Page 1

Spurring student scholarship

Behind the rankings

Reunion 2012

Mills Quarterly Winter 2013

“We wanted this work to be a great success for many reasons, one, the greatest of these, it was planned by a woman, and for a woman’s college.”

Julia MOrgan at Mills

How your annual fund gift

supports Mills students today

Gifts of all sizes to the Mills College Annual Fund make a difference for students every day. The cost of a Mills education per day per student is $223, which includes the expenses shown in the chart below. With your annual fund gift, you can support all or part of a student’s education for a day, a month, or a year.



Mills is known for its outstanding and supportive faculty and staff—including professors, coaches, admission and student life staff, librarians, groundskeepers, custodians, and many others.

Educational resources like the F. W. Olin Library, the Mills College Art Museum, research opportunities for students, lab equipment, and classroom audio-visual tools are all sustained by the annual fund.



Generous need- and meritbased undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships help the College recruit and support talented and dedicated students, regardless of their financial means.

The annual fund helps ensure the Mills campus remains the beautiful haven alumnae remember. It covers such costs as building maintenance, sustainability programs, and utilities.

$18 OUT-OF-CLASSROOM EXPENSES These include the cost of the College’s athletics and recreation programs, the pool and tennis courts, the Mills Chapel, and career services.

Make your gift today to support Mills students. 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 Winter 2013 8

The rating game by Linda Schmidt

The U.S. News & World Report rankings carry a lot of weight—but what factors determine those ratings? What role do they play for prospective students? And how accurately do they reflect the true quality of a school?

10 Beyond beakers and books by Kate Rix Undergraduates at Mills gain valuable experience by engaging in high-level scholarship, from assisting in original laboratory research to presenting their own work at academic conferences.

14 Reunion 2012: Moment by moment by Erika Young ’94 From the first gathering of Golden Girls on Thursday to a last farewell following Sunday’s family barbeque, Reunion 2012 was filled with many moments of friendship and fun. Plus: Class photos.

32 Being Julia by Karen Fiene Through skill and determination, architect Julia Morgan rose to the top of a male- dominated profession. The buildings she constructed on the Mills campus remain a strong reminder of what a smart, driven woman can achieve.

Departments 3

Ask Alecia


Mills Matters


Class Notes


In Memoriam

On the cover: This quote comes from a letter dated February 19, 1904, from Mary Smith, a Mills College trustee at the time. With her husband, Frances Smith, who had made a fortune in borax mining, Mary funded construction of El Campanil to showcase Mills as an important educational institution that could compete with the nearby University of California and Stanford University. El Campanil was dedicated less than two months later, bringing great fanfare to the Mills campus and early fame to the tower’s young architect, Julia Morgan (pictured).

Planning for a strong future What will Mills be known for in 2027?

currently exploring ideas gathered from

What headlines would you want to read

the surveys and meetings. These ideas

about Mills? These are the questions

range from new academic programs to stu-

Volume CI Number 2 (USPS 349-900)

President Alecia DeCoudreaux posed to

dent services to community partnerships.

Winter 2013

the Mills community in September when

A Strategic Planning Steering Committee

she invited faculty, staff, students, and

is chaired by President DeCoudreaux and

President Alecia A. DeCoudreaux

alumnae to participate in a nine-month-

co-chaired by David Donahue, associate

long strategic planning process that will

provost, and Renee Jadushlever, chief of

Vice President for Institutional Advancement Cynthia Brandt Stover

result in a vision of Mills in 2027—the

staff and vice president for operations. The

College’s 175th anniversary. The pro-

working groups are coordinated by the

cess will also identify a slate of strategic

co-chairs in collaboration with members of

Senior Director of Communications Dawn Cunningham ’85

imperatives for the next three to five

the steering committee.

Managing Editor Linda Schmidt

years to achieve that vision.

Early next year, the working groups

“We must base our decisions going

will present recommendations to the

forward on a shared vision for Mills that

steering committee. Selected recom-

Design and Art Direction Nancy Siller Wilson

honors our history, our mission, and our

mendations will be incorporated into the

core values,” says DeCoudreaux. More

strategic plan, which DeCoudreaux will

Contributing Writers

than 500 Mills faculty, staff, students, and

submit to the Board of Trustees in May.

Karen Fiene Kate Rix Erika Young ’94

alumnae have already provided input via

She says, “The community—including

an online survey. In addition, strategic

our alumnae—will have an opportunity

planning consultant Susan Pierce, presi-

for input at every stage of the process

Editorial Assistance Maggie Slover ’14

dent emerita of the University of Puget

between now and then.” Look for updates

Sound, led a series of discussions with

on the planning process and invitations

trustees, alumnae, and other stakeholders.

to provide feedback in future issues of

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. 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.

Several working groups, made up of members of the campus community, are

the Quarterly and the (e)ucalyptus email newsletter.

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. 2 

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

Ask Alecia Q: If you were an incoming student   at Mills, what would be your choice   of courses? —Mary Bianco ’14 A: Thanks very much for this question, as it caused me to reflect on the wonderful experiences I’ve had visiting classes

Each month, President Alecia A. 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.

• Musical Form: Listening and Analysis

enjoy the gorgeous trees surrounding the

• Musics of the World: Africa, the

garden and the lovely flowers planted by

Mediterranean, and the Americas • The Immigrant Experience • The Third World: Colonialism and Globalization

about how exciting it would be to take classes just for the fun of learning and exploring. Since I am a planner by nature, I suspect that even as an incoming student I would plot out the courses I’d take over a couple of years. I would also build flexibility into my plans so that I’d have room to follow my passion. This is, in fact, how I approached my own college experience: I entered college planning to major in political science, as I thought doing so would be good preparation for law school. I ended up double majoring in political science and English because I took so many English courses for the pure enjoyment of reading, analyzing, and discussing literature. If I were a student today, I’d start with the following list of courses: • Classic and Romantic Music • Comparative Studies on Women in Religion

by which I leave and come home each day is an exquisite brugmansia tree, also called Gabriel’s trumpet. Throughout the year, it produces the most beautiful yel-

• Women of Color in Social Movements

and to take another look at our course offerings. It also caused me to think

the fountain. Just outside the side door

low flowers, which are most fragrant in the evening. When I arrive home in the

Q: As a resident on campus, you   have access to the beauty of Mills year-round. What spots on campus   do you most enjoy spending time in? —Michelle Balovich ’03 A: This may be the most difficult question I have been asked thus far as I enjoy so many places on campus, starting with the President’s House. I love to entertain, and the President’s House and garden are ideal for entertaining both large and small groups, including my family. During the winter months, we especially enjoy lighting a fire in the library and sitting close by while engaging in lively conversations and the occasional jigsaw puzzle. I have even been able to steal away to the library once or twice to read a culinary mystery or to catch up on email. When it’s warm, we sit on the back patio and

evenings, it’s very nice to be greeted by the scent of Gabriel’s trumpet. When I walk in the mornings, I take a left out of the driveway and go past the art museum, the door to which is always a treasure to look at. I sometimes take a detour behind the museum to walk through the pergola and across to the narrow lane next to the art studios, flanked by two rows of trees that remind me of the approach to a villa in Italy or France. I continue on behind Reinhardt Alumnae House to take a peek at the lawn there. Then I walk up the hill to  Founders Commons and head over toward Corporation Yard where I enjoy seeing the large cacti and the vegetable garden. Next I hike up the hill past Mary Morse Hall and stop under the huge trees at the top to enjoy the beautiful view over toward San Francisco Bay. Finally, I meander around to the Greek Theatre behind the Music Building and imagine it

• Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Women

as it was when Commencement was held

• Cuisine History

ties in the theatre once again. My route

• Ethical Reasoning in Politics and Public Policy

takes me back to the President’s House, where I’m greeted by a beautiful row of

• French and Francophone Women Writers

raised, I took time this morning to make

• History of the American City • Language, Meaning, and Understanding

there. I fantasize about holding activi-

roses. Thinking about the question you frequent stops to truly enjoy the sights. I even stopped to smell the roses. WINTER 2013


Mills Matters New classes from an ancient culture “Learning the language spoken by one

“It’s important for the College to keep

fifth of the world’s population not only

up with the times and for Mills students

enhances career options, it also broad-

to have access to Chinese language and

ens the understandings of one of the

literature,” says Patsy Peng ’51, MA ’53,

grew up in Taiwan, comes to Mills from

oldest and most fascinating civilizations

who established and has provided initial

the University of Miami, where she had

in the world,” says Chiu-Hung Chen,

funding for the professorship. Peng’s

been a visiting assistant professor since

who was hired as the Patsy P. H. Peng

motivations are simultaneously aca-

2007. In her time at Miami, Chen incor-

Visiting Professor in Chinese Language

demic, cultural, and personal: “My own

porated many computer-based language

and Literature in September.

roots are in China, and I have always

learning techniques in developing the

wanted to see the Chinese language taught and remembered here at Mills.” Chen, a native speaker of Chinese who

curriculum for the first- and second-year Patsy Peng and Chiu-Hung Chen

Mandarin Chinese language program, taught summer study abroad courses, and provided pedagogical support to K–12 Chinese language teachers in the Miami-Dade public school system. Chen received her education at the University of Ottawa, earning her undergraduate degree in second language teaching and linguistics and continuing on to complete an MA and PhD in linguistics. Her research is in both linguistics and language pedagogy. She has published widely—most recently in Taiwan Journal of Chinese as a Second Language and in a special issue of Lingua—and is an active member of several professional organizations. “Learning languages and cultures allows you to see the world from another

Grant furthers Lesson Study research Mills College has received a grant from the Toyota USA Foundation to support research into the practice of Lesson Study, a form of professional learning in which teachers collaborate in small teams to plan, observe, and discuss actual classroom lessons. This process of teacher improvement originated in Japan and is widely practiced in the country. Since 1999, Mills has been a leader in the introduction of Lesson Study to the United States, in its adaptation for schools, and in research on its impact. The foundation awarded Mills a two-year grant of $250,000 to support School of Education researcher Catherine Lewis’s Lesson Study project. Lewis is a top authority on Lesson Study in the United States. The grant provides funding for a team of educators from Mills and Oakland to travel to Japan to become fully immersed in the ways in which math and science are taught to elementary school children in that country. The team will bring those methodologies back to Mills and to local educators. In turn, they can take the information to their schools to boost learning outcomes of elementary students.


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

perspective and to reflect on your own culture and worldview,” she says. “It gives you an opportunity to appreciate our differences in values, beliefs, and behaviors.” In addition to their regular studies, the 26 students enrolled in Chen’s first two Mandarin Chinese classes at Mills have organized a Moon Festival celebration, calligraphy class, and movie nights. “My students take their studies seriously and are willing to take the challenges that I set for them,” says Chen. “I appreciate Mills’ efforts to educate women students to take a socially responsible role and contribute to the world as global citizens.”

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


American Studies Carlota Caulfield

Schultz, dean

and Helena Buffery of Birmingham

of the School

University have edited a new book,

of Education,

Barcelona: Visual Culture, Space and


Power (University of Wales Press). The

her article

richly illustrated volume draws on art


history, cultural geography, performance

of Learning

studies, and institutional critique to

to Teach:

provide insights into the changing urban

Taking on

space of Barcelona from the beginning of


the 20th century to the present day. Mary Ann Milford, professor of art

Identities” in the Journal of Teacher Education. Her work on silence appeared

history, participated in the National

in the BackTalk column of Phi Delta

Endowment for the Humanities Summer

Kappan magazine in October.

Institute on Asian American Art last

Professor of French and Francophone

summer at New York University, as well

Studies Brinda Mehta lectured at the

as the international conference New

Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences

Geographies of Feminist Art: China,

Sociales in Paris on December 3. In

Asia, and the World, at the University of

recent months, she has also been an

Washington, in November. She has two

invited speaker at Tunis El Manar

articles forthcoming on the Indian-born

University in Tunis, Tunisia; Sibsagar

artist Zarina Hashmi and will participate

College, Assam, India; and the University

in symposia supporting a retrospective of

of Calcutta. Mehta has forthcoming

the artist’s work next summer.

articles in the International Journal of

Contemporary Iraqi Studies and in a special issue of Journal of Arabic Literature. Two papers have been published by chemistry faculty: Provost Sandra Greer’s article, “Micelles of Polybutadiene-b-Poly (Ethylene Oxide) in Deuterated Methanol and Deuterated Cyclohexane,” appears in the Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, vol. 386; Professor David Keeports published “Quantum Mechanical Earth: Where Orbitals Become Orbits” in the November issue of the European Journal of Physics. In June, Associate Professor of Biology Susan Spiller made a poster presentation at a National Science Foundation conference in Baltimore for awardees in the foundation’s Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems. With Mills Artist in Residence Holley Farmer and others, Associate Professor of Dance Molissa Fenley has choreographed a new collab-

Research participants needed! Mills alumnae, family members, and friends are invited to participate in two research studies being conducted by the Mills Social Psychology Lab under direction of Dean Morier, associate professor of psychology. Participation is completely voluntary and confidential. Three participants in each study have the chance to win a $50 gift certificate.

orative work, Cross Bridge, combining dance, video, text, and light. Cross Bridge premiered at La MaMa Experimental Theater in New York on December 7. While on sabbatical last spring, Professor of Music Fred Frith per-

Aging and Life Experience survey

formed concerts throughout Europe

This study investigates how people feel about aging and how it is related to life

of the Foco Orchestra, a large ensem-

experiences. You will be asked to complete questionnaires about your background, interests, personality, and your beliefs and feelings about aging.

and spent a week in Madrid as a guest ble of improvising musicians. He also led a workshop at the Conservatoire

Religion and Health survey

de Rennes, France; presented col-

This research explores the relation between religious beliefs and lifestyle.

McGill University, Montreal; and gave

You will complete an anonymous survey to gather demographic information,

a lecture, led a workshop, and per-

your answers to questions concerning religious beliefs and lifestyle, and your

formed a concert at Cornell University

responses about your mood. The survey requires 30 to 40 minutes of your time.

with Annie Lewandowski, MFA ’10,

If you have any questions or concerns about this study, please email Dean Morier, lead researcher for the project, at

loquia at Princeton University and at

a lecturer in the Cornell Department of Music. WINTER 2013


Calendar Mills Music Now


Contemporary Writers Series

February 1  Zeena Parkins: Improvisation

February 1  Ebb & Flow

February 12  Joyce Carol Oates

February 8  The Center for Contemporary Music and Tim Perkis

The second annual Ebb & Flow concert features the rich and diverse artistry of Mills dance alumnae/i, including several new solo and group works, a site-specific piece, a music and movement installation, and a large group piece honoring Pina Bausch.

February 26  Victor LaValle

April 10  Anne Carson (7:00 pm, Lokey Graduate School of Business, Gathering Hall)

8:00 pm, Lisser Hall, with a pre-show at 7:30 pm. $10 general, free to Mills students and alumnae. For information, contact

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

February 16  David Behrman: David Tudor Composer-in-Residence March 7–10  Signal Flow Festival March 16  Salomé Chamber Orchestra April 5–6  X Sound Festival April 14  Farallon Recorder Quartet (4:00 pm) All events start at 8:00 pm (unless otherwise noted) 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

March 5  Nina LaCour, MFA ’06 March 19  Erica Hunt

Center for Socially Responsible Business February 11  Spring Lecture: Social Entrepreneurship from a Lender’s View Representatives from One PacificCoast Bank and the Grameen Foundation discuss microlending and other financial strategies that benefit the social good.

Songlines Series February 4  Luciano Chessa: Discussion and performance featuring the reconstructed “Intonarumori” of the legendary futurist Luigi Russolo

6:00 pm, Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business, Gathering Hall

February 25  Bill Hsu: Electronics and real-time animation in an acoustic improvisational context, with saxophonist James Fei and percussionist Gino Robair

March 15  Annual Spring Conference: Assessing Impact of Domestic Social Ventures Featuring keynote speaker Leila Janah, CEO and founder of Samasource, a nonprofit organization that brings computer-based work to people living in poverty around the world. Details on the day’s speakers and programs will be posted on the CSRB website as they become available.

March 18  Gregory Lenczycki: Live mix/laptop performance, including works for video All events start at 7:30 pm in the Ensemble Room. Admission is free. For information see or contact John Bischoff at 510.430.2332 or

For information on these events, see or contact 510.430.3248 or

Mills College Art Museum Hung Liu: Offerings On view January 23–March 17, 2013 The exhibition features two large-scale installations accompanied by related paintings and prints. Hung Liu is professor of studio art at Mills; this exhibition is planned in conjunction with the Oakland Museum of California’s retrospective Summoning Ghosts: The Art of Hung Liu.

Hung Liu’s Old Gold Mountain


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

For more 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.

Fiscal year 2012 results show strong donor support Donors gave Mills College a total of $11.9 million in gifts

Sources of gifts to Mills in 2011-12

during fiscal year 2012 (July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2012),

Estates 32% Trustees 16% Alumnae 19% Parents, Friends, 12% Others Foundations & 21% Corporations

an 8 percent increase compared to fiscal year 2011. This total includes $2.1 million contributed to the Mills College Annual Fund, an increase of nearly 20 percent over the preceding year’s results. This was the first time since 2008 that the fund, which provides essential support for the College’s operating budget, surpassed $2 million. Estates—especially the estates of Mills alumnae who left Mills in their wills—were the largest source of gifts to the College in fiscal year 2012. The 41 members of the Mills College Board of Trustees contributed 16 percent of the total

Sources of revenue for mills in 2011-12

funds raised. Gifts and grants made up 9 percent of the College’s operating revenue of $81.9 million in fiscal year 2012. Gifts to the endowment are not counted in that revenue total since they are invested and never spent for operations. But income from the endowment—which reached a market value of $165,767,934 on June 30, 2012—provided 15 percent of Mills’

Tuition & fees 61% Housing, food, 12% & conferences Gifts & grants 9% Endowment 15% Other


operating revenue.

Mills senior discusses women’s leadership at Barnard On September 24, Mills senior Ava

can support women. She believes

Anderson ’13 participated in a panel at

transitional justice and the elimina-

Barnard College in New York City, pre-

tion of gender-based violence requires

sented by the Women in Public Service

creating access for women within legal

Project and the Woodrow Wilson Center.


Anderson was one of eight students

On stage at Barnard, Anderson,

Spar explained that the mission of the

representing the country’s preeminent

above, discussed her work with non-

Women in Public Service project—a part-

women’s colleges in a discussion on

profits, local government, and business

nership between the Department of State

post-conflict and transitional justice in

leaders in Oakland, and asked fellow

and eight women’s colleges, including

conjunction with the United Nations’

panelist and former congresswoman Jane

Mills—is to “build a generation of women

67th annual General Assembly. The event

Harmon what women could do “to create

leaders who will invest in their countries

opened with remarks by women leaders

environments that foster relationships

and communities, provide leadership in

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra of

between the public and private sec-

their governments, and change the way

Thailand and President Atifete Jahjaga of

tor and also between women.” Harmon

global solutions are forged.” The goal is


applauded Anderson’s experience and

Fifty by Fifty—to have women constitute

went on to emphasize the importance of

50 percent of civic and political leader-

duced the student panelists as having

two-way mentoring, saying, “It’s occurred

ship globally by the year 2050—and the

“already distinguished themselves as the

to me over the years that I have a lot

project also includes international train-

next generation of global women lead-

more to learn from the person asking the

ing conferences to help achieve this goal.

ers.” Anderson, an international public

question and even critiquing the way I’ve

Mills will host a leadership training event

policy major, is focusing her studies on

done something than that person has to

for women from Latin America in 2015.

the ways public–private partnerships

learn from me.”

Barnard President Debora Spar intro-

—Jessica Langlois, MFA ’10 WINTER 2013


rating game the

College rankings create a lot of buzz, but what do those numbers really represent— and how important are they? By Linda Schmidt


hose of us who work in admissions and enroll-

and outcomes. Knudsen’s office also reports information to college

ment are all a bit conflicted every year when the

guide publishers. “For the most part, I think their assumptions

rankings come out,” says Brian O’Rourke, vice pres-

are healthy,” she adds. “But it’s tricky. For example, the propor-

ident for enrollment management at Mills. “We’re

tion of faculty who are full time is one of the rankings crite-

excited to get a good ranking but, at the same time,

ria,” she says. “The more full-time faculty, the better that score.

frustrated because you have to question, ‘What

They’re saying full time is better, but that’s not necessarily true.”

does this really mean?’”

At Mills, for example, many faculty members in music, dance,

Alumnae, students, and their families often find themselves

and other fine arts teach part time in conjunction with an active

asking that same question. “On some level, the rankings are a

creative career—a quality that some students might consider a

good barometer of where you fall in the higher education land-

great benefit.

scape,” says O’Rourke. “Prospective students and their family

U.S. News acknowledges some of its own bias. Although the

members do look at the rankings; they are a very common part

size and performance of a college’s endowment are not direct

of the college search. But the system is flawed on a lot of differ-

factors in the Best Colleges rankings, the school’s per-student

ent levels.”

spending accounts for 10 percent in that calculation. Large

The U.S. News and World Report rating is perhaps the most

endowments can support greater per-student spending. “Schools

sophisticated and recognized list. To arrive at their rankings, U.S.

with large endowments therefore tend to do better in the rank-

News compares similar schools based on categories established

ings’ financial resources indicator,” says U.S. News. Such method-

by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching—a

ology effectively penalizes institutions that are wiser with their

classification system widely used by higher education research-

spending, doing less with more to maintain a positive student

ers, the US Department of Education, and others. Based on its

experience even in difficult economic times.

range of degree programs, Mills is categorized as a “regional uni-

The remaining 25 percent of the U.S. News ranking is based on

versity” and evaluated against other schools in the same group

assessment by top academics at peer colleges. “Peer assessments

and region. For regional universities such as Mills, 75 percent of the ranking is based on objective measures of quality such as graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, and percentage of alumni who give, which U.S. News considers a proxy for alumni satisfaction with their school. “The U.S. News makes assumptions about what institutional characteristics create the best quality education,” says Alice Knudsen, MA ’05, EdD ’07, director of institutional research at Mills, who is responsible for tracking quantitative and qualitative data about students, faculty, staff, curriculum, 8 

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

Where does Mills stand? • Fifth of 121 regional universities in the West in the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges guide. • Eleventh among regional universities in the West in the U.S. News Great Schools, Great Prices category. • Eighth on the Washington Monthly’s list of the nation’s top 100 master’s universities—which uses a decidedly different measure of quality: the school’s contribution to the public good based on social mobility, research, and service. • One of the Princeton Review’s Best 377 Colleges in the country and one of the 121 best regional colleges in the West for undergraduate students; also selected by the Princeton Review as one of the “greenest colleges,” scoring 97 out of 99 for environmental policies and practices. • One of the country’s 319 best and most interesting colleges and universities in the Fiske Guide to Colleges.

Fall 2012 Class Profile are subjective, but they are also important,” say U.S. News editors. “A diploma from a distinguished college can help a graduate get good jobs and gain admission to top-notch graduate programs.” O’Rourke notes that Mills has an outstanding reputation.

Total enrollment


Undergraduates 949

Graduate students

First-year Transfer Nursing

Entering 305

187 124 28

“Our peers in higher education are ranking us pretty well. And

Continuing 594

although U.S. News doesn’t rank us on this, high school counsel-


ors speak particularly highly of Mills because of the interaction

Full-time 94%

they’ve had with our students and our alumnae. Word of mouth

Living on campus

is crucial.”

Resumers 17% Students of color

All of this analysis begs the question: do the rankings

16 58%


Continuing 291 Auditing 1 Women 82% Men


Students of color


Receiving financial aid 89%


Receiving financial aid 95%

really matter? “So much of the college exploration process, from a student perspective, seems to be focused on ‘where can I get in?’” says O’Rourke. “But a more important question is: where are you going to graduate? The best way to make sure that you gradu-

The ranking process changes from year to year. “There is an

ate is to find the right fit. If you’re starting your list with just the

active and ongoing debate about how best to measure quality

rankings, you’re probably eliminating a lot of great schools.”

in education,” says the U.S. News website. Over time, the ranking

According to the UCLA’s The American Freshman: National

model has put more emphasis on results of the educational pro-

Norms report, an annual survey of entering first-year students at

cess such as graduation and retention rates. Last year U.S. News

270 US four-year colleges and universities, rankings aren’t even

began to collect information on affordability and differential

among the top 10 factors students consider in choosing a college.

graduation rates based on income and race.

The top five factors are the college’s academic reputation, evi-

O’Rourke agrees that these are important factors for prospec-

dence that the college’s graduates get good jobs, an offer of finan-

tive students and their families. “When students come to campus,

cial assistance, a visit to the campus, and the cost of attending.

they ask about the academic experience and the social experi-

The wishes or advice of parents, relatives, teachers, high school

ence. They also ask about what they are going to get out of their

counselors, and private college counselors are also important.

time here in terms of career preparation and learning outcomes.

“It’s important for prospective students to understand what makes Mills College unique,” adds O’Rourke. “We talk a lot about

What is the overall experience going to be as it relates to their life after graduation?”

individualized and personalized growth here—not just about the

“We need to take rankings with a grain of salt,” says Knudsen.

ability to graduate and go get a great job, but about the perspec-

“However, as a small college, anything that gets our name out

tive the student will gain and the value of the foundation of a

there is something that’s going to help us. The fact we’re getting

liberal arts education.”

decent rankings means we’re doing a heck of a job.” ◆



Beyond beakers & books

By Kate Rix

Research projects introduce students to the professional world of academia—and build intellectual and personal confidence


ierra Filucci ’99 learned one of the most valuable lessons

Saxton and Kochly are among the many

of her undergraduate career on a plane, traveling to a confer-

Mills faculty who integrate undergraduates

ence with a handful of other students and Associate Professor of

into “higher level” scholarly pursuits, including

English Kirsten Saxton.

presenting at conferences, assisting with origi-

“Kirsten told us how she would prepare for conferences—she

nal research, and co-authoring journal articles.

would often be rewriting her paper on the way,” Filucci remem-

Students from the humanities to the natural

bers. “That shocked me. My experience was that I developed my

sciences have the opportunity to work side-by-

ideas, turned in my papers, and the teacher gave me a grade.

side with professors and get a taste of academic

What she showed us was that you could keep developing your

life outside the classroom.

ideas. It changed the way I look at writing.”

“This is the purest form of mentoring,” says Cynthia Scheinberg,

Filucci, who now works as a senior editor at Common Sense

chair of the English Department and dean of Graduate Literary

Media, didn’t just listen to other academics discuss their work,

Studies. “Student writing goes to a new level when students

but she sat right next to them as one speaker on a panel of Mills

understand that the purpose of their work can be greater than


just turning a paper in for a class. For undergraduates, these

“I didn’t realize at the time how unusual it was for undergrads to attend conferences,” she says. “Kirsten kept that secret, maybe

opportunities are an extraordinary opening into their fields.”

to make us feel less intimidated. Her encouragement to present

Appreciating the unpredictable

at the conference really made me feel like she valued our work.”

Beth Kochly teaches organic chemistry, a cornerstone course for

In the sciences, too, Mills faculty members set a higher stan-

chemistry, biology, and environmental science majors. She con-

dard of learning. Seniors Susan Citrak and Nelius Gathondu are

nects her teaching and research in a way that offers big ben-

working for Assistant Professor of Chemistry Beth Kochly, run-

efits for her students and also sees mentoring student laboratory

ning experiments and trouble-shooting the lab setup as needed.

assistants as a big part of her job. Typically, she hires two stu-

“When things don’t work, we bounce ideas off of each other

dents to work with her over the summer and on through the

and then confirm our ideas with Dr. Kochly,” Citrak says. “It’s an amazing experience and absolutely confirms that I want to pursue a career in scientific research.” 10 

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

school year. “At first, I’m standing right behind them in lab, but after a while I leave them alone,” she says. “Sometimes I realize that

Nelius Gathondu, Susan Citrak, and Beth Kochly Dana Dav is

they’ve encountered a problem while I was gone—but they’ve

known chemical reactions, so that industrial and commercial

figured it out themselves or worked around it.”

labs can begin to use ionic liquids with an understanding of how

In other words, these undergraduate chemistry majors get to experience the volatile world of research for themselves.

they may behave differently. Kochly recently submitted a paper, coauthored with former

“They get excited when what’s happening is going the way we

students Todd Rabkin-Golden, post-bac pre-med ’11, and Seham

predicted,” Kochly says of her lab assistants, “but they get even

Afaghani ’11 based on research conducted at Mills in 2010, for

more excited when it’s not going as predicted.”

publication in The Journal of Organic Chemistry.

Gathondu notes the balance of support and freedom Kochly

Gathondu and Citrak worked over the summer to replicate

provides in the lab. “From week one, Professor Kochly was there

the results of the 2010 research. Together, they spent days in

for us,” she says. “She lets you make mistakes and come up with

the lab watching over reactions that took hours to complete,

your own ideas, and if there’s something wrong with reaction

learning firsthand that the day-to-day experience of lab work

she’ll listen.”

requires boundless patience. But the unusual nature of the work

Kochly and her students are investigating reactions involving

set it apart from typical, and typically predictable, course labs.

ionic liquids. Essentially salts that are liquid at room tempera-

“One day we were all excited to look at the reaction and it was

ture, ionic liquids are viscous, non-volatile solvents that can be

just a flat line,” says Citrak. “We had been so excited and hyped

substituted for more volatile solvents that are typically used. Her

up. We came back fresh on Monday and had a new insight on

research looks at the effects of these “green” solvents in well-

why it didn’t work. That was an accomplishment in itself. Having WINTER 2013


academic meetings, including the biannual conferences of the Aphra Behn Society. (Named for one of the first English professional female writers, the society advances research on gender issues and women’s role in the arts of early modern culture.) “I was teaching the scandalous novel Fanny Hill and found much of the work my students were producing to be as exciting—or more so—than some of what was presented at national conferences,” Saxton says. “I thought, ‘Their work needs to be part of the discourse.’” “Anybody who wants to present work can try,” says Saxton, who joined the English Department in 1996. Students interested in attending a conference meet as a group to bounce article ideas and titles off of each other. Saxton coaches them on presentation skills such as engaging their listeners with plenty of eye contact and learning to defend their work. “This breaks down that false binary between school and the world. I tell my students, ‘You need to take yourselves seriously,’” she says. “They’re standing up there and people can ask whatever questions they want. They have to be prepared to handle different points of view.” The experience has higher stakes than ordinary class assignments and offers potentially higher rewards. For many, the expe-

Kirsten Saxton

Dana Davis

rience is life changing. Elizabeth Mathews, MFA ’09, took feedback from the audience after presenting a paper on Behn’s short story The History of the Nun in 2009. “The professors who came to our panel were very kind,” Mathews recalls. “But none of them agreed with my pergone through that, when I have a question now, I’m going to see

spective. I remember one of them saying, ‘That was really inter-

if I can answer it on my own.”

esting, and I totally disagree with you.’”

Citrak and Gathondu gained further experience when they

Mathews was not unprepared for the critique and, in fact,

presented findings from their research at the “Points of Pride”

used it to her advantage. She expanded and refined the paper

academic seminars during Reunion in September—just as they

and eventually used it as her graduate school application essay.

would at a professional conference.

Today, she is in her second year of doctoral studies at UC Irvine.

“As one of her students said at Reunion, there is nothing like

“Going to the conference made this scholarly world real for me

the thrill of being the first person to figure out new scientific

in a way that it wasn’t before,” Mathews says. “College students

results,” says Mills Provost Sandra Greer, who is a chemist her-

have the idea that what happens in class has very little bearing

self. “Beth Kochly is a model of how we hope our Mills science

on the real world. Actually being able to share ideas outside of

faculty members can operate, maintaining a program of high-

the classroom and have specialists engage with those ideas was

quality, publishable research and involving our students in that

a first for me.”

research.” Gathondu agrees. “I actually did research and got results—

Passing it on

that’s an opportunity that most undergraduates don’t get,” she

Boosting student research is an approach that Saxton picked up

says. “I did something that’s novel; to me that’s incredible.”

from her mother, Ruth Saxton, a professor on the Mills English

The art of self-defense

faculty since 1974. While teaching the graduate course Theories and Strategies of Teaching Writing, Ruth Saxton began organiz-

Being left alone in the lab in charge of an experiment, with the

ing conferences on the Mills campus where students presented

professor just downstairs, helps build self-reliance and resource-

their own final papers to an audience of writing faculty from

fulness for student researchers. Likewise in the humanities,

nearby colleges.

presenting original research, with the support of a seasoned vet-

“The ‘conference’ concept was wedded to the idea of demysti-

eran, can boost a student scholar’s confidence, both personally

fying what professional life is,” Ruth Saxton says. “By presenting

and intellectually.

for an audience of people who might be in a position to hire

Kirsten Saxton guides her students of 18th-century litera-

them or write a letter of recommendation, they did a much bet-

ture through situations in which their own ideas are tested

ter job than just giving a report in class. There was no way of

and refined in the crucible of scholarly symposia. Over the past

getting out of it,” she adds. “It terrified some of them, but I can’t

decade, Saxton’s students have been participating in several

remember a bad presentation.”


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

A sampling of scholarship Mills professors, accomplished researchers in their own right, extend unique opportunities for their undergraduate students to engage in scholarly pursuits at a level usually reserved for more advanced degree candidates. Some recent representative projects include:

• This year, students working with Kristina Faul, associate professor of geochemistry and environmental geology, are presenting work at the national meeting of the Geological Society of America, as well as at the American Geophysical Union, an international conference.

• Last April, seven Mills students presented papers at the Phi Alpha Theta regional conference in Santa Clara under the guidance of Professor of History Bert Gordon. Gordon has been faculty advisor to the Mills College chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society, since 2004.

• Associate Professor of Psychology Christie Chung, profiled in the summer 2012 Mills Quarterly, published an article in The International Journal of Aging and Human Development with co-author Ziyoung Lin ’12. Her students working in the Mills Cognition Lab have contributed to other published papers. In addition, under Chung’s guidance, Frishta Sharifi ’08 conducted field interviews with subjects in Afghanistan.

• Stephanie Summers ’11 prepared a poster presentation for a neuroscience conference about her work investigating memory and learning in the soil roundworm, Caenorhabditis elegans. She was mentored by Associate Professor of Biology Jared Young, who opted to teach at Mills specifically so he could work closely with his students.

Emma Bufton

• Stephanie Hanor, director of the Mills College Art Museum, is leading students in a project to produce digital images of the museum’s collection. The students are also blogging about their experience with the process; read more about this undertaking in the next issue of the Quarterly.

The idea came from observing her then-teenage daughter’s shifting attitudes about soccer: on the way to practice, she and her teammates claimed not to care much about winning. At games, where there was an audience, they played better. Lilly-Marie Lamar ’06, who is now working towards a PhD in higher education administration, remembers feeling nervous before her presentation for Ruth Saxton’s class, but acknowledges the positive effect of the pressure. “I got connected to the course material on a level unlike anything else,” she recalls. “The conferences felt like piano recitals, where everybody you know is there.” Lamar is now able to pass that tangible experience on to her own students. While teaching English to graduate students in Poland, she arranged a conference where her students presented their own work. “It was all inspired by what Ruth Saxton did,” she says. Similarly, Emma Bufton, MFA ’07, now applies the lessons she gained through her experience attending the Aphra Behn conference with Kirsten Saxton in 2007. “I wouldn’t have gone to that conference if Kirsten hadn’t been there to support me through it,” Bufton says. “The experience made it clear to me that teaching is not just an academic role. It involves attending to the whole person. Real life crosses over into academic life.” Now in her third year of doctoral work in English at UC Berkeley, Bufton says that her experience at Mills comes back to her again and again as she leads undergraduate courses of her own. “I learned from Mills that taking an interest in a student’s personal life, without compromising academic expectations, is part of being a mentor.” Whether they’re practicing their skills at a lab bench or behind a podium, the women participating in these higher-level academic pursuits get a glimpse of professional scholarly life, pre-

allisun novak

pare themselves to take on serious challenges, gain a willingness to take chances, and begin to appreciate the value of their own ideas and skills. Some might even say that this is what liberal arts education is all about.

◆ WINTER 2013


Reunion 2012

Moment by moment

By Erika Young ’94 Photos By Dana Davis, Allisun Novak, Teresa Tam

Couldn’t make it to this year’s Reunion? Not to worry. From Provost Sandra Greer’s thought-provoking opening address at Convocation to President Alecia DeCoudreaux’s demonstrating her (excellent) hula-hooping skills at the Family Barbeque on Sunday, these photos indicate that the alumnae spirit is as strong as ever.

Members of the Class of 1952—whose color is gold because they graduated in the year of the College’s 100th anniversary—strike a pose with the purple Class of 2012.

The afternoon sun over Holmgren Meadow was warm, Alumnae Association of Mills College sales of El Campanil ornaments were warmer, and the exclamations of delight from alumnae meeting each other again after so many years were the warmest of all.

FRIDAY Robe Up for Convocation, Reinhardt Alumnae House

Ceremonial caps and gowns are just like the alumnae who wear them: They never go out of style.

Mills icon Jane Cudlip King ’42 holds court with an audience of youngsters. 14 

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

Convocation “The French philosopher Michel de Montaigne wrote that the first aim of education is to furnish the ‘back room of the mind’—meaning that a liberal education gives us a broad background knowledge that furnishes our minds and supports us in all our endeavors.” — Provost and Dean of the Faculty Sandra Greer in her Convocation address

Points of Pride academic presentations by faculty and students

Pamela Walker, Lorinda Bader Reichert ’67, and Missy Coffin Willis ’67 are particularly enjoying the discussion because they know they don’t have to worry about class tomorrow... ...while Vicki Luibrand ’75 may be remembering class time just fine, thank you.

Dozens of alumnae get a sneak peek at a dance rehearsal.

Mills After Dark

“Now is the time when we dance!” says Colleen Almeida Smith ’92, as she leaps to her feet at Mills After Dark, the Friday evening happy hour and dance party.



SATURDAY Class Luncheon and AAMC Awards Ceremony The lovely ladies of the Class of 1947 gather at their table— and the Class of 1987 is not far away; others enjoy the ceremony from a relaxed vantage point.

“With the help of many, I have become a ‘Mills Man.’ I believe in the power of education for women and men, because it gives us all a higher—and very different—platform to see and engage in the world.

—Romeo Garcia, MA ’87, co-founder and executive director of ARISE High School in Oakland, accepting his Distinguished Achievement Award “Like so many Mills students, I was the first in my family to attend college. I immediately fell in love with the magic in the classrooms, the vibrant faculty– student dynamics, the talent and dedication of our professors, and the brightness and creativity of our students.” —Sharon Page Medrich ’05, recipient of the Recent Graduate Award for her advocacy in the LGBTIQ community

AAMC Award recipients Romeo Garcia, MA ’87, and Sharon Page Medrich ’05. Read more about the award winners at alumnae.mills. edu/awards2012

“In volunteering at Mills, I have received so much more than I have given. I have had the opportunity to rub shoulders with members of Mills’ world-class faculty. I have met amazing students whose abilities and accomplishments give hope to the future. And somewhere along the line, I even got a hug from Gloria Steinem! You could definitely say that volunteering at Mills has expanded my horizons!” —Beverly Curwen ’71, Outstanding Volunteer Award winner (speech read by AAMC Vice President Michelle Balovich ’03)

President’s Garden Reception

President DeCoudreaux, left, greets a cheerful crowd of alumnae at the President’s Garden Reception. Sisters of the Seventies Micheline Beam ’72 and Deborah Harrison ’72, above. 16 

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

MBA alumnae and students display their goods and services at the MBA Program’s 10th Anniversary Reception.

Several alumnae and friends go where few have gone before: behind the scenes at the Mills College Art Museum.

Class Dinners

The Gathering Hall at the Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business provides a festive locale for the Classes of 1987, 1992, 1997, 2002, 2007, and 2012.

The Classes of 1942, 1947, 1952, and 1957 enjoyed good company and cheer at dinner in the Faculty–Staff Dining Room and Lounge.

The Class of 1967 toasts their triumph in the “2s and 7s Reunion Challenge”—a contest to provide employment and other information using the online community. Joining them in the Orchard-Meadow Dining Room were the Classes of 1972, 1977, and 1982.

Their 50th Reunion provides more than ample cause to celebrate for the Class of 1962.

SUNDAY At a morning workshop, Michelle Balovich ’03, Dalia Cuenca ’11, Vicki Luibrand ’75, and Pam Sufi ’91 shared their experience as alumnae volunteers.

Shannon Wolfe ’96 hoops it up at the Sunday Family Barbeque. Elaine Daniels and Elizabeth Carter ’92 with their son, Milo, look on. WINTER 2013



Class of ’62 50th Reunion

1942 Jane Cudlip King, Betty Spaeth Denton, Ann Wolff, Katherine Zelinsky Westheimer, Alice Gonnerman Mueller, Audrey Anderson Roe

1947 Kathryn Kelly Smith, Anne Thomas Jones, Patsy Pettibone McKeown, Sterling Loftin Dorman, Elizabeth “Jo” Reynolds Hazen

1952 Top row: Carita Martin Larsen, Jane Bell Croul, Geri Green Blauer, Shirley Hambrook Jones, Sonia Schneider De Wilde, Edith Forsyth Nelson Front row: Mary Greene Jobson, Jacquelyn Jagger Parsons, Nancy Whyte Work, Jane Farrell Gaw, Caryl Hollender Susman, Marie “Claire” Muirhead Escher

To purchase prints, visit 18 

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

Top row: Bette Chinn Dare, Ann Brockhoff Lister, Penny Fleming Young, Fran Haines Moore, Diane Diamond Foreman, Carolin Mumper Benezit, Barbara Rydlander Fourth row: Peachy Smalling, Patricia “Patsy” Lewis Mote, Lynda Layton Guthrie, Joan Alper, Sara Coffin Fernandez, Lucy Reeder Eldridge, Meg Patten Eaton, Reed Isbell-Hobbs Third row: Joni Settlemier, Joan Dreyer Allen, Marianne Lash Salinger, Donna Squires Swinney, Mabrey Byrnes Scott, Teresa Urrutia, Laura McKeon Scholtz, Maureen Berman Grinnell Second row: Ann McNabb, Linda Loomis Fagerstrom, Karen Van Hoesen Olson, Diann Giunta Scaravilli, Nancy Robbins Mangus, Kay Richards Kerriden, Pamela Bennett Butterfield, Christine Ibach Holly Front row: Rosalie Cuneo Amer, Deanna Honbo Badgett, Catherine “Cathy” Henley-Erickson, Susan Wheeler McLaren, Katherine Conley Pyle, Sandra Calkins Hastie, Diane Hastings Sappenfield, Carolyn Natella Ferguson, Gay Talmey

Reunion 2012 ClaSS PHOTOS

1957 Top row: Pat Peregrine Muller, Mary Parker Lawrence,Tania Wisbar, Judith Pierce Westerman, Sharon S. Paik, Sheila Powers Converse, Katherine Farrow Jorrens Second row: Elizabeth Elston, Ellen Woody Nichols, Patricia Taylor Ree, Debbie Beck Rosenberg, Barbara Hunter, Patricia Reid Harmon, Myrna Bostwick Cowman Front row: Betsy Krause Sherman, Sharon Zwonechek Barry, Gerry Wong Ching, Jeannine Sova Jones, Lynn Dean Newhall, Ann Winsor Doskow

1967 Top row: Diane Massman Jurach, Sandra Hooper Roberts, Melissa “Missy” Coffin Willis, Gwen Jackson Foster, Lorinda Bader Reichert Front row: Dianne Sanders Howlett, Nancy Sirmay Banker, Sandra Aoki Ohara, Laura Lengyel, Julia Odegard, Susan Cope Makovkin

1972 Top row: Heidi Long, Sandi Wakeman, Christine Neiman Ritchey, Portia Morgan Second row: Sally Sugden Jesse, MA ’78, Deborah Harrison, Carolyn Devol, Mary MacWilliams Hunter Front row: Micheline Beam, Suzanne Arnhart, Betty Colvin Santistevan, Deborah Kimbrell, Lynette Williams Williamson, MA ’74

1977 Christina Walker, Lina Au, Lucy Seereiter, Madelyn Marino, Sheryl Wooldridge, Karen Madison

1982 

Top row: Lindsay Knutzen, Debra “Debi” Smith Eagle, Tracy WesterlundPhillips, Linda Heckendorn Hann, Bibiana Princeton, Jacqi Howell Feerick Front row: Penny Peak, Leslie Clark, Flora Boyer, Mary S. Hale, Rebecca Paeper Hood, Cindy Swain Castle

1987 

Top row: Dawn Warrior, Cheryl Reid-Simons, Cathy Gildea, Rita Morin, Kerstin Sadilek, Marla Mundis Front row: Tricia Kerr, Cindy d’Armand Sullivan, Charlene Boddie Spencer, Lynn Eve Komaromi, Elizabeth Weed, Tanya Peacock WINTER 2013


Reunion 2012 ClaSS PHOTOS



Top row: Karilee Wirthlin, Arundathi “Foofie” Gunawardena, Mary Helen Castaneda Padilla, Erin O’Leary, Sheila Jaswal, Catherine Smith Morrow, Rachael Meny Second row: Virginia Somes, Julia Almanzan, Colleen Almeida Smith, Thembisa S. Mshaka, Linda Jaquez-Fissori, Sonja Piper Dosti, Sarah Davis Wace Front row: Jean Jones Gurga, Rennie Joynt Walker, Sarah Nash, Karlin Sorenson, Bernadette Bradbury, Mary Lane Gallagher

Top row: Lore Ehrlich, Jennifer Gallison, Jenn Carter Front row: Stacey Monteiro Leanos, MBA ’05, Jennifer Ward, Marta Montoro


Top row: Erin Connolly, Iris Corey, Kirstyne Lange Front row: Ruth Carter, Chelsea Bruno, Kelsey Mercado


2002 Top row: RamonaLisa Smith, Rebecca Richman, Jeunesse Speed Front row: Amy Dewey, MA ’07, Pipi Diamond, MBA ’11, Marcia Randall, Karen Hancock

2012 Katie Rogers, Jessica Dewey-Hoffman, Hai-Thom Tran Sota, Michelle Ma, Kimberly Swanberg, Merri Gordon, Catherine Guzzi


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

Miss Reynolds left a legacy at Mills. You can too.

Flora Elizabeth Reynolds (1911–2008) Miss Reynolds served as library director at Mills from 1955 until 1976, during which time the library’s holdings grew steadily. She generously bequeathed half her estate to the College to endow the Flora Elizabeth Reynolds Book Fund, the income of which is used to purchase books for the permanent enrichment of the campus library.

Desiree Apodaca ’14 Desiree, who is double majoring in English literature and

A bequest allows you to leave a lasting legacy at Mills. You may make an unrestricted bequest, or you have the option of designating your bequest for a specific purpose.

ethnic studies, uses the library every day. She checks out books for her coursework as well as leisure reading and looks forward to using the library’s ample collection of Chicana fiction in her research for her senior thesis next year.

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

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

In Memoriam Notices of death received before September 21, 2012 To submit listings, please contact or 510.430.2123

Alumnae Marcia Marple Weston, MA ’37, July 4, in Fairfax, Virginia. She held positions at the Honolulu Academy of Arts in 1939 and 1967, organized forums on art and archeology while living in Peru, and researched Oriental sculpture in the Seattle Art Museum. In Kansas, she was an art instructor at Wichita Collegiate School and project director for the statewide Visual Arts Project. She also served on the Fairfax (Virginia) City Commission on the Arts. Survivors include two children, two stepsons, and five grandchildren. Margaret Hudson McLachlin ’39, September 24, 2011, in Alexandria, Minnesota. Mary Kuzell Niznik ’40, June 18, in Peoria, Arizona. She was a teacher and served as her Mills class secretary. Beatrice Maxwell Krell ’41, June 27, in Pebble Beach, California. She worked as a nutritionist and instructor at Diablo Valley College.

Frances Weiler Varnhagen ’52, September 3, in San Francisco. A third-generation San Franciscan, she enjoyed attending theater and musical events and held a variety of positions with Young Audience, KQED, the San Francisco International Film Festival, the Transamerica Open Tennis Tournament, the San Francisco Education Fund, and the Friends of Chamber Music. She is survived by three children, including Elizabeth Varnhagen ’79, and two grandchildren. Betty-Jo Danielson Stumpf, MEd ’58, July 1, in Reno, Nevada. She taught elementary school in Oakland and Berkeley before moving to Reno, where she worked as a student teacher supervisor at the University of Nevada and as a teacher at Katherine Dunne School in Sparks. She was involved with the Assistance League and traveled widely. She is survived by her husband, Felix; a son; and four stepsons. Lynnea Danielson Dressander ’60, April 5, 2010, in Watervliet, Michigan. A former resident of Naperville, Illinois, survivors include her husband, Virgil; four children; and six grandchildren. Patricia Alice Collins ’61, July 11, in Oakland, California. She worked as an executive assistant at several corporations throughout the Bay Area and enjoyed travel and photography. She is survived by many cousins and friends.

Lois Smith Rasmussen ’43, June 25, in Helena, Montana. Survivors include a son. Mary “Jean” Schweers Burns’46, September 4, in Stockton, California. She enjoyed time with her family at Kirkwood, playing bridge, and snorkeling. She was a medical social worker at San Joaquin General Hospital and a past president of the St. Michael’s Ladies Guild. She is survived by her husband, Thomas; three children; four grandchildren; and her sister, Shirley Schweers Goers ’45. Audrey “Audie” Ditmer Gibney ’46, August 14, in Oakland, California. She had a long career as a teacher and school administrator and especially loved to travel, circumnavigating the globe in 1956 and visiting every continent except Antarctica. Survivors include her husband, Edward; a stepson; and four grandchildren, including Audrey Gibney ’93. Genevieve Warren Hahn ’46, June 14, in Aptos, California. She earned an MFA from California State University, Los Angeles, and was an accomplished sculptor, painter, and art instructor, working in a studio overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Survivors include a son. Norma Ross Maris ’47, July 29, in Issaquah, Washington. She worked as a medical technician at the Spokane blood bank, served as president of the Spokane Symphony Women, and was on the board of Connoisseur Concerts. She also served as a docent and membership chairperson at the Museum of Northwest Art. Survivors include four children and seven grandchildren. Barbara Carson ’52, August 18, in Hillsborough, California. She pursued graduate studies in Spanish before working at the Spanish embassy in Washington DC and at a Cuban sugar brokerage on Wall Street. A longtime resident of Modesto, California, and a bilingual elementary teacher for over 30 years, she was also a scuba instructor. She is survived by two children and four grandchildren. Claire Billstein Gilbert ’52, March 6, in Tiburon, California. A supporter of Guide Dogs for the Blind and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, she is survived by her children, David and Aerial Gilbert ’84, and three grandchildren. Elizabeth Hoyt ’52, May 15, in Sedro Woolley, Washington. 30 

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

Gifts in Memory of Received June 1–August 31, 2012 Nancy Van Norman Baer ’66 by her husband, Alan Baer Patricia “Pat” Tiggard Boese ’50 by Kay Fraser Gilliland ’50 Darl Bowers, husband of Anita Bowers ’63 and father of Jeannette Bowers ’84, by Jacquelyn Jagger Parsons ’52 Anita Brown by Rebecca Kendall Maria Laconsay Bucknam by Lilly Sylvester Sahagun ’10, MA ’12 Philip Burchill, husband of Jacklyn Davidson Burchill ’44, by Helen Drake Muirhead ’58, P ’88, P ’93 Alda Nye Byron ’88 by Sharon Page-Medrich ’05 Catharyne “Kitty” Johnson Campfield by Michelle Balovich ’03, and her daughter, Lynda Campfield ’00, MA ’02 William Compton by his daughter, Laura Compton ’93 Annie Corey by Kathleen Burke Evelyn “Peg” Deane ’41 by Mary Hart Clark ’42 Martha “Marty” Miller Evans ’63 by Bruce and Doris Evans Lillian Fabricant by her daughter, Jill Fabricant ’71 Mary Jean “Rosy” Rosenberry Ferris ’45 by her daughter, Sara Ferris ’74 Audrey “Audie” Ditmer Gibney ’46 by Doris Dennis Denison Glass ’83 by Debbie Naganuma

Elfie Hanson Larkin, MEd ’61, June 19, in Oakland, California. She served in the Coast Guard during World War II, taught first grade, was a docent at the Oakland Zoo, and traveled extensively.

Spouses and family

Nancy Blair Herringer ’65, August 12, in San Francisco. She completed her education at Barnard College in New York, received her MBA from UC Berkeley, and worked for Wells Fargo until retiring as a vice president. She supported the Insight Prison Project and other programs aiding those in need.

Joseph Gordon, husband of Beate Sirota Gordon ’43, August 29, in New York City.

Glynda Cober Hardin ’77, July 17, in San Pablo, California. She was an active member of the AAMC Alumnae of Color Committee and the Mills “Sisters of the Seventies;” she was also deeply involved in her church. Survivors include her husband, Harold, and her niece, Christina Walker ’08. Deborah Homer-O’Leary, MA ’79, September 14, in Greenland, New Hampshire. She taught dance at the University of Connecticut then, after an injury, took up sculpture. She exhibited her work locally and won best in show for bronze sculpture at the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen Annual Fair in 2011. She is survived by her husband, Michael, and two sons. Mark Hauck, MA ’90, July 31, in Hayward, California. He taught English composition and writing at Chabot College. Survivors include his wife, Mary Ellen Pratt-Hauck.

Bob Clark, husband of Judith Horwedel Clark ’63, August 14, in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.

Cyril Hauser, husband of Patricia Spence Hauser ’53, June 1, in Glenview, Illinois. Constance Hopkins Hellyer, mother of Constance Hellyer ’59, Dorothy Hellyer Oliver ’60, and Tirrell Hellyer Kimball ’62; and aunt of Marion Hellyer King ’54; July 27, in Tacoma, Washington. G. Eugene Martin, husband of Joyce Martin ’64, November 9, 2009, in Bethesda, Maryland. Elizabeth Allen Smith, daughter of Beth Frederick Allen ’59, August 7, in Friendswood, Texas. Edward Solomon, husband of Mary Tucker Solomon ’65 and brother-inlaw of Sue Tucker ’68, July 22, while on vacation in Minnesota. He was a resident of Menlo Park, California. Roger Stewart, husband of Jacquelyn Spratt Stewart ’49, July 10, in Prescott, Arizona. Jack Woida, husband of Thomasina Woida ’80, April 11, in Alameda, California.

Mary Phyllis “Phil” Parker Grady ’46 by Carol Lotz Wenzel ’46, MA ’47

Anne Sherrill by Elizabeth Terhune ’90

Kenneth and Virginia Holmgren by their daughter, Beth Holmgren

Ida Shimanouchi ’38 by Elaine Wong Chew ’68

Baki Kasapligil by Jacquelyn Jagger Parsons ’52

Joseph Shuttleworth by his wife, Rebecca Marsh Shuttleworth ’64

Don and Mary Larkin ’86 by their daughter, Sheila Larkin Brethauer ’77, MA ’89

Elizabeth Smith by her mother, Beth Frederick Allen ’59

Roland LaRoche by his daughter, Catherine LaRoche ’85 Charles Larsen by Patricia Hughes Skinner ’85, Elizabeth Terhune ’90

Imogene and Franklin Walker by Katherine Farrow Jorrens ’57 Judith Wallerstein by Jerome Oremland

Edward LeFevour by Elizabeth Terhune ’90

Nancy Warner, mother of Nangee Warner Morrison ’63, by Laurel Burden ’68

Jennifer “Jenny” Makofsky ’91 by Lisa Kosiewicz ’91

Vylma Zotti Weeks ’51 by Georgian Simmonds Bahlke ’51, P ’80

Marcia Herring Marsh ’56 by Clara Wellington Crocker ’56

Jerry Werlin, husband of Barbara Gilinsky Werlin ’50, by Laurel Burden ’68, Los Angeles Mills College Alumnae, Nangee Warner Morrison ’63

Patricia “Pat” Chilton Martyr ’46 by Dorothy Zimmerman Poznanski ’46 Lydia Nelson McCollum ’43 by Eda Philpott Mills ’59 Howard McMinn by Jacquelyn Jagger Parsons ’52

Marcia Marple Weston ’37 by Charles and Jean Eby, Amy McHenry, her stepson David Weston

Madeleine Milhaud by Katherine Farrow Jorrens ’57

Kate Morrow Whitley ’43 by Elizabeth Barnhart, Barbara Chung, Helen Metz Lore ’43, Nancy Merrick

Judy Mollica by Nangee Warner Morrison ’63

Reynold Wik by Katherine Farrow Jorrens ’57

Isabel Schemel Mulcahy ’44 by her husband, Thomas Mulcahy

Jack Woida, husband of Thomasina Woida ’80, by Michelle Balovich ’03

Leanne Haney Rhodes ’62 by Catherine Henley-Erickson ’62, Susan Wheeler McLaren ’62, Frances Haines Moore ’62, Donna Squires Swinney ’62

Barbara Ristrom “Risty” Wood ’47 by Julia Almanzan ’92, John and Jeanette “Jea” Baran, Laurel Burden ’68, Lynne and R. Gene Dewey, Sterling Loftin Dorman ’47, Susan Stern Fineman ’68, Bob Hight, Ann Thomas Jones ’47, Los Angeles Mills College Alumnae, Jill McCluskey, Roger Mills and Carol Jeung-Mills, Nangee Warner Morrison ’63

Karen Rosenblum ’96 by Shannon Wolfe ’96 Dorothy Shubart Rosenwald ’36 by Colleen Daveney Searle ’52

p=parent; For information about making a tribute gift, contact 510.430.2097 or WINTER 2013


Being Julia I

By Karen Fiene

n the early decades of the 20th cen-

30, she was the first woman to receive a

tury, women’s issues were at the fore

certificat d’architecture, the school’s second

of public discourse: the suffrage move-

highest degree.

ment was in full swing, and women

She was a woman breaking into a

were also advocating for increased access

completely male-dominated field, but

to higher education, job training, and

her skill and perseverance triumphed

other causes.

over prejudice. El Campanil was built

When El Campanil was built and dedi-

of reinforced concrete, one of the first

cated in 1904, it stood as a beacon of

such structures in California. After sur-

change. For Mills College, the bell tower

viving the 1906 earthquake intact, the

“signaled the institution’s transition from

bell tower was studied by architects and

an almost obsolete frontier finishing

contractors and helped cement Morgan’s

school to a leading women’s college of the

growing reputation.

20th century,” writes Karen McNeill in her

“Not only was she the nation’s most

article “Women Who Build” (California

prolific woman architect, she was an icon

History, vol. 89, #3, July 2012). The

of the New Woman: a highly educated,

Mission-style design, so different from East

independent, and single woman success-

Coast colleges, demonstrated that Mills

fully pursuing a traditionally masculine

was not hindered by eastern standards,

career,” says McNeill. “Her oeuvre provides

but was establishing its own identity.

the most expansive body of architecture

For the tower’s architect, Julia Morgan,

designed of, by, and for women.” Though

it marked the beginning of a remarkable

she shunned personal publicity—preferring

and groundbreaking career. El Campanil

that her buildings speak for themselves—

was one of Morgan’s first independent

Morgan built some 800 buildings, includ-

projects. Shortly after opening her own

ing almost 100 for women’s organizations

office as the first female licensed architect

in California and beyond.

in California, Morgan had been recom-

In addition to El Campanil, she designed

mended for the commission by Phoebe

five more buildings for the College: the

Apperson Hearst, an influential force in


establishing major educational and cul-

Cottage; the Gymnasium, which, sadly,

tural institutions throughout the Bay

was demolished in 1960; Alumnae Hall,

Area. The two women were to have a life-

now the Student Union; and Alderwood

long association; with the patronage of

Hall, formerly the Ming Quong Home for

the Hearst family, Morgan would secure

Chinese Girls and now the Julia Morgan

numerous projects, including the 28-year

School for Girls.

undertaking to design and construct Hearst Castle at San Simeon.




It is only fitting that Julia Morgan continues to be a presence on the Mills cam-

A San Francisco native, Morgan gradu-

pus. A century later, her example shows

ated from the University of California,

the power of women working together

Berkeley, in 1894 with a degree in civil

and the chance we all have to achieve our

engineering. She traveled to Paris to pur-

greatest goals.

sue an architectural degree at the presti-

The dedication ceremony for Carnegie Hall; the Gymnasium; Morgan’s early sketch of El Campanil. 32 

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

gious École des Beaux-Arts, only to find

Mills Campus Architect Karen Fiene

that women were barred from the entrance

developed an exhibit on Julia Morgan

examinations. She waited two years until

and her Mills College buildings as part of

the rules were altered and failed the exams

the statewide 2012 Julia Morgan Festival.

three times—once, she was told, because

The display is on view in the Bender

she was a woman. In 1902, at the age of

Room in Carnegie Hall.

The Alumnae Association of Mills College wants you! The Alumnae Association of Mills College (AAMC) has several exciting opportunities for dedicated Mills graduates to work with other alumnae and College leaders to help make an important difference in the present and future of Mills College and the alumnae association. We are currently seeking nominations for alumna trustee and for seats on the Board of Governors.

Alumna Trustee

AAMC Governor

The nomination deadline for alum na trustee is Januar y 15; the deadline for the Board of Governor s is April 1

Nomination Deadline: January 15, 2013

Nomination Deadline: April 1, 2013

A full member of both the Mills College Board of Trustees and the AAMC Board of Governors, the alumna trustee represents the views of alumnae and the AAMC Board to the College’s Board of Trustees and ensures that the legacy of Mills College continues into the future. The alumna trustee attends all Board of Trustee and Board of Governors meetings.

The Board of Governors is the fiscal and policy-making body of the Alumnae Association of Mills College. As a working board, AAMC governors are required to attend four board meetings annually, chair a board committee, and participate and volunteer in boardsponsored activities throughout the year.  

All offices serve three-year terms, July 1, 2013–June 30, 2016. To nominate an individual or yourself, submit a letter stating the nomination category and describing the candidate’s qualifications to Associate Professor Diane Ketelle ’78, chair of the AAMC Nominating Committee, 5000 MacArthur Blvd., MB #86, Oakland, CA 94613.

Alumnae tr avel 2013 From Cannes to Venice: Jewels of Antiquity Sail along the beautiful French Riviera. Immerse yourself in the charm of Provence, the spirit of Cannes, the beauty of Florence, the history of Rome, and the romance of Venice—plus visits to several additional ports aboard the MV Aegean Odyssey. May 28–June 12, 2013

Cruising the Baltic Sea: Changing the Tides of History Mikhail Gorbachev and Lech Walesa are exclusive speakers for this tour; travelers will also enjoy special early entry to the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg and a private concert in the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. Round out your journey of this richly historic region with stops in Helsinki, Tallinn, Riga, Gdansk, Copenhagen, and Oslo. June 13–24, 2013

Waterways of Russia: From Moscow to St. Petersburg 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

Join President Alecia 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. July 24–August 3, 2013

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)

Many paths.

One easy way

for you to help Mills. Where has your path led? Prospective students,

funders, and accrediting agencies want to know what Mills alumnae achieve after graduation. Show them the power of a Mills education and build a stronger alumnae network in three easy steps: 1 Visit 2 Log in to the Mills College Alumnae Community. (If it’s your first time to login in, register using your alumna ID: the nine-digit code, starting with a letter, at the top of your mailing address above.) 3 Add or update information on your occupation, life experience, and advanced education.

No personal information will be shared without your permission.

Mills Quarterly Winter 2013  

Mills College alumnae magazine

Mills Quarterly Winter 2013  

Mills College alumnae magazine