative, a global program to increase the number of underserved women studying business and management.

an MBA had not originally been part of her agenda, she says, but

2009 September

the world economy and my personal finances,” she says. “It pre-

Lokey Graduate School of Business building opens.

pared me for more than just business leadership; it prepared me

2010 Fall

“when the opportunity came, I knew it was one I couldn’t pass up.” She joined the new program as it found its footing, and her conviction paid off. “The MBA Program helped me understand

to handle my life as a business.” Smith now works as asset services coordinator, financial

MBA enrollment surpasses 100 students; Deborah Merrill-Sands takes office as dean of the Business School.

coach, and lead of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program

2011 May

at SparkPoint/Community Action Marin, helping economically

Summer term courses offered for first time.

2011 Fall Joint MBA/MA degree in educational leadership launched; part-time track introduced.

2012 June Mills’ Net Impact chapter receives gold status. Net Impact is a national organization of MBA students and professionals addressing social, economic, and environmental problems.

2012 April Over 200 attendees participate in CSRB’s 4th annual conference.

2012 August First tenure-track faculty member hired specifically to teach business courses in the MBA Program.

disadvantaged people understand and improve their financial standing. When entering a business venture, Smith brings her whole self to the table: “I want all aspects of my being to be present: my culture, myself as a woman, and myself as a woman of color.” Her daughter, now 17, is preparing to apply to college— with Mills on her list. Nikki Kwan ’02, MBA ’02, has always been ambitious and eager. Her advice to women in the workforce: “Be bold. Ask for a raise, ask for more things to do—even if you aren’t ready. Be confident; you’ll figure it out.” Kwan has followed her own advice successfully and is now first vice president in the retail banking division of East West Bank, where she is in charge of a variety of strategy and planning initiatives as well as mergers and acquisitions. Kwan has worked in banking since 1994, when she was an undergraduate with a scholarship and an internship from Home


M i l l s Q u a r t e r ly

Savings of America. Ultimately, her interest in how process affects change led her to pursue her MBA. “I wanted to help people become successful through incremental and sustainable change,” she says—a goal she continues to pursue through offering individuals loans to support businesses and homeownership. Immediately after completing her business degree, Kerrin Parker ’99, MBA ’02, joined M5 Networks, a small telecommunications startup. After helping develop M5 into a pioneer in cloud-based phone systems, Parker is now the senior director of development for this public company in Chicago as well as a mother to two young children. “It was my path to attend an MBA program,”


Reunion ’12

Celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Mills MBA Program on Saturday, September 29 See for details or call 510.430.2123


who had always aimed to manage a large company. She chose Mills over other schools because she was

Tsang now works as senior compensation manager for Applied

familiar with its support-

Biosystems in Foster City, just south of San Francisco. “The way

ive educational environ-

I explain it,” she laughs, “is that I figure out how much to pay



people, but I am not payroll.” Her job is specialized and requires

faculty—and because she

her to manage highly confidential information about employees.

wanted to be a part of the

“It takes a level head,” she says, “to not be shaped by the infor-

new MBA Program’s mis-

mation you know about your coworkers.”


sion to support women in

Since 2004, Claire Norton-Cruz ’01, MBA ’02, has been the


business manager at Midwifery and Women’s Health Care at

In February, M5 was

Geneva Woods in Anchorage, Alaska, which specializes in out-

acquired by ShoreTel for

of-hospital births, prenatal care, and cervical and breast can-

$160 million, and Parker

cer screening for low-income women. During her time in the



MBA Program, Norton-Cruz tackled her fear of public speaking,


learned to work in groups, and earned the Mills record—which



the the

before moving on to start her own enterprise. “Over

Kerrin Parker

she still holds—for fastest 100-meter individual medley swim with a time of 1:09.96. “I realized later how valuable my MBA

the years,” she notes, “I’ve

education was,” she says, adding that the degree made her “a

learned the importance of

standout job applicant” compared to her peers. She keeps her

building trust and keep-

competitive spirit alive—and fosters the physical well-being of

ing commitments. Being

women—through her work as treasurer for the board of the

trustworthy to my clients,

Golden Nugget Triathlon for women. She also serves on the

my coworkers, and my

boards of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Alaska

contractors is critical to

chapter, and the American Association of Birth Centers.

success.” “The

Tina Lee ’01, MBA ’02, is the first person to hold the title of MBA


director of outreach and innovation for the office of California

helped clarify the fact that

Controller John Chiang. After leaving Mills, Lee worked with the

I loved my career path,”

ZeroDivide Foundation, as a recruiting manager at Robert Half



Technology, and as a business analyst for a global management

’02, says of her work in

consulting and technology services firm. She then earned her

human resources. Tsang

second professional degree: a master’s in learning design and

first pursued her MBA

technology from Stanford University. “I wanted to explore how



because she felt stuck in her human resources job

Tina Lee

technology is changing politics and society,” she says. In her new position, she aims to use technology to encourage busi-

at the time and hoped the

ness enterprise throughout northern California—using Twitter

degree would open other doors. The company she worked for

(@CA_SCO_Tina), for example, to ask questions like, “How can

allowed her to continue working part time and even paid part

California government help the green energy sector thrive?”

of her tuition. Surprisingly, the informational interview exercises

The liberal arts education she acquired as a Mills undergradu-

included in the business curriculum enabled Tsang to realize

ate provided the foundation for a clear business ethic during her

that she was not as interested in other jobs and helped confirm

time in the MBA Program, Lee explains. As a result, her personal

her commitment to her profession.

business philosophy is simple: “Think.” ◆ fa l l 2 0 1 2


Class Notes do not appear in the online edition of Mills Quarterly. Alumnae are invited to share their news with classmates in the Mills College alumnae community. To submit notes for publication in the next available Quarterly, send your update to classnotes@mills. edu.

Class Notes do not appear in the online edition of the Mills Quarterly. Alumnae are invited to share their news with classmates in the Mills College Alumnae Community, To submit notes for publication in the next available Quarterly, send your update to

Ruth left a legacy for Mills students. You can too.

Ruth Gillard ’36 (1913–2002) Ruth began her professional career teaching sociology at Mills and was later recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency. She was the first woman to inspect the operations of CIA stations on three different continents. In her will, Ruth bequeathed her home to Mills. Her gift provided funding for scholarship support in 2003.

Lacy Asbill ’03 Lacy benefited from a scholarship from Mills in 2003. She

You may leave a gift of real estate to Mills through a bequest in your will or trust. Another option is to give the College your home now, live in it for the rest of your life, and receive a current income-tax deduction for a portion of its value.

went on to co-found a mentoring organization, Moving Forward Education, with another Mills alumna in 2005. Their organization has since offered free support to over 4,000 Bay Area youth.

To learn more about creating a legacy of your own at Mills contact us toll-free at 1.877.PG.MILLS (1.877.746.4557) or 22 

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If you’ve already included Mills in your estate plans, please let us know.

In Memoriam

Gifts in Memory of

Notices of death received before June 15, 2012

Received March 1–May 31, 2012

To submit listings, please contact or 510.430.2123

Annette Movich Abrams ’59 by Ellen Locke Crumb ’59, P ’94

Alumnae Mildred Downey Grenfell ’32, May 8, in St. Helena, California. She was involved with the Modesto Mills Club and was a generous supporter of the College. She is survived by her daughter, Gaye Grenfell Cook ’58. Betty Aicher Weir ’32, August 23, 2008, in Albuquerque. She is survived by her son and two grandsons. Bernice Nicoll Petty ’38, December 23, 2011, in Petaluma, California. She enjoyed gardening and traveling. Kathryn “Kay” Kaser Watkins ’38, May 11, in Phoenix. A world traveler and lover of languages, she served as a translator during World War II. She is survived by four children. Helene Smedley Willson ’38, March 25, in San Diego. A volunteer at Sharp Cabrillo Hospital and a member of PEO Sisterhood, she loved nature, theater, sewing, and gardening. She is survived by five children and six grandchildren. Margaret Thomson Bronson ’40, December 1, 2011, in Brewster, New York. She was a stage, screen, and theater actress. She was also a volunteer and fundraiser for the Putnam Hospital Center. She is survived by her husband, John, and her niece, Elinor “Lin” Herod-Vernon ’67. Jane Goldstein Schear Richards ’40, June 5, 2007, in Alabama. She is survived by three daughters, including Sarah Schear Cole ’70. Daphne Richmond Rockwell ’41, April 16, in Eugene, Oregon. She lived in Mexico, Peru, Brazil, and England and, through her art, shared the beauty and wonder that she found in nature. She is survived by three children. Julia Keys Allan ’42, August 31, 2004, in Springfield, Illinois. She was a Red Cross volunteer, a member of the Springfield Junior League, and a city golf champion. She served as secretary to the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives and the state governor. She is survived by three children. Edith Merrell Swayne ’42, November 15, 2011, in Lafayette, California. She is survived by a son and her sister, Marjorie Merrell Bartlett ’49. Imogene “Imy” Fluno Smith Whipple ’43, April 13, in Alameda, California. She volunteered at Big Trees State Park, participated in AAUW, and was an active member of her church. She loved to play piano, sing, and compose, including a song called Mills Memories, dedicated to Aurelia Reinhardt. She is survived by two children and two grandchildren. Patricia “Pat” Chilton Martyr ’46, November 15, 2010, in Medford, Oregon. She is survived by her husband, James, their three sons, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Beatrice “Betsy” Woodworth Richmond ’46, in November 2011, in Camp Verde, Arizona. She spent her life teaching Hopi and Navajo children and was an accomplished poet. She is survived by her three children. Lois Ager Way ’47, June 1, 2008, in Massachusetts. Barbara “Risty” Ristrom Wood ’47, May 20, in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. A co-owner of The Admiral Risty Restaurant, she served on the board of trustees for Marymount College and Bravo!, a local theater 30 

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Margery “Diz” Disman Anson ’42 by Robert and Leslie Appleton, Richard and Darla Evans Bastoni ’60, Julie Bernard, Sheryl Gillett Caudana ’72, Nancy Cherney, Ida Erlanger Scott ’42, Katherine Zelinsky Westheimer ’42, Patricia Willmann, Ann Sulzberger Wolff ’42 Laura Balas, MA ’92, by Helen Hovdesven Patricia “Pat” Tiggard Boese ’50 by Leah Hardcastle Mac Neil, MA ’51, P ’75 Willa Wolcott Condon, MA ’32, by her daughter, Ann Condon Barbour ’69 Evelyn “Peg” Deane ’41 by Mary Hart Clark ’42 Kay Anderson Douglas ’67 by Alta Ronchetto Mowbray ’67 Sybil “Syb” Johnson Dray ’41, P ’72, by her husband, Lester Dray Margaret Hincks Dyer ’43, P ’73, by Thera Cornelius Joy Waltke Fisher ’55 by Diane Smith Janusch ’55 Virginia Fleming by Anne Lehmer ’89 Cameron Fuller-Holloway, son of Melody Fuller-Lewis ’82, by Alison Dong Chambers ’83

support group. She is survived by her husband, Ralph; four children; and six grandchildren. Elizabeth “Dibby” Owen ’48, April 7, in Seattle. She worked as a special assistant of international affairs for the US State Department. She is survived by her dear friend, Marilyn Wilson Newland ’48. Joanne Beckley Newkirk ’49, February 5, in Bend, Oregon. She was a concert pianist and is remembered for her musical brilliance and her dedication to her children. She is survived by her daughter. Patricia “Pat” Tiggard Boese ’50, April 25, in Oakland, California. An active volunteer with the Girl Scouts, she worked as an adult education teacher. Vylma Zotti Weeks ’51, March 24, in Atlanta. She was a talented needle worker and quilter, a generous Mills supporter, and an active traveler who visited Greece, Turkey, and Japan. She is survived by her husband, Milton, and two daughters. Shelia Hair Ross ’56, November 14, 2009, in Laguna Beach, California. Ruth Nemoede Jepsen ’58, April 3, in San Jose, California. A lover of books and crossword puzzles, she enjoyed traveling to experience other cultures. She is survived by two sons and four grandchildren. Helen Meisnest Morse ’52, April 29, in Seattle. She worked at Harborview Medical Center and King Broadcasting and was station manager of King FM. She is survived by her daughter. Marcia Lou Herring Marsh ’56, March 24, in Green Valley, Arizona. A teacher in Arizona, she earned a graduate degree in Spanish American culture. Marva Swearengin Harris ’56, December 11, 2011, in Vancouver, Washington. A high school teacher and counselor, she was an avid fan of Notre Dame and 49ers football. She is survived by a daughter, two grandsons, and a great-granddaughter.

Ruth Gage by Shannon Wolfe ’96

Carol Lennox ’61 by Barbara Li Santi and Lydia Mann ’83

William and Helen Gaw by their daughter-in-law, Jane Farrell Gaw ’52

Lydia Nelson McCollum ’43, P ’70, by June Holden Schneider ’43

Helen Geldhof by her granddaughter, Katja Geldhof ’03

Julia Mies by Beverly Pachner

Mildred Downey Grenfell ’32 by Karla Knapp

Christina Miller ’71 by her sister, Kathleen Miller Janes ’69

Blythe Miller Grogan ’38 by the Mills College Club of New York

Isabel Schemel Mulcahy ’44 by her husband, Thomas Mulcahy

Mildred Rodgers Hauck, MA ’39, by the Mills College Club of New York

Elizabeth Pope by Elaine Bowe Johnson ’62, Marion Osmun ’76

F. Warren Hellman by Terry Hinkle Fairman ’68, Judy Greenwood Jones ’60, P ’92

Daphne Richmond Rockwell ’41 by Mildred Eberle Rothrock ’41

Marcia Gambrell Hovick ’45 by Patricia Boadway Cox ’43, MA ’44

Susan “Sue” Rubenstein Schapiro ’52 by June Holden Schneider ’43

Nancy Parsons Jones, mother of Margot Jones Mabie ’66, by the Mills College Club of New York

Luceen Schmelke by her granddaughter, Erin Beardsley, MBA ’12

Rebecca “Beccy” Davidson Karlson ’69 by her husband, Douglas Karlson

Israel Tribble by Deborah Wood ’75

Doris Ellsworth Rogers ’47 by her husband, Joseph Rogers

Ida Shimanouchi ’38 by Sarah Wong Soong ’71

Valerie Tognazzini Kieser ’59 by Hope Mason Pracht ’59, Barbara Christy Wagner ’59

Vylma Zotti Weeks ’51 by Martha McMaster Quimby ’51, Jeanne Thomas ’51

C. Rodgers Kines, husband of Barbara Newman Kines ’55, by Diane Smith Janusch ’55

Ruth Siren Wheeler ’43 by Patricia Boadway Cox ’43, MA ’44

Marjorie Woolwine Knightly ’56 by Linda Denny Knox ’56

Imogene “Imy” Fluno Whipple ’43 by Jack and Lynn Broadbent, Barbara Coler, Jennifer and Dan Cooper Aquilino Zarazua by his daughter, G. Albertina Zarazua Padilla ’78

p=parent; For information about making a tribute gift, contact 510.430.2097 or

Leanne Haney Rhodes ’62, May 12, in Nipomo, California. She earned a PhD in special education and worked as an infant educational consultant. She enjoyed opera, antiquing, and hosting holiday dinners. She is survived by her husband, Richard; her daughters Shannon and Alisha Rhodes ’93; and four grandchildren. Martha Miller Evans ’63, May 13, in Oakland, California. She raised four children then earned a BFA in metalsmithing from Portland School of Art. The family moved to Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Minnesota before settling in Maine, where she lived for 30 years. She is survived by her husband, Jef; four children; and five grandchildren. Margaret Cockrell, MFA ’86, March 12, in Walnut Creek, California. A Catholic poet, she participated in chapel programs at Mills along with her husband George, and served as an unofficial mentor to many students, faculty, and staff.

Spouses and family Henry Blauer, husband of Geri Green Blauer ’52, June 6, in Portland, Oregon. Philip Burchill, husband of Jacklyn Davidson Burchill ’44, June 6, in Los Angeles.

Joe Shuttleworth, husband of Rebecca Marsh Shuttleworth ’64, April 17, in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania. Mary Disney Vansant, daughter of Beverley Berry Disney ’44, August 20, 2009, in Atlanta. Jerry Werlin, husband of Barbara Gilinsky Werlin ’50 and father of Andrea Werlin ’76, May 10, in Los Angeles.

Faculty Elbert G. Smith, professor of chemistry, died on March 18 in Oakland. He was 98. Smith earned his doctorate from Iowa State College and taught at Hamline University, the University of Denver, and the University of Hawaii before joining the Mills faculty in 1958. In his 20-year tenure at the College, he often served as head of the department. Smith helped develop and disseminate Wiswesser Line Notation, a chemical notation system which was readily searched by early computers and was capable of identifying specific molecular fragments of larger structures. His two books detailing this notation system were translated into many languages. He also combined the principles of line notation and his love of music to develop “Tunefinder,” a computer program that identifies musical pieces based on a series of notes. 

Philip Lathrap, father of Robbie Lathrap Davis ’71, February 28, in Lafayette, California. Earl Loomis Jr., husband of Muriel Peabody Loomis ’52, May 10, 2011, in Greenport, New York. Lloyd Portis, husband of Leal Davidson Portis ’55 and father of Amy Portis Lovin ’90, March 28, in Nevada City, California. Irene Sachanko, mother of Barbara Sachanko Dalmau ’75, April 4, in Henderson, Nevada. fa l l 2 0 1 2


What the body craves by Tarin Griggs ’12 foreword

do not worry if this makes no sense if this makes you feel senseless in your brain and your mind because this is not about that this is not meant to be crystal or clear it is not glass though it has been shattered and it is fragmented this is not about that this is about the body yours and mine and the ones over there distant blurry miragelike visions those peering over your left shoulder there are many things being said often simultaneously it is overwhelming that is okay how many messages confront you daily hourly this second by the color screens and your boss and your ex and your mother’s father and the glossy publications consuming privates for public regurgitation when do you have time to process this is a process not of elimination because this won’t stop this is not for your comprehension but it is for your eyes your ears your mouth your limbs your loins these are the things my body craves what do you crave? … racing you are lost racing you are lost you are lost racing you are lost Drifting upward Ignore this beating Focus in— Pulse point behind ear lobe this heartbeat Touching knuckle beat Rapidfire this heart Through the chest wall beat A hollow delay heart Fingertips diffusing beats Carpal tunnel vision slowing this beat Rhythmic blindness beats this heart Remains: resting places t-shirt cotton Rougher surfaces skin raked linen

Raised in Richmond, California, Tarin Griggs ’12 earned a BA in English with a minor in dance choreography. Her interests include contemporary fiction, poetry, sociolinguistics, and literary criticism, and her work was published in the 2011 edition of The Walrus. The excerpts on this page are from the poem that earned her this year’s Mary Merritt Henry prize for undergraduate poetry. 32 

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Alumnae tr avel 2013

Waterways of Russia from Moscow to St. Petersburg July 24–August 3, 2013 Join President Alecia A. DeCoudreaux on this cruise aboard a 56-cabin deluxe river ship, featuring visits to several UNESCO World Heritage sites and extensive guided tours of Red Square, St. Basil’s Cathedral, and the State Hermitage Museum. Additional offerings for 2013: • Australia and New Zealand, January 17–30 • Treasures of Ecuador, February 5–16 • Sorrento on the Divine Amalfi Coast, April 17–25 • From Cannes to Venice: Jewels of Antiquity, May 28–June 12 • Cruising the Baltic Sea: Changing the Tides of History, June 13–24 • China: The Yangtze River, September 10–23 • Villages & Vineyards of the Mosel, Rhine & Main Rivers cruise, October 14–22 • Treasures of East Africa featuring Tanzania & Kenya, October 19–November 12 See the AAMC travel website at for dates, prices, and full itineraries as they become available. For reservations or additional information, call the Alumnae Association of Mills College at 510.430.2110 or email

St. Petersburg

Bring Mills Home! Show off your enthusiasm for your alma mater. The Alumnae Association of Mills College offers a variety of items for purchase, with revenues benefiting alumnae and student activities such as professor talks, book discussions, social gatherings, the Pearl M Dinner, and Winter Celebration for December Graduates.

Eucalyptus pins  silver $30, gold $35 Print, sketch of Mills Hall by Roi Partridge   $20 unframed Print, photo of Mills Hall circa 1873 by Eadweard Muybridge   $20 unframed Canvas totes  $15 Ornaments of campus landmarks (Campanil, Mills Hall, Music Bldg, Art Bldg, eucalyptus trees)  $20 each To order: Please indicate which items you wish to purchase and the address where they will be sent. Mail payment in the form of a check to AAMC, 5000 MacArthur Blvd, MB#86, Oakland, CA 94613 For more information contact the AAMC at or 510.430.2110.

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Mills Quarterly Mills College 5000 MacArthur Blvd. Oakland, CA 94613-1301 510.430.3312 Address service requested Periodicals postage paid at Oakland, CA, and at additional mailing office(s)

The Fine Arts Division celebrates Pauline Oliveros and John Cage October 5: Sixteen Dances (Cage), Rock Piece (Oliveros), Event with Canfield (Cunningham) October 6: Cistern Simulation (Oliveros), Variations IV (Cage), Event with Canfield (Cunningham) Both performances begin at 8:00 pm in the Jeannik MÊquet Littlefield Concert Hall and continue in Haas Pavilion To honor the 80th birthday of Pauline Oliveros and the 100th birthday of John Cage, the Mills College Departments of Music and Dance and the Mills College Art Museum present two evenings of music by the two renowned composers. Both evenings will culminate with a performance of Event with Canfield, featuring choreography by Merce Cunningham accompanied by Oliveros’s soundscore, In Memoriam: Nikola Tesla, Cosmic Engineer, and original lighting design by Robert Morris. All works will be performed by Mills faculty, students, and guest artists. Join us to pay tribute to the indelible influence of these groundbreaking artists and their role in making Mills College a leading source of innovation in the fine arts. Tickets are $15 for general admission, $10 for seniors and non-Mills students, free to alumnae with AAMC card. They may be purchased at the door or online at For additional information visit

photo by vinciane vergue then

Two Evenings of Artistic Innovation

Mills Quarterly Fall 2012  
Mills Quarterly Fall 2012  

Mills College alumnae magazine