Mills Quarterly, Fall 2014

Page 1









Mills Quarterly Fall 2014

Science in the


Working closely with Mills professors—like Kristina Faul— was such a fantastic experience for me as a student. I want to be part of the College’s history of graduates paying scholarships forward, so young women have the opportunity to learn and grow in an inspiring environment. Leaving a legacy through my donations continues to make me feel connected to Mills.

Johanna Sayo ’07

behind every gift there is a story

Each gift to the College has a story—about a life-path discovered at Mills and followed into the world, about life long friendships and inspiring mentors, about a voice found or strengthened. These are the stories you make possible for future generations when you give to Mills. Each gift really does count: college assessors, including U.S. News & World

Report, consider graduates’ giving an important measure of a learning community’s excellence. Your gifts to Mills are a vote of confidence in the College’s future.

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 2014 3

New beginnings

As Mills launches a new academic year, the College works to serve students more effectively and efficiently while remaining true to our core values of excellence and inclusion.


Team Squirrel takes the field by Susan McCarthy

An ambitious project in behavioral ecology, headed by Assistant Professor of Biology Jenn Smith, examines the social lives of squirrels—and gives students first-hand experience in conducting field research.


Behind the scenes by Jessica Langlois, MFA ’10

On stage and screen, these three alumnae take on roles that challenge stereotypes based on gender and race. The theater experience, they say, provides a way for all of us to recognize our human connections.


Action heroes

Fun and rewarding days of volunteer service bring Mills alumnae together to benefit local organizations.

Departments 2



Mills Matters


Class Notes


In Memoriam

On the cover: Assistant Professor Jenn Smith and Kay Singh ’15 scan the landscape for squirrels at Briones Regional Park. Photo by Dana Davis.


On These I Stand: An Exhibit of Rare Black Books and Collectibles

Mills Music Now Concert Series October 5  Early Music: Shira Kammen

October 27–December 18, F. W. Olin Library Items from the collection of writer and social commentator Daphne Muse illustrating the history of black intellectualism in the United States.

October 11  Mills Performing Group: Berio Folk Songs Celebration October 18  John Driscoll November 1  In Memoriam Robert Ashley Volume CIII Number 1 Fall 2014 President Alecia A. DeCoudreaux Chief of Staff and Vice President for Communications and External Relations Renée Jadushlever Editor Linda Schmidt Design and Art Direction Nancy Siller Wilson Contributing Writers Jessica Langlois, MFA ’10 Susan McCarthy Editorial Assistance Russell Schoch 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 © 2014, Mills College

November 8  Improvisation: Tim Hodgkinson and Dans Les Arbres All events start at 8:00 pm (unless otherwise noted) in the Littlefield Concert Hall. Free to Mills students, faculty, and staff; $15 general; $10 senior, Mills alumnae/i, and non-Mills students. Buy tickets at See or contact Steed Cowart at 510.430.2334 or

Songlines Series October 20  Annie Lewandowski and Tim Feeney: Improvised percussion and piano/ electronics accompanying videos by artist Michael Ashkin. October 27  The Hub: Featuring two new pieces by the band that pioneered laptop ensembles. November 3  Shudder: Phillip Greenlief, Kyle Bruckman, Lance Grabmiller: Compelling instrumentation of reeds and electronics.

Printed on recycled paper containing 10 percent post-consumer waste.

For information, contact Janice Braun, jbraun@

Mills College Art Museum Sarah Oppenheimer September 13–December 14, 2014 New York–based artist Sarah Oppenheimer is internationally recognized for her architectural interventions that explore how space is animated and experienced. This exhibition presents archival material highlighting a set of key projects, including hand and digital drawings, three-dimensional models, and light studies. 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.

November 17  Ken Ueno: Quarter-tone electric guitar and vibraphone with vocal multiphonics. 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

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

November 2  Conversation and Q&A with Daphne Muse and Professor of English Ajuan Mance, followed by a reception and special tour of the exhibit. 2:00 pm, Faculty Lounge.

Annie Lewandowski

Take note! Mills cards now available

The 5.5 x 4” folded notecard (right) displays a eucalyptus branch across the front and is blank inside. The 4 x 6” correspondence card featuring a small eucalyptus leaf is also available.

(Please use outline)

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. 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. M I L L S Q U A R T E R LY

A Message from the President of Mills College

New Beginnings By Alecia A. DeCoudreaux ​One of the most exciting times on cam-

all enrolled students, will be positively

pus is when we begin the new academic

affected by these modifications. Also, we

year and welcome new and returning stu-

have devoted more resources to increase

dents. This year, after much preparation

access for first-generation and financially

by our hard-working staff and extraor-

challenged students. To better serve stu-

dinary faculty, the Class of 2018 arrived

dents’ needs as they transition to post-

full of energy, enthusiasm, hopes, and

college employment, we have reallocated


resources to strengthen career services.

donors, including a $1.25 million pledge

With Reunion 2014 fast approaching,

In today’s world, students need additional

from a prominent Bay Area funder for an

I can hardly wait for​our loyal alum-

tools and greater support to tie their cur-

emerging capital project; many other sig-

nae to return to Mills, reconnect with

ricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular

nificant grants are acknowledged on page

their friends, make a few new ones, and

achievements to real-world jobs at home

4. Mills has dozens of requests to private

enjoy interacting with students, faculty,

and abroad.

foundations currently pending or slated

In order to make Mills more ​competi-

for submission in the coming months

This is a time of new beginnings.

tive in the changing landscape of higher

potentially bring in millions of dollars for

Mills is a dynamic institution, continu-

education, ​we have introduced adminis-

infrastructure, programs, and services. I

ally evolving while still embracing core

trative changes that will result in more

appreciate the enormous effort our staff

values and beloved traditions. The year

integrated academic programs, such as a

and faculty have invested in these pro-

presents many opportunities for innova-

more formalized collaboration between

posals. Creating a diverse and robust

tion as the College introduces changes

the MBA and MPP graduate programs. A

income structure is of critical impor-

that will strengthen our students’ edu-

team of faculty is engaged in a Curricular

tance for the College’s ongoing viability.

cational experience and enhance their

Transformation Task Force to re-imagine

In addition, we continue to pursue other

ability to become leaders in a challeng-

the Mills 21st-century curriculum to

revenue-generating possibilities, includ-

ing world. These changes will ultimately

ensure that our students are exposed to

ing the better use of our underutilized

improve their Mills experience, while

relevant contemporary academic think-

land, increased rental of our facilities, and

remaining true to values that have been

ing within a strong liberal-arts frame-

strategic partnerships.

established over the institution’s long his-


and staff on our beautiful campus.

​In all these efforts, we remain commit-

tory. They will enable us to meet strategic

And, as much as we rely on the gener-

ted to what makes Mills special: provid-

objectives, advance the College’s mission,

osity of alumnae donors to support the

ing a diverse and inclusive environment,

and, at the same time, make a tremen-

College financially, we have also been

recognizing the power of community,

dous difference in our students’ lives now

building momentum to attract institu-

and advancing education for women as

and in the future.

tional grants that will advance our long-

a way to effect positive change in the

Some initiatives will improve pro-

term goals, support faculty research,

world. Together, we have a responsibility

cedures and revamp the structure of

and enhance the student experience.

to ensure a strong future for the College,

departments, allowing for more cost-

Private foundations are an important

maintain an extraordinary educational

effective delivery of programs and ser-

source of funding for the College, and

experience for our students, and to adhere

vices. Other changes will allow us to meet

we continue to cultivate existing foun-

to our deeply held values. I am profoundly

more of our students’ needs. For example,

dation relationships while seeking new

grateful to all members of the Mills com-

we have streamlined and centralized our



munity who are dedicated to meeting

recruitment and enrollment processes to

who share our values. Since May, the

these crucial goals and to preparing lead-

ensure a more coordinated and efficient

College has received several noteworthy

ers who will make a positive difference in

approach. Potential students, as well as

commitments from private institutional

our world now and in the future.



FA L L 2 0 1 4


Mills Matters College forges transgender admission policy Mills has become the first single-sex

identity as a women’s college, and this

he adds, “We are in no way consider-

college in the country to publish an

policy begins by reaffirming that iden-

ing becoming a coed institution at the

admission policy for transgender appli-

tity,” says Brian O’Rourke, vice president

undergraduate level. We have been

cants. Developed with extensive input

for enrollment management. “We were

operating under these procedures for

from faculty, staff, and students and fol-

founded and still exist to question gender

some time; it was important to codify

lowing thorough legal review, the policy

stereotypes and traditional gender roles.”

this publicly and let students know how

was unanimously passed by the Mills

Three to five students who apply to

we will treat their applications.”

College Board of Trustees’ Enrollment

Mills each year identify as a gender

and Financial Aid Committee in May

different from their original biologi-

served on the Diversity Committee that

and went into effect on September 1.

cal assignment or as gender neutral.

endorsed the new policy, says, “Mills

Tess Filbeck-Bates, a senior who

According to the new policy, any appli-

O’Rourke states that the policy serves

does support diversity—not when it’s

cant who identifies as a female or who is

as an important part of promoting an

easy, but when it’s time to be a leader.

born female but identifies outside of the

inclusive environment on campus.

I feel my education will be enriched

traditional gender binary is eligible to

“Mills is exceptionally diverse by

greatly as a result of this decision.

apply to a Mills undergraduate program.

a variety of definitions, and the idea

When people are free to express who

Graduate programs remain open to all,

that we would take this step to make

they are, they can be stronger in every-

regardless of gender.

students feel more included is only

thing they do. That’s what Mills is all

appropriate,” he says. At the same time,


“We’re very proud of our history and

Generous gifts and pledges sustain College priorities Mills College gratefully acknowledges

Undergraduate Research Program and

enhance the study of Chinese language

the following selected gifts, grants, and

the Five-Year Bachelor’s/Master’s Degree

at the College. Ann Wolff ’42 gave

pledges of $50,000 or more received

Program with a commitment through

to Mills’ Greatest Need. Helen Salvin

between January 1 and June 30, 2014.

the Barrett Foundation, while Kwong and

Kennedy ’67 opened a charitable gift

Several members of the Mills College

Franklin also contributed through the

annuity that will one day lead to the cre-

Board of Trustees pledged their support

Morris S. Smith Foundation to support

ation of an endowed scholarship for sci-

of a new project, the renovation of Lisser

the strategic initiative to internationalize

ence and math students. Sally Lampson

Hall, including Chair Kathleen Burke

Mills. Parker and Crow made an additional

Kanehe ’64 endowed the Sally Lampson

and her husband, Ralph Davis; Richard

pledge toward Mills’ Greatest Need.

Kanehe Scholarship. Meredith and William Parker contributed 100 pieces of

W. Barrett, P ’93, and his wife, Elaine;

Grants to sustain the Mills Teachers

Glenn and Ellen Voyles; Wendy Hull

Scholars Program came from the Stuart

19th- and 20th-century art to the Mills

Brody ’68 and her husband, William;

Foundation and the Dirk and Charlene

College Art Museum.

Maribelle and Stephen Leavitt; Katie

Kabcenell Foundation. The Spencer

Brown Sanborn ’83 and her partner,

Foundation made a grant in support of

tribution from the estate of Evamaria

Barbara Wright; Jim and Mayhill Fowler;

research by School of Education faculty.

Chookolingo ’36 of Thousand Oaks,

Mei Kwong ’70 and Laurence Franklin;

The Challenge to Learning School in

California. A distribution from the estate

and Elizabeth Parker ’85 and Keith Crow.

San Francisco gave to the Mills College

of a friend of Mills, Vilma Patterson-

President Emerita Mary S. Metz and her

Children’s School Gift Fund and cre-

Antoine of Walnut Creek, California,

husband, Eugene, also made a pledge in

ated the Challenge to Learning Endowed

created the Myrtle Pedersen Swanson

support of the renovation. We are truly

Scholarship for Children’s School students.

Fund for Classical Music, named for her

grateful for this early and strong support

Trustee Joan Lewis Danforth ’53

Mills received an unrestricted dis-

niece. A bequest distribution from the

of this goal, which is an important com-

made a gift to both Mills’ Greatest Need

estate of Marilyn Mary, longtime Art

ponent of the College’s plan to revitalize

and the Mary Ann Childers Kinkead

Department staff member, created the

the campus core.

Initiative for Faculty Innovation. An

William and Marilyn Mary MFA Studio

anonymous donor created a fund to

Art Endowment.

The Barretts also funded the Barrett 4


Campus kudos A selection of recent achievements by faculty, staff, and students David Bernstein, professor of music, has been appointed editor of Music Theory Spectrum, the official academic journal of the Society for Music Theory. Published by Oxford University Press, the journal features the best work in music theory and analysis, including aesthetics, history of theory, post-tonal theory, critical theory, linear analysis, rhythm, and music cognition. Professor of English Stephen Ratcliffe has received this year’s prestigious San

David Bernstein, Stephen Ratcliffe, Alecia DeCoudreaux

Francisco State University Poetry Center Book Award for Selected Days, a collection

Bill Issel, visiting professor of his-

documentary American Jerusalem:

of poems from over a decade of work. He

tory, has been selected to receive a 2014

will receive his award and read from the

Award of Merit from the San Francisco

book on October 2 at the Poetry Center

Museum and Historical Society for his

one of five people profiled by

on the SFSU campus. Ratcliffe has previ-

contributions to the study and teaching

San Francisco’s ABC7 television in

ously been honored with the Gertrude

of San Francisco history. This annual

this year’s Profiles of Excellence series.

Stein Award for Innovative American

award honors individuals, organiza-

The show celebrates the Bay Area’s

Poetry, as well as awards from the National

tions, and businesses that have made

rich cultural diversity and the residents

Endowment for the Arts. His small press,

significant contributions to the historic

who have made important contribu-

Avenue B, has published the writings of

fabric of San Francisco. Recently he was

tions to the community.

innovative contemporary poets.

historical adviser for the highly praised

SAW primes students for academic success

now of helping these students succeed.”

Twenty-five years after its founding, the

graduation rate for this population is only

is not remedial. “The students call it boot

Summer Academic Workshop (SAW) has

11 percent after six years, 60 percent of

camp,” he says. “It is run like an honors

become a model of success in prepar-

SAW participants complete their degrees

program, with very high expectations

ing low-income, first-generation college

at Mills in four years. In addition, SAW

of our students coupled with excellent

students for the rigors of undergraduate

cohorts earn a group grade-point average

ongoing student services and academic

study at Mills. In fact, this year’s enter-

of over 3.1. “Our retention rate equals—

support.” Throughout the year, students

ing group of 28 students is the largest

and sometimes exceeds—the College’s

can take advantage of seminars, guest

cohort in the program’s history, and

overall rate,” says Williams. “Most who

speakers, visits to businesses, and staff

Bruce Williams, Fletcher Jones Professor

leave do so for financial reasons; even

and alumnae mentors. The social sup-

of Sociology who has served as SAW

many of those go on to finish at other

port of peers, faculty, and staff is another

director since 2000, anticipates that the

institutions. We’re doing something very

key to ensuring success. “These students

need will only increase.

special to achieve such results.”

often face additional stress from finan-

“SAW is more important today than

The success of the program is easily quantifiable. Although the national

Incoming SAW students live on cam-

Jews and the Making of San Francisco. President Alecia DeCoudreaux was

to campus resources and services, earning a half-course credit for their work. Williams points out that the program

cial hardship, as well as self-doubt,” says

ever,” he says. “National data indicate that

pus for four weeks prior to the start of

Williams. “We help them keep a positive

the majority of students coming into the

the fall semester, logging 65 classroom

sense of themselves and build the belief

academy over the next 15 to 20 years

hours in addition to attending work-

that they can do this work.”

will be low-income, first-generation, and

shops, structured study time, leadership

students of color. We have a track record

development activities, and orientations FA L L 2 0 1 4


The team prepares for the day’s work (left); Jenn Smith and Kay Singh seek out their study subjects (right).

TEAM SQUIRREL takes the field


By Susan McCarthy

One day in Kenya, doctoral student Jenn Smith watched carefully as a lion advanced to steal food from a group of hyenas. To Smith’s surprise, the hyenas turned the tables. “I actually saw spotted hyenas chase a lion up a tree. Lions never are seen in trees!” she exclaims. She later saw the hyenas defeated by a similar tactic: when a hunting clan of

hyenas approached grazing zebras, instead of fleeing, the zebras formed a ring, protecting the foals inside. The defense was successful enough to send the hyenas away still hungry. “The zebras were the prey animals, but they won at the end of the day,” she says. “That was pretty neat.”




Both of these examples demonstrate the results of individual animals working together to benefit other members of their

tent among the Masai, where she was called Mama Fisi (“hyena woman” in Swahili).

social group. This is the primary focus of Smith’s research. An

Now, she is training students in the skills of field research,

assistant professor of biology at Mills since 2012, Smith exam-

albeit a little closer to home. Under Smith’s guidance, Team

ines how animals interact with their natural environment and

Squirrel, a group of Mills undergraduates, is studying ground

with each other. “My work is studying how animals have evolved

squirrel colonies in the East Bay’s Briones Park.

and why they behave the way they do,” she says. Her passion is to understand social evolution in mammals, particularly the evolution of cooperation. “It’s sort of uncoding the secret language they’re using.” Such “language,” she explains, may include

Jenn Smith grew up in a small town in Maine, and was

various behaviors, such as vocalizations and postures, as well as

always drawn to observing animals. She planned to be a veteri-

more obviously social actions like mutual grooming or who has

narian, the only job with animals she knew about. In her sopho-

priority for feeding and mating.

more year at Colby College she took a between-semester course

Secrets like these are untangled through field work, observing

in the British West Indies. Her project was to figure out what

animals in nature. Such study allows the animal to interact with

land hermit crabs did at night; to trace their journeys, she fixed

the full range of influences in its habitat and, while less tidy

the ends of tiny spools of thread to their shells. The answer?

than lab work, provides results that simply can’t be duplicated

They went to the chicken coop, looking for food. In discovering

in a controlled environment. While in Kenya, Smith lived in a

the hermit crabs’ path, Smith found her own. FA L L 2 0 1 4


She went on to earn an MS at the University

cooperation in a predator species. With mar-

of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and dual doc-

mots and these squirrels, she’s looking at a

torates in zoology and ecology and evolution-

prey species. Sentinel behavior and alarm

ary biology and behavior from Michigan State

calls are an example of their cooperation.

University while studying hyenas under the

“By announcing the danger, they’re putting

mentorship of zoologist Kay Holekamp. In her

themselves at a greater risk. But the benefit

post-doctoral work, Smith joined in on a rare

is that they’re warning other individuals in

long-term study of yellow-bellied marmots liv-

their group,” she says.

ing in the Rocky Mountain area. That project,

The plump little squirrels scampering

which began in the 1960s, is now headed by

around aren’t just attractive to biologists—

Dan Blumstein, professor of ecology and evo-

they’re also attractive to hawks, coyotes,

lutionary biology at UCLA. Blumstein explains

and rattlesnakes, against whom they have

a handy thing about marmots: “They have an


address! It’s great, they stay put and you have a

ground squirrels have some immunity to

place to go every day to look at your animals.”

snake venom and are valiant in their actions

(Hyenas, in contrast, can range over an area of

to protect the colony’s babies. When faced

up to a thousand square kilometers, so keeping

with a rattler, they’ll call an alarm to the col-

up with your subject can be a challenge.)

ony, kick dirt at the snake, and flip their tails





repeatedly. They can make their tails hotter,

Smith. She wanted to initiate a study of free-

confusing the snake’s heat receptors and

living wild animals, and she wanted to mentor

warning that they’re ready to stand their

young women scientists. Mills was the perfect

ground. Often the snakes will exhibit defen-

place. “It’s rare that people who are such good

sive reactions and, having lost the element

teachers are also world-class researchers,” says

of surprise, slink away from confrontation.





Blumstein. “Mills is lucky to have her.”

Team Squirrel moves exuberantly, but seriously. Before venturing into the wilds of the park, each student researcher has studied all aspects of their mission. Students

On a fine June day, Smith and Team Squirrel

have become knowledgeable about the eth-

are circling a colony of California ground squir-

ics of live trapping, and making sure squir-

rels in an old walnut orchard at a picnic area

rels don’t stay in traps any longer than

in Briones Regional Park. The squirrels here

necessary. They have become familiar with

are protected from excessive human encroach-

techniques for gathering physical evidence,

ment. There are colonies in slightly differ-

in the form of hair, fecal, and parasite sam-

ent habitats. They live much of their lives in

ples. They have learned to recognize squir-

the open, easily observed. They are relatively

rel predators and to tell a gopher snake from

fearless of humans, so being watched creates

a rattlesnake. (Students wear snake gaiters

minimal disturbance. Like marmots, they have

as a precaution.)


The students have also prepared an etho-

“Squirrels are abundant at Briones,” says

gram, a table of possible behaviors such as

Smith. “Our research focuses on several large

“sand kicking” or “courtship chase,” that

colonies, totalling roughly 100 squirrels each

allows them to systematically record the

season. It’s great to have so many animals

activities of the colony. Team Squirrel pored

involved in the soap opera!” Smith sees oppor-

through the literature to learn what they

tunity for a model long-term study here, and

might expect to see. Armed with binoculars

hopes the project may span decades. Collecting

and a notebook or digital voice recorder,

interlocking life stories is an important aspect

these observers gather an enormous amount

of the work. “It’s fascinating to build up a data set with individuals you’ve known since birth,” she says. “You can see how they interact with others within their social network, and observe them across their whole life span.” The squirrels themselves are lovely. They are brindled with a mantle of lighter hairs over the shoulders like a silver stole,

of information about individual squirrels, their social interactions, and their colony behavior. Smith loves observation. “It allows for a quiet moment where you can sit and just really watch and understand what these animals are doing.” Observation often reveals patterns that raise new questions about the animals’ behavior.

and have elegant white eye-rings. Their large dark eyes survey

To glimpse the team in action, I begin by watching Minnie Vo

the landscape watchfully. With hyenas, Smith was looking at

’15 set out lures for the squirrels. A biology major and pre-med



student, Vo dabs peanut butter on the

studying whether squirrels use scent

treadle in the middle of each wire box

or hearing as their primary method of

trap, just enough to entice a squirrel, and

detecting predators. Vo is examining

places it near squirrel burrows or trails.

levels of a stress hormone in squir-

“We tried buying the generic peanut

rel droppings, a baseline measure-

butter, but that didn’t work,” Vo says. “It

ment that may later be correlated

has to be Skippy.” Vo also lays a trail of

with other factors. (She predicts that

black oil sunflower seeds. On the path of

mature males will have higher levels

deliciousness, squirrels will enter. When

than younger males due to the pres-

they touch the treadle, the door closes.

sure of having to “protect his squirrel mistresses from invaders.”)

Trapped! With nothing else to do, they

At the end of the day, Team Squirrel

go ahead and eat the peanut butter. I trail Kate Lee Newcomb ’14 as she

carries the precious data back to

checks traps. The season’s just begun, but

Smith’s lab at Mills, where there are

she already knows the colony’s neigh-

freezers for samples, chemical hoods

borhoods. Many squirrels have already

for purifications, and microscopes for

been given an identifying mark “nam-

parasite identification. Here’s where

ing” the individual. The dyed marks are

hormone levels are measured and

a bit whimsical—Umbrella, Smiley, Peace

DNA family trees are constructed.

Sign—and enable observers to recog-

Team Squirrel is supported by the

nize individuals on sight. Near a burrow

Jill Barrett Biology Research Program,

under a derelict walnut tree, Newcomb murmurs, “Umbrella lives here.” When she finds a furry captive,

A squirrel takes the bait set by Valeska Muñoz (left); Kate Lee Newcomb and Jenn Smith comb for clues to learn about squirrel parasites (above).

which was established by the parents of the late Jill Barrett ’93, a keen wildlife conservationist. In addition to Team Squirrel, this summer’s Barrett

Newcomb collects the fresh poop from underneath the cage; it will be assayed later for hormones. She

program includes three other research groups: Super Fly, investi-

notes details about the squirrel’s behavior: does it chatter or try

gating synapse development in fruit flies; the Nematode Ninjas,

to escape? Is it bold or shy? Then she carries the squirrel to shade,

identifying odor receptors in nematodes; and the Flower Children,

where Smith fits a tapering canvas bag over the end of the trap.

studying rare plants on serpentine soil in Marin County.

“This is a handling cone,” Smith explains. “They’re calm when they’re in a narrow space.” When Smith opens the end of the trap, the squirrel bolts into the security of the dark cone, wedging itself snugly in the point as

“The students have a really sophisticated research experience,” says Professor Jared Young, who directs the Barrett program at Mills. “It is more like graduate work in the sense that every student has a project that they can take ownership of.”

it might in a burrow. All except for Peace Sign—he’s a squirrel with

Jenn Smith’s many publications give an idea of the theoretical

personality and doesn’t rush into the nice dark bag. He sits up

work that can come out of her field research. Most of her articles

and looks around calmly. Smith blows at him. He doesn’t budge.

appear in journals about animal behavior and ecology, but she

Newcomb stomps her boots. Nothing. Only the sight of a thin

is also lead author on a paper in Current Anthropology about the

stick waved outside the cage gets him to step back until he’s in

evolution of cooperation in mammalian carnivores (like hyenas)

the bag. Finally, Smith weighs the bagged squirrel, then undoes a

and its similarity to early Homonin evolution.

set of Velcro straps so the squirrel’s body can be examined.

That paper links cooperation among carnivores with such

Before the squirrel is released, a few hairs are pulled from its

factors as large brains, reduced sexual dimorphism (males and

rump. The bits of cuticle on the root end contain DNA, which

females being more similar), increased reproductive investment

will be analyzed so that Team Squirrel can build a colony family

(more parental care of fewer babies), and endurance hunting in

tree without taking blood. The squirrel is checked for ectopara-

open habitats. It suggests that a similar look at multiple factors,

sites—fleas and ticks. Some “fleabags” have noticeably more para-

rather than relying on just one (such as tool use, hunting, or

sites. Smith wants to find out why. “It could be an indication of

language), will be useful in analyzing the development of coop-

being really social. We are asking whether parasites represent an

eration among humanity’s ancestors.

evolutionary cost of living in a social group.” This is a question

“It’s so exciting to think about something that happens in a

Kay Singh ’15 will explore as part of extensive research Smith

primate and then inquire whether it also happens in something

plans into parasites and disease transmission, and into the rela-

with a nervous system similar to a squirrel’s. I love investigating

tionships between sociality, stress, and levels of parasitism.

whether you really need a human’s cognitive apparatus in order

“Each student takes a part of the project,” Smith explains. “The goal is to publish a paper based on our findings.” Valeska Muñoz ’14 is constructing the genetic tree and exploring connections between relatedness and how squirrels interact. Newcomb is

to interact in complicated ways, keep track of relationships, and so forth,” Smith says. Sounds like a lifetime of inquiry for Smith and squads of Team Mills biologists.

◆ FA L L 2 0 1 4


Mills women on stage and screen By Jessica Langlois, MFA ’10


n 1981, Kathryn Harrold

and Treat Williams were on the run from Robert Duvall. They were on the set of The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper, one of the many early eighties films Harrold starred in, and one of the many times the young actress found herself causing a stir. “The director would say, ‘Treat, take Kathryn’s hand. Help her do it. Help her.’ So, I was always being pulled along behind, and I just kept saying, ‘You know what? I totally have got this. I can run, I can get on this horse by myself, and I think I can even fight these guys if I

also found the acting profession to be a

and circus arts in Berkeley. In the early

need to,’” Harrold recalls. Eventually, the

way for people to be held accountable to

’70s, she went to New York, where she

director listened, and Harrold considered

one another and to themselves, as well

studied with acting legends Sanford

it one small victory in her 35-year career

as a means of practicing empathy and

Meisner, Ute Hagen, and André Gregory.

as an actress. Throughout her time in

questioning social assumptions. As Carter

But it wasn’t long before she was swept

Hollywood, she almost always worked

says, “Theater creates a space where we’re

from New York’s experimental theater

with male writers, male directors, and

all human together.”

scene on to the silver screen. She was cast

all-male crews, and she often felt called

on the soap The Doctors and, by the late

upon to stand her ground when she was

Theater as therapy

told what a woman would or wouldn’t do.



New York and Los Angeles, appearing

“I was very fierce. I was determined. I felt

Hollywood look—high cheekbones, large

in such popular television shows as The

at the time like a feminist—and I still do

doe eyes, and sculpted ash-blond hair—

Rockford Files and Starsky and Hutch,

today,” Harrold says.

which at one point led her to play the role

whose star, Paul Michael Glaser, she hap-

Along with Elizabeth Carter ’92 and

of Lauren Bacall. Drawn from rural

pened to meet over brunch. This lucky

Anna Ishida ’05, Harrold is among the

Appalachia to the countercultural vibe of

break was “kind of goofy,” but it cata-

many Mills alumnae who have estab-

the San Francisco Bay Area, with its flower

pulted her career forward, says Harrold.

lished careers in acting, and who have

children and Vietnam War protests,

She began to get leads in feature films

found theater and film to be vital ven-

Harrold majored in literature and dra-

and TV movies, though the atmosphere

ues for women to explore emotions they

matic arts at Mills while studying mime

of a movie set was a far cry from the

might otherwise suppress. They have

in San Francisco, movement at Stanford,

camaraderie she’d felt on the small New






’70s, she was dividing her time between a

York stage. In Hollywood, she noticed young actresses coming out of the dressing rooms of male stars or giving them naked pictures of themselves. “It was hard for women at that time. There was so much sexism, and always a million more roles for men,” says Harrold, whose soft-spoken demeanor covers an inner strength. She turned her disappointment and anger at the inequality she witnessed daily into a steely resolve—not only would she make it in Hollywood, she would represent strong women on camera. Over the course of her career, Harrold has mostly played smart, professional women, but, paradoxically, those women were almost always in the shadow of a leading man. She’s been Steve McQueen’s schoolteacher girlfriend (in The Hunter, McQueens’s final film); the defected mobster sweetheart to Arnold

Kathryn Harrold ’72 On the lam in The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper, 1981;  at her office in Brentwood today;   as defense lawyer Christina LeKatzis in I’ll Fly Away, 1991.

Schwarzenegger’s FBI agent; and the constantly jilted bank executive girlfriend of Albert Brooks. When asked how she felt

at Mills, says that the show was a

about perennially deferring to a male star,

benchmark for her as an African-

Harrold says with a dry wit, “It depended

American actor.

on whether or not they were good kiss-

Though Harrold was still playing

ers!” More seriously, she says that she

a love interest, the role was the favorite

Los Angeles. As Harrold was entering her

got tired of talk show hosts posing more

part of her career. “I remembered my

50s, both the opportunities and the plea-

questions about the men she worked

mother very well during that period, so I

sure of acting started to fade. “My forte

with than about her own experience in

had a lot to draw upon—the smoking, the

was the long arc, the subtle little-by-little

the films.

hairdo, the idea of a girdle,” Harrold says.

revelation,” Harrold says. “But in the last

While her acting always got excellent

When I’ll Fly Away was canceled after

decade of my acting career I played a lot

reviews, critics panned most of her mov-

three seasons, Harrold made a complete

of moms that were jokes. I didn’t like any

ies and TV shows, and her career hit a

turnaround with her role as a journalist

of those parts.”

plateau. In 1986, the Los Angeles Times

and Gary Shandling’s ex-wife/girlfriend,

She did read for the part of a therapist

called her “the actress many critics pre-

Francine Sanders, in the satirical com-

on The Sopranos, written expressly for her

dicted would become a movie queen but

edy The Larry Sanders Show. The real-

by former I’ll Fly Away head writer David

who, through no fault of her own, usually

ity-style spoof on late night talk shows

Chase; she later found out she didn’t get

wound up as a lady in waiting.”

had razor-sharp writing interlaced with

the role because she was too much like

Then, in 1991, Harrold landed the role

improvisation. Harrold realized she was

a real therapist. Fittingly, Harrold was

of a lifetime. She was cast as Christina

part of something good, and she also

enrolled in graduate school studying psy-

LeKatzis, a defense lawyer in the critically

finally found well-deserved acclaim. The

chology at the time.

acclaimed 1960s-era civil rights televi-

Washington Post called I’ll Fly Away and

Now, as a licensed marriage and fam-

sion drama I’ll Fly Away. The ground-

The Larry Sanders Show “two high-caliber

ily therapist, she serves mostly actors,

breaking show approached racial topics

shows” for Harrold, and in these roles she

writers, and other artists. Her peaceful

from complex perspectives, telling the

proved she was both a seasoned dramatic

Brentwood office is bathed in sunlight

parallel stories of a white district attorney

actress and a skilled comedienne. “I did

and decorated with statues of the Buddha.

and his African-American housekeeper.

my best work, and I was surrounded by

In this newest role, her experience as an

In addition to winning multiple Emmys

people who were doing their best work,”

actor informs her work. “In ancient times,

and Golden Globes, the show won four

Harrold says.

theater was used in the same way that we

NAACP Image awards and a Humanitas

After The Larry Sanders Show, Harrold’s

use therapy nowadays, for people to sit in

Prize, awarded to film and television that

career and life took another turn. She

a group and work through some emotion

promote human dignity. Elizabeth Carter,

married (and later divorced), had a

or some event,” Harrold says.

who watched I’ll Fly Away while she was

daughter, and settled permanently in

As a young actress, Harrold channeled FA L L 2 0 1 4


her anger and frustration over inequal-

dance a dance outta time...” she recites

present a rich opportunity for actors and

ity for women into a motivation to suc-

rhythmically, remembering all the pauses,

students, particularly students of color, to

ceed; now she’s helping her clients do

which words to whisper and which to

express their emotions and to recognize

the same. “As a therapist I think anger is


commonalities of human experience,”

a wonderful emotion. Rage is a problem,

“Theater was a place where it was OK

but anger is OK. It’s a valid feeling, even

to be really, really sad. It was OK to be

she says. Sometimes,




though women are often judged horren-

angry. It was OK to be jealous or devi-

across backstage. Early in her career, while

dously for expressing it,” she says.

ous—all of those things that I, as the good

preparing for The Merchant of Venice, a

acceptable black girl, wasn’t otherwise

play written 400 years ago and noted for

allowed to be,” Carter says.

its presentation of the Jewish character

Taking off the mask Growing up as one of the few African-

The daughter of a college professor

Shylock, Carter found herself face to face

American students in her high school in

and an elementary school teacher, Carter

with very modern, and very personal, con-

1980s Eugene, Oregon, Elizabeth Carter

grew up enchanted with words. The dic-

cerns about stereotyping. While apprentic-

’92 felt pressure to be nice and polite,

tionary was a frequent guest at the din-

ing at the California Shakespeare Festival

both at home and at school. For her, the

ner table, and Carter devoured the poetry

(now the California Shakespeare Theatre),

primary draw of the stage was as a place

of Elizabeth Bishop, Nikki Giovanni, and

she was cast as a maid in a 1930s era adap-

to let out her anger.

May Sarton. At 14, a favorite aunt took her

tation of that play.

“My mask was fantastic,” says Carter,

to see the ’60s-era musical review Beehive.

“I went through all the costume fit-

whose perfect posture and wide smile

Carter recognized one of the black

tings, then one day they wanted me to put

convey a comfortable confidence. In the

actresses from a then-current television

this little doily on my head. All of a sud-

Laurel District home she shares with her

commercial. “I thought, ‘This woman was

den I had a bit of a panic attack. I didn’t

wife, two-year-old son, and a large, effu-

real.’ She was accessible. I could see myself

want to wear that doily!” In that moment,

sive dog, she describes how her high

up there; I could do that,” she recalls.

school drama teacher recognized her

Carter’s love of poetry—and a year

need for an outlet, assigning her mono-

abroad in London during her time

logues from bold plays like Ntozake

at Mills—forged a strong attach-

Shange’s For Colored Girls. Carter tosses

ment to Shakespeare, which she

her ringlet curls and snaps her fingers as

now teaches, along with voice, at

she works out the words to the choreo-

Ruth Asawa San Francisco School

poem she performed decades ago: “i lived

of the Arts. “The Bard’s high-stakes

wit myths & music waz my ol man & i cd

plots and no-holds-barred dialogue

Elizabeth Carter ’92 As Helen in Wittenberg at Berkeley’s Aurora Theater;  as herself;  playing Rose in August Wilson’s Fences.



she’d flashed back to the long history of African-American women in Hollywood being portrayed as the subservient help. Carter pulls out a thick photo album and, flips to her picture in the costume; she is embracing fellow cast members, but with eyebrows knit and a forced smile. She wore the doily and played the part but, from then on, Carter knew she would fight for roles where she wasn’t pigeonholed as an African-American woman or perpetuating dated stereotypes. “I’ve played every Shakespeare country wench,” Carter recalls with a laugh. “I’m great at it, but, in the end, it’s not OK if black women only get to play the country wench. If she also gets to play the queen or the villain, that’s alright.” She’s stuck to her convictions, having since played such deeply nuanced characters as a novice nun in Agnes of God, a Walmart employee and hotel worker in Nickel and Dimed, and the Eternal Feminine in Wittenberg. But Carter is most proud of her roles that have spoken specifically to black

Anna Ishida in Beardo

women’s experiences. In the 20 years she’s been acting in the Bay Area, one of Carter’s proudest moments was play-

was a “heart” actor, and could make any-

and Disney films, remembers first becom-

ing Rose in August Wilson’s Fences.

one like her onstage, something she con-

ing interested in theater and music in sec-

The Pulitzer Prize–winning play deeply

nects back to her childhood of trying hard

ond grade, when listening to a tape of Les

explores the domestic, urban African-

to be accepted by her peers. Now she uses

Misérables at a friend’s house. She rattles

American experience in 1950s Pittsburg.

that skill to create emotional connections

off the lyrics to “On my own,” describing

After the show, women from the audience

between the audience, her characters,

how she became fascinated by the con-

flocked to meet Carter—either sharing

and herself. She’s helping people develop

flicting motivations of the musical’s young

their own experience of being a “Rose”

empathy for one another, something she

women characters. When Ishida started

or expressing gratitude at being able to

hopes they will take with them after the

belting out arias from Phantom of the

experience it through her performance.

curtain closes.

Opera, her mother realized she had real

This coming February, she will appear

talent and enrolled her in voice lessons.

in Marin Theater’s production of The

Finding a voice

Convert, a play set in 1896 South Africa.

For Anna Ishida ’05, the quest for shared

Pacific Conservatory for Performing Arts,


experience is one of the greatest goals of

which gave her intensive training in act-

ship with her audience only confirmed

the theater, particularly in the 21st cen-

ing, movement, and dance, before transfer-

for Carter the purpose of theater as not

tury. “Theater demands an accountability

ring to Mills and earning a BA in English.

only entertainment, but as a venue for

to the human experience,” Ishida says

Like Harrold and Carter, Ishida found

social justice and a way to build a bridge

over coffee and croissants at a sidewalk

the study of literature to be just as impor-



café near Lake Merritt. Theater creates an

tant in the development of her craft as

als. “Actors are always required to put

environment in which both actors and

acting workshops. One of her favorite

themselves in the position of whatever

audience members learn to acknowledge

classes was Kirsten Saxton’s Eighteenth

character they’re playing, so even if their

that everything one does affects someone

Century Novel, in which students regu-

character is completely cruel or manipu-

else, she explains. “You’re not just pas-

larly launched into critical analysis of

lative, they have to find where that per-

sively watching, then changing the chan-


son’s humanness is and why they’re

nel or turning it off,” says Ishida. “The

Austen’s Emma to Sigourney Weaver’s

doing what they’re doing. You cannot

way people live today, we’re losing that

role in Alien. “There was always a grace-

judge them,” she says.

sense of engagement.”

ful, intelligent presentation of other sides






A casting director once told Carter she

Ishida, who grew up watching Miyazaki

After high school, Ishida attended the




at Mills that really informs my approach. I FA L L 2 0 1 4


learned to not just take what’s fed to me,”

Years of Baggage, which premiered in

a little Asian girl.” But, when she played

Ishida says.

Berkeley, played off-Broadway in New

French anarchist feminist Louise Michel

Ishida was determined not to take

York, and was featured in the Edinburgh

in The Red Virgin last year, Ishida began

what casting directors were feeding her,

Fringe Festival, she got to exercise her

exploring a different persona. That char-

either. Early on, major companies were

most powerful instrument, her voice.

acter, a leader of the Paris Commune of

only contacting her for shows that called

Music, she believes, is one of the most

1871, exhibits both grit and tenderness.

for Asian characters, like Snow Falling

direct ways to connect with a theater

“She fought on the front lines with a rifle

on Cedars and Miss Saigon; in one email

audience. “Songs are for expressing what

and would kill people. But, at the same

she was even asked to bring all her Asian

cannot be expressed in mere words—you

time, she would also drag injured enemy

friends to the audition. She found that

have to sing about it,” says Ishida. “It’s

soldiers to safety,” Ishida says, speaking

smaller independent stages were more

incredibly powerful to have something

swiftly, with a focused gaze. With that

likely to consider her for roles based on

that makes you feel so alive and can

role, Ishida realized she didn’t have to

her talent as a singer, dancer, and actor,

really impact people.”

limit herself only to playing angry gods.

rather than on her physical appearance

A recent profile in the San Francisco

When Ishida got a call from A.C.T.—

as a petite Asian woman. So, for 13 years,

Bay Guardian noted Ishida’s tendency

the top-tier San Francisco theater com-

Ishida became a self-declared “downtown

to play “angry god queen” characters,

pany with which Mills collaborates for its

theater actor”—working prolifically within

like Tamora, Queen of the Goths, in

theater studies major—she was ready to

the fertile arena of the Bay Area’s smaller,

Titus Andronicus at Impact Theater and

accept the opportunity. She was cast as

independent theaters rather than paying

Tsarista in Beardo, an alternate take on

an understudy in the intense and humor-

high union dues for the chance at roles

the Rasputin story, at Shotgun Players.

ous Venus in Fur and the musical epic The

in larger theaters. The choice brought her

Ishida, whose face is framed by short hair

Orphan of Zhao. Ishida wryly acknowl-

into contact with a rich network of artists

tousled into soft spikes, says that what-

edges the irony of her decision to accept

and gave her the chance to premiere sev-

ever she’s going through personally is

an Asian character, but she loved Zhao’s

eral original productions.

reflected in the pieces she takes on; with

music and story (and the relatively sub-

these roles, her declaration was, “I am not

stantial paycheck didn’t hurt, either).

In the rock opera Beowulf: A Thousand

Next season, she will be part of the regular cast in A.C.T.’s production of Mr. Burns, a post-apocalyptic retelling of an episode of The Simpsons. The edgy, modern role proves that Ishida doesn’t have to leave her artistic values behind to play on the big stage. Regardless of the venue—small stage, large stage, or screen (Ishida recently starred in her first independent feature film, I Am a Ghost, a fresh take on the classic horror genre)—Ishida says she wants to make “big art.” That can mean transcendent songs, massive line loads, outrageous costumes and set design, or just a great story with heavy feelings and rich characters. Though “big art” may mean something different to Ishida, Carter, and Harrold, they all value being able to step into different realities and expand their knowl-

Anna Ishida ’05

edge of humanity and the world with

 In The Salt Plays: Of The Earth at Berkeley’s Shotgun Players theater in 2010;

ing Paris’s 19th-century anarchists, reliv-

as herself in Oakland.

each performance. Whether it’s researching the Civil Rights movement in Atlanta, or living as a minimum wage worker in middle America for the run of a show, each role is like a two-month college course. Carter says, “Theater is a place where you never stop learning.”



In Memoriam Notices of death received before June 30, 2014 To submit listings, please contact or 510.430.2123

Alumnae Florence Sheldon Gillespie ’35, April 4, in Portland, Oregon. Alice Blossom Schmidt ’39, May 2, in Walnut Creek, California. A longtime volunteer for the Mount Diablo Rehabilitation Center, she was a member of the Kiwanis Club and was noted for her eclectic art work. She is survived by three children and six grandchildren. Barbara Bishop Ward ’40, June 5, in Seattle. She enjoyed foreign vacations, served on the Advisory Board of the Salvation Army, and volunteered with several health-oriented organizations. She is survived by two children. Luraine Collins Tansey, MA ’41, June 18, in Bristol, Rhode Island. She was an accomplished violinist and artist, but is best known for her work in creating the first universal slide classification system. Developed with computer indexing in mind, the system is still in use at many university libraries. A founding member and later president of the Art Libraries Society, she taught at San Jose City and Evergreen Colleges for several decades and assisted her husband, Richard Tansey, in producing many editions of Gardner’s Art Through the Ages. She is survived by four sons and five grandchildren. Patricia Boadway Cox ’43, MA ’44, February 15, in Palos Verdes, California. After her husband retired from the Navy, she returned to her art pursuits, working in watercolor, oil, collage, and assemblage. She served as a juror for the National Watercolor Society and on the board of the Los Angeles Art Association. Survivors include three sons, five grandchildren, and her cousin, Lorraine McAdam Patten ’54. Betty Brigham Daly ’43, March 30, in Ventura, California. She enjoyed entertaining, social events, and bridge and book clubs. She is survived by three children and four grandsons. Anna May Leong Duncan ’43, June 14, in Palo Alto, California. A longtime resident of Atherton, she was an active member of the Menlo Park Kiwanis Club and the US Figure Skating Association, and a devoted fan of Stanford football and women’s basketball. Survivors include four children, including Robin Duncan ’73, and her niece Stephanie Leong ’78. Joyce Kelly McKay ’43, April 14, in Port Townsend, Washington. She was editor of the Mills Weekly in her junior and senior years, and was a resident of Oakland and Grass Valley, California, for most of her life. She is survived by six children and 12 grandchildren, including Katherine Paisley ’06. Virginia Young Scarlett, MA ’43, May 8, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She was an expert gardener and needleworker, and continued to study and learn throughout her life. She is survived by four daughters and six grandchildren.

Beryl Blackshear Walter ’43, April 22, in Silverdale, Washington. She was a member of Haili Congregational Church in Hilo and First Presbyterian Church of Port Townsend, Washington. She is survived by four sons and 11 grandchildren. Allison Cook Cutler ’44, May 10, in Newport News, Virginia. She was a founding member of the Warwick Garden Club, was active in the Presbyterian Church, and volunteered at Riverside Hospital. She is survived by three children and five grandchildren. Patricia Hook Groves ’44, January 15, in Fort Belvoir, Virginia. She is survived by four children and 10 grandchildren. Barbara Kelly Merritt ’44, July 3, 2013, in Montecito, California. She was president of Junior League and the Santa Barbara Chapter of the National Charity League, as well as a trustee or board member of numerous other civic and charitable organizations. She is survived by two daughters and eight grandchildren. Kay Mallory Apley ’45, May 16, in Salem, Oregon. She was a reporter and columnist for the Statesman-Journal newspaper and was involved with Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church and as a volunteer at Salem Hospital. Survivors include her daughter and four grandchildren. Sally Pickrell Jones ’45, January 12, 2013, in Riverview Plaza, Florida. Dorothy Vollmer Billingsley ’47, April 20, in Hemet, California. She earned a master’s degree in psychology and worked as a teacher then, later, as an administrator in early childhood development and Head Start. After retiring, she and her husband became investment brokers and enjoyed travel and boating. She is survived by her husband, Dick; seven children; and 16 grandchildren. Frances Taylor Catlett Crawford, MA ’47, April 22, in San Leandro, California. One of the first black social workers in San Francisco, she also taught at California State University Sacramento. She took up painting in her 50s and within 10 years had a piece in a group show at the Oakland Museum, and exhibited later at galleries in San Francisco and Oakland. Survivors include a son, four grandchildren, and her great niece, Lisa Chapman Mills ’87. Ruth Martin Gruenstein ’47, April 19, in Sarasota, Florida. She was a music teacher and organist in Tacoma, Washington, before relocating to Sarasota, where she enjoyed attending the opera, symphony, and arts events. She is survived by three children and eight grandchildren. Myrtle “Pat” Padgett Rabe, MA ’48, May 21, in Tucson. She served with the US Army in Europe during World War II, taught music and sixth grade in the Phoenix public schools, and had season tickets to the opera and symphony. She is survived by three children and seven grandchildren. Barbara Becker Behel ’49, April 26, in Scottsdale, Arizona. A resident and community volunteer in Saratoga, California, for many years, she enjoyed golf and tennis. Survivors include three children and six grandchildren.

FA L L 2 0 1 4


Gifts in Memory of Beverley Hine Burnett ’50, February 18, in Issaquah, Washington.

Received March 1–May 31, 2014

Sally Pierce Hokanson ’50, April 15, in Tacoma, Washington. A gifted gardener and voracious reader, she was associate editor of the society page of the Tacoma New Tribune and an enthusiastic supporter of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. She is survived by her husband, Fred; a daughter; and a granddaughter.

Annis Aiyar by her husband, Venkatram Aiyar

Diane Rawlings Umipeg ’51, July 15, 2013, in Federal Way, Washington. Violet Genovali Boody ’52, May 2, in Moraga, California. An Oakland native, she is survived by her son, Michael; her daughter, Robin Boody Galguera, MA ’89, MFA ’91; and three grandchildren.

Jeanne Aurel-Schneider ’51, P ’74, by Pamela Moore Bondelie ’51 Laura Balas, MA ’92, by Helen Hovdesven Marilyn Carlson Baldwin ’55 by Mary Johnson Basye ’51, P ’81 Timanna Bennett ’02 by Marcia Randall ’02 Dave Brubeck ’46 by Jeannine Sova Jones ’57 North Burn by his daughter, Killara Burn ’73

Lowell Vye Jensen ’53, September 19, 2013, in Seattle.

Martin Butler, P ’86, ’90, GP ’94, by his daughter, Bernadette Butler ’86

Patricia Sieff Wennerholm ’53, April 14, in Greensboro, Georgia. She volunteered for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Atlanta Center for the Puppetry Arts. She is survived by three children and seven grandchildren.

Virgil Calonico by his daughter, Adrianne Calonico Rose ’74

Carole Fisher Chantal ’55, March 18, 2013, in Magalia, California. She taught piano and harp, and was an active member of the United Methodist Church of Paradise, Eastern Star, and University Women. She is survived by two daughters and four grandchildren. Sally Weinstock Fabian ’55, July 23, 2013, in San Marcos, California. Jane Quilter Kennedy ’60, March 30, in San Francisco. The child of a navy admiral, she traveled widely and spent each summer in Italy. She taught English at Galileo High School, served on the board of KQED television, supported the San Francisco Symphony, and was a dedicated swimmer and progressive activist. Survivors include a daughter and three grandchildren. Sally Kettering Etterbeek ’63, May 29, in Lincoln, California. Carlos Villa, MFA ’63, March 23, 2013, in San Francisco. A respected artist and activist, he taught at the San Francisco Art Institute since 1969. His work incorporated unusual materials in a variety of formats to explore minority histories and identity politics; he also initiated ambitious exhibition programs promoting women and artists of color. He is survived by his wife, Mary Valledor; a daughter; and a stepson. Katherine Conlee Atwood ’64, May 24, in Ashland, Oregon. She was the author of ten published works, often illustrated with her own drawings, documenting the cultural history of southern Oregon. She was honored by the Historic Preservation League of Oregon and the Southern Oregon Historical Society for her lifelong contributions to the field of historic preservation. She is survived by her husband, David, and several nieces and nephews. Janet Majer Gilpatrick ’64, April 20, in Spokane, Washington. She was the top Spokane aide to the late Rep. Thomas Foley, who became Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1990; an outspoken advocate for feminism and the women’s movement; and one of the initial organizers of Spokane’s Rape Crisis Network. She is survived by two daughters and three granddaughters. MaryAnn Hunter McEachern ’71, May 6, in Altadena, California. She had a long career in fundraising for educational institutions. Lori Rupert Duncan ’73, May 14, in Berkeley, California. A graduate of the UC Hastings College of Law, in retirement she enjoyed travel, antiquing, reading, and the arts. She is survived by two daughters and six grandchildren.



Carol Barkstrom Carney ’53 by Susan Wendel Black ’53, Janet Carney, Virginia Dobbins Chappelle ’53, Barbara McAloney, Mary Carver Weaver ’53 Sydney Nicoll Christensen ’64 by Elizabeth Able Major ’64 Mary Lou Stueck Cunningham ’51 by Pamela Moore Bondelie ’51 Martha Dayley ’07 by Sarah Tannehill ’07 Evelyn “Peg” Deane ’41 by Elaine Bowe Johnson ’62 Paul Desmond by Jeannine Sova Jones ’57 Wendy Engebretson ’62 by William Beadie Donald Fiene by his daughter, Karen Fiene Mary Flaith, P ’80, MBA ’03, by Heather Summers ’80 Kay Fraser Gilliland ’50 by Laura Cernohlavek ’84 Denison Glass ’83 by Lisa Gleaton ’85

Barbara Jamison ’80, MFA ’88, April 7, in El Cerrito, California. She had an extensive career as a journalist, most often chronicling Latin America’s rough political and social evolution, and also worked as a literary translator and court interpreter. She published a book of short stories and was an advocate for the rights of mental health patients. Survivors include a daughter and two brothers. Christopher Maher, MFA ’83, May 25, in West Hollywood, California. A graduate of Yale University, he worked as a translator in a San Francisco hotel before relocating to Los Angeles, where he was active in the arts. Survivors include three siblings and many nieces and nephews. Jaime Wynn ’00, June 13, in San Francisco. She spent many years at Precita Eyes, a mural center in San Francisco, and her inspiring murals can be found throughout the Bay Area, as well as in Israel and St. Petersburg. She also led the artists fellowship at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education in New York. She is survived by her parents, Richard Wynn and Sandra Cohen-Wynn, a brother, and a sister.

Spouses and Family Oreste Bevilacqua, husband of Anne Hopper Bevilacqua ’77, April 9, in Oakland, California.

Margaret Harris by her daughter, Kathleen Harris Kelly ’66

Elizabeth Shepherd Murray ’33 by Elizabeth Bryant Miles ’34

Jean Logan Henderson ’34 by Elizabeth Bryant Miles ’34

Virginia Gertmenian Nahigian ’32 by Anne Eagleton

Katherine “Kate” Jefferson by her mother, Elizabeth Elston ’57

Mary Hensler Neiswonger ’64 by Elizabeth Able Major ’64

Meenakshi Jemboonath by her son, Venkatram Aiyar

Alison “Dee” Noller Owens ’58 by her husband, Jarvis Owens

Jane Quilter Kennedy ’60 by Darla Evans Bastoni ’60

Hugh and Mary Polson by their daughter, Sharon Polson Harris ’64

Mary Ann Childers Kinkead ’63 by Barbara Goldblatt Becker ’63, Bette Krause Spagel ’63, P ’79

Elizabeth Pope ’58 by Elaine Bowe Johnson ’62, Christine Robb ’67

Charles Larsen by Elizabeth Terhune ’90 Edward LeFevour, P ’90, by Leslie Woodhouse ’90 MaryAnn “Hunter” MacEachern ’71 by Nancy York ’71 Jenny Makofsky ’91 by Lisa Bach ’90 Linda Rooney Markstein ’61 by Denise Libarle McCarthy ’61 Marilyn Mary by Susan Magnus, MFA ’92

Nan Senior Robinson ’52 by Geraldine Clark ’52 Eleanor Derby Ross ’41 by her niece, Jill Derby Agnes Rykken by Terry Hove ’76 Anne Sherrill by Elizabeth Terhune ’90 Rodney Skjonsby by his daughter, Kristen Skjonsby ’11 Cecile Baker Smith, MA ’60, by her husband, Jesse Smith

Lydia Jarecki McCain by her daughter, Elizabeth Jarecki Chilcott ’63

Donald Spagel, P ’79, husband of Bette Krause Spagel ’63, by Marion Lamson Thomas ’63

Viola McGregor by her great-granddaughter, Dametra Williams ’10

Elizabeth Stevens Einfeld ’74 by Holly Hayes ’74

Joyce Kelly McKay ’43 by Helen Metz Lore ’43

Anna Stribling Taylor ’34 by Elizabeth Bryant Miles ’34

Antonio Moreno by his daughter-in-law, Arlene Quiogue ’91

Helen Wall Thompson ’26 by Nancy Thompson Price ’61

Anna Murch by Sally Mayock Hartley ’48, Maryellen Cattani Herringer, Sandra Lenoski ’14, Leah Levy, Susan Magnus, MFA ’92, Jody Pinto, Marion Ross ’44, Josephine Torring

Mae Louise Ford Town ’34 by Elizabeth Bryant Miles ’34 Evelyn Ross Urrere, P ’75, by Nancy Fardelius Fees ’71 Margariete Montague Wheeler ’60 by Kathryn Mallett Chadwick ’60

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

Clarence Buyer Coleman, father of Barbara Coleman Fray ’68 and Elinor Coleman ’71, April 23, in Oakland, California.

Frederick March, father of Jennifer March Soloway, MFA ’05, March 28, 2013, in Woodland, California.

Pamela Coplin, daughter of Barbara Johnson Lewis ’56, May 16, in Leander, Texas.

Evan Paul Mandeson, twin brother of Trouble Gouch Mandeson ’03, May 4, in Palo Alto, California.

Arthur Croci, husband of Pamela Cady Croci ’74, August 16, 2013, in Naples, Florida.

Molly McClelland Bloomfield, sister of Sue McClelland ’56, November 24, 2013, in Portland, Oregon.

Mary Jane Howe Flaith, mother of Rachel A. Flaith ’80, MBA ’06, in December, in Glenside, Pennsylvania.

James Peltier, husband of Margie Robertson Peltier ’47, February 4, in Coronado, California.

James Howlett, husband of Diane Sanders Howlett ’67, June 7, in Oakland, California.

Joseph Rorke, father of Shawn Rorke-Davis ’70, June 4, 2013, in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Katherine Jefferson, daughter of Elizabeth M. Elston ’57, January 6, in Portland, Oregon.

Marjorie Scott, mother of Jane A. Y. Scott ’78, February 10, in Mill Valley, California.

Edward Koeppe, husband of Karen Freye Koeppe ’75, April 19, in Beverly Hills, California.

Donald R. Spagel, husband of Bette Krause Spagel ’63, April 10, in Oakland, California.

Raymond W. Lavin, husband of Nina Barwell Lavin ’57, December 27, 2013, in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

Norman Tiber, husband of Anne G. Tiber ’58, March 28, in Los Osos, California.

John MacDonald, father of Susanne MacDonald ’89, August 1, 2013, in Sandwich, Massachusetts.

Charles Warren, father of Marielle Warren ’94, October 31, 2013, in Enfield, New Hampshire.

FA L L 2 0 1 4



I F T E E N A LU M NA E VOLU N T E E R S took action with a day of service at the Alameda County Food Bank on June 14, sort-

ing and boxing fresh produce and non-perishable food. One in six Alameda County residents are served by the food bank, and volunteers are a vital part of the effort to help those in need. “My husband and I like to volunteer for local organizations whose work we sup-

port,” said Cristina Campbell ’70. “I was impressed at the scale of the operation, and it was fun to chat with fellow volunteers, who were all folks I’d never met before. There was a sense of accomplishment at the end of our shift. We bagged up many heads of cabbage!” A few weeks earlier, a hardy group of Mills folks gathered early on a Saturday to help staff at the Oakland Zoo with a large landscaping project. Outfitted for a few hours of manual labor, they dug and weeded, with the added perk of spending the rest of the day enjoying the zoo. “It was really memorable to come together with other alumnae and students to represent Mills in giving back to our community,” says Sannie Yue, MA ’11, pictured at left with her daughter, Esther. “Seeing the


results of our work was so gratifying.” Adds Esther: “Mom was really working it. You should see how she used the shovel to scoop the mulch!”


To learn about future service events or to suggest an opportunity—either in the Bay Area or in a location with an active Mills alumnae club—contact the Office of Alumnae Relations, or 510.430.2123. 24


Deck yourself with the Hall! This fabulous silk scarf, designed exclusively for the Alumnae Association of Mills College by Professor Emerita Hung Liu, is available for purchase in two sizes. By the artist’s request, this is a limited edition item; these scarves will be printed once and never again. 36” square: $95.00 42” square: $150.00 These prices include tax. For delivery within the US, please add a $5.00 shipping fee (for one or two scarves). Shipment outside the US may incur a higher charge. To purchase, please send payments to: AAMC 5000 MacArthur Blvd., MB #86 Oakland, CA 94613 For more information, please contact Lesli MacNeil, or 510.430.2110. Limited edition scarf, designed by Professor Emerita Hung Liu

ALUMNAE TR AVEL 2015 Undiscovered Italy: Apulia April 28–May 6, 2015 This enchanting region of sunny southern Italy boasts picture-postcard views, unique architecture, and savory traditional foods. The trip includes informative Alumni Campus Abroad educational programs. Trans-Atlantic Cruise May 4 – 16, 2015 Cruise in style from New York to London on a classic journey across the Atlantic Ocean. Enjoy onboard activities and port calls in Canada, Ireland, and England. China and the Yangtze River May 18–June 1, 2015 The famed Terra Cotta Warriors, the bustling cities of Beijing and Shanghai, and a three-night cruise along the fabled Yangtze River highlight this comprehensive journey. Jewels of Antiquity: from Venice to Nice May 19–June 4, 2015 Explore the landmark treasures of Italy, Croatia, Greece, and the French Riviera on this 13-night cruise enriched with a lecture series by noted scholars. See the AAMC travel website at for full itineraries of these and other upcoming trips. For reservations or additional information, call the Alumnae Association of Mills College at 510.430.2110 or email

From top: Beijing Summer Palace, Terra Cotta Army, London Tower Bridge

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)

(re)Creating Womanhood


An authors’ panel in celebration of the 135th anniversary of the Alumnae Association of Mills College

Sunday, October 12, Littlefield Concert Hall, Mills College Reception, 2:00 pm Panel, 3:30 pm, with a book signing to follow In a conversation facilitated by Ajuan Mance, professor of English at Mills College, four bestselling authors discuss the female characters in their novels and the ways their works reimagine, redefine, and reinterpret the very notions of what womanhood is.

Ajuan Mance

Panelists include Lalita Tademy: Cane River, Red River, and Citizen’s Creek Yiyun Li: Kinder Than Solitude and The Vagrants Anchee Min: Red Azalea, The Last Empress, and The Cooked Seed Susan Vreeland: Lisette’s List, Clara and Mr. Tiffany, Girl in Hyacinth Blue, and many others   Admission, including champagne reception with the authors/$135   Panel only/$35   Students/$18 Advance tickets available online at or at Reinhardt Alumnae House. Payments at the door must be paid by cash or check (payable to AAMC). For more information, contact 510.430.2110 or Clockwise from top: Lalita Tademy, photo by Chris Hardy; Yiyun Li, photo by Randi Lynn Beach; Anchee Min; Susan Vreeland

Presented by the AAMC Board of Governors Founded in 1879, the AAMC is an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. We are an inclusive community that promotes the interests of Mills alumnae by electing representatives to the Mills College Board of Trustees, linking students and alumnae, co-sponsoring events with the College, helping plan Reunion, offering travel programs, and celebrating the many achievements of Mills alumnae.

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