Mills Quarterly, Spring 2016

Page 1


   O f b ones and b irds      A L U M N A T R U S T E E E L E C T I O N S

Mills Quarterly Spring 2016

Maria Muto Waterman ’79

Photo by Dana Davis

Program Coordinator at the Orinda Association Donor to the Mills College Annual Fund

“My dollars have a meaningful impact at Mills, and it was a pleasure to make my gift to the College over the phone with the help of a student caller. Hearing about her experiences reinforced my love of Mills and reminded me of how I benefited from the nurturing environment there.” — Maria Join Maria and other alumnae by contributing to the College every year. Your gift—no matter the size—strengthens Mills’ national reputation for outstanding programs and faculty, and sends a message about how much you value your Mills education.

Show how much Mills means to you. Make your gift today. 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 2

Spring 2016 Resetting the AAMC-College partnership The president of the Alumnae Association of Mills College discusses the important role alumnae play in shaping the life of the College—and how that role may evolve in the months to come.


Final projects: pulling down barriers, updating the curriculum As President Alecia DeCoudreaux nears the end of her tenure, efforts continue to create a relevant curriculum, ensure access to education, and engage alumnae ever more deeply in building a strong future for Mills.


Creature features by Linda Schmidt A look at the origins, care, and uses of the fascinating collection of specimens in the Mills biology department.

12 Filmmaking from the other side of the boat by Dawn Cunningham ’85 From pirates to pornographers, documentary filmmaker Meg Smaker ’12 seeks out unorthodox perspectives to help make sense of the world.

14 Elect your alumna trustee Vote for your representative on the Mills College Board of Trustees and the AAMC Board of Governors. See the ballot on the inside back cover.

24 A portal to the past A historic photo album preserves the impressions of a campus visitor in 1885.

Departments 4

Mills Matters

16 Class Notes 22 In Memoriam

On the cover: “Vista through the acacias is taken from Prospect Hill and shows the high hills back of the College—and ample range for exercise and scientific collections,” wrote Reverend Rodney Tabor when he photographed this image of the campus well over a century ago. Learn more on page 24. Photo digitization courtesy Vince Beiderbecke, California State Library.

A Message from the AAMC President

Resetting the AAMC-College partnership By Lucy Do ’75


ow can alumnae play a more

Among these princi-

substantive and strategic role

ples are commitments

in the life of the campus—and

to support Mills’ mis-

in shaping the College’s future? Ever since I began my three-year term

sion as a liberal arts college



as president of the Alumnae Association

to value the voice of

of Mills College (AAMC) in July 2013, this

our alumnae in all

question keeps coming up in discussions

institutional matters,

with our Board of Governors, alumnae


volunteers, and active members of our

alumnae interactions,

branches and clubs across the coun-

and to build stronger

try. Many feel that the Memorandum


of Agreement (MOA) that the AAMC

and services.




and College signed in 2007 has left our

Following the summit, we developed a

graduates with too few opportunities for

process for redefining the AAMC-College

engagement with the College. Others

partnership. In brief, that process con-

If you have not received an email

have found ways to play significant

sists of these steps:

inviting your input on the principles to

roles—in areas ranging from fundraising

1. A working group, chaired by AAMC

be included in the compact, it’s probably

to mentoring students—by working with

Vice President Marge Nicholson, MA ’96,

because we don’t have an email address

the AAMC and the College’s alumnae

is continuing to develop the key princi-

for you in our records. But you can read

relations and development staff.

ples for the future of our partnership.

more about the process—including a full

President DeCoudreaux and I share a

2. The working group has already

report on the Alumnae Summit—and

vision of a stronger partnership between

invited all alumnae to give input on

share your thoughts by logging into

the College and the AAMC that will

these principles through an online sur-

this AAMC web page within the online

ensure that all alumnae feel a vibrant

vey and is eliciting input from the cam-

alumnae community: http://alumnae.

and purposeful sense of community in

pus community. Or you may call the

their interactions with the College and

3. Based on this input as well as the

AAMC office at 510.430.2110 to request

each other. We want to lay the ground-

Alumnae Summit discussion, the group

further information.

work for this revitalized partnership

is now drafting a “compact” that states

before our presidencies come to a close



new alumna trustee (see page 14 for

this summer.

AAMC-College partnership; the draft

information on the candidates) and con-

will be shared with alumnae for feed-

sider volunteering for other AAMC lead-

vened an Alumnae Summit that brought


ership opportunities. Whether you vote

together representatives of the AAMC

4. Our goal is to have the compact

or volunteer or both, you are helping to

Board of Governors, branch and club

ready for approval by the AAMC Board

shape the alumnae-College relationship.

leaders, other actively engaged alumnae,

of Governors and the College Board of

representatives of the President’s Cabinet

Trustees at our mid-May meetings.

resent the interests of our alumnae as

and College staff, and Chair of the Board

5. Once approved, the compact will

president of the AAMC. I am confident

of Trustees Kathleen Burke. The group

serve as the basis for negotiations

that the process I’ve described above

began to identify the general principles

between the College and the AAMC to

will provide alumnae with a significant,

that should form the foundation for a

create a new operating agreement that

satisfying role in strengthening both the

stronger alumnae-College relationship.

will replace the existing MOA.

AAMC and the College for the future.

To this end, last November we con-


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




Please also remember to vote for our

It has been my deepest honor to rep-

A Message from the President of Mills College

Final projects: pulling down barriers, updating the curriculum By Alecia A. DeCoudreaux t this point in the spring semester,


We are still exploring ways of fund-

many of our graduating seniors

ing the book art program; most notably,

Although Bay Area residents are among

are working on the most exciting

we are attempting to identify donors to

the most highly educated in the nation,

assignments of their academic careers: a

endow it. And we are refining proposals for

fewer than half of Oakland’s high school

thesis, performance, exhibition, or other

changes across our curriculum, including

students go on to enter college, and only

project that serves as the capstone of

the addition of new undergraduate majors

10 percent complete college within five

their Mills experience. At the same time,

and graduate programs. We will share our

years. Many students face multiple barri-

they are beginning to bid farewell to the

plans with you as they develop.

ers to earning a college degree, from ris-

faculty, staff, and friends who made their college experience so memorable.

Removing barriers to admission

Engaging in community partnerships

ing financial costs to lack of mentoring. In January, I signed the “Oakland

I understand and share their feel-

The measure of a woman’s ambition

Promise College Pathway Partnership,”

ings more than ever this year. My ten-

and intelligence is so much more than

making Mills a core participant in an

ure comes to a close at the end of June.

a standardized test score. Some high-

effort to triple the number of college

Yet the initiatives that I am undertak-

potential students just don’t test well,

graduates from Oakland within the next

ing now with my colleagues at Mills are

often because they lack the financial

10 years. With support from a range

some of the most exciting and transfor-

resources for expensive test preparation

of public and private institutions, the

mative since I became president nearly

courses. As a result, standardized tests

Oakland Promise will employ ground-

five years ago. In addition to revitalizing

often present an especially challenging

breaking strategies, such as establish-

the alumnae-College relationship, which

barrier to college access for students

ing a college savings program for every

AAMC President Lucy Do addresses in

who are socioeconomically disadvan-

Oakland student. The higher education

her letter (opposite), we are well on our

taged or are students of color. These stu-

institutions in this partnership—includ-

way to meeting key imperatives of Mills’

dents should not be excluded from Mills

ing Mills and UC Berkeley—will contrib-

strategic plan, including revising our cur-

on the basis of a low Scholastic Aptitude

ute to the Oakland Promise through a

riculum, strengthening our commitment

Test (SAT) or American College Testing

focused effort to enroll Oakland stu-

to inclusion, and developing community

(ACT) score.

dents and provide them with scholarship

partnerships. Because of these efforts and

For these reasons, we will no longer

opportunities, counseling, mentoring,

others, our next president will assume

require SAT or ACT scores as part of stu-

and career services—helping to ensure

leadership of a college with strong foun-

dents’ admission applications (see page

that they will graduate and find mean-

dations for a sustainable future.

5). The best predictor for success in col-

ingful careers.

Revising our academic programs

lege is a student’s high school record and grade-point average, so we will continue

In the last issue of the Mills Quarterly, I

to examine all applicants rigorously,

Throughout its history, Mills has

shared news of our work to update our

with a focus on the qualifications that

been committed to providing women

program offerings to meet the needs

really matter: Did they take difficult

with access to education of the highest

and interests of students in the years

classes in high school—and succeed?

caliber and to overcoming social barriers

to come. Since then, our dance faculty

Do they possess intellectual curiosity?

that exclude women from educational

has redesigned the undergraduate dance



and career opportunities. The campus

major to incorporate greater cross-

skills? This approach will not only cre-

community prides itself on its commit-

cultural and interdisciplinary activity,

ate a more inclusive and diverse campus

ment to diversity, inclusivity, and aca-

attract more dance majors, and achieve

environment, but will also strengthen

demic excellence. It is my hope that these

cost savings—ensuring that the under-

our reputation for enrolling creative,

initiatives will further this proud legacy

graduate dance major will continue to

independent thinkers.

long after the end of my presidency.



be offered at Mills. SPRING 2016


Mills Matters Legal scholar named new president of Mills College Elizabeth L. Hillman, selected from

the University of California, Hastings

a pool of exceptional candidates in a

College of the Law. She previously was a

comprehensive national search, will

professor and director of faculty devel-

take office as the 14th president of Mills

opment at Rutgers University School of

book chapters and journal articles,

College on July 1. A staunch proponent

Law and has taught at Yale University

was the principal researcher of a com-

of women’s education and the liberal

and the US Air Force Academy, receiv-

parative study of national military

arts, Hillman’s wide-ranging academic

ing awards for teaching, scholarly excel-

responses to sexual assault commissioned

achievement, professional success, and

lence, and service. She also served as an

by the United Nations Office of the

continuing intellectual inquiry provide

officer in the US Air Force.

High Commissioner for Human Rights,

her with a strong foundation for her

Hillman received her bachelor of

Elizabeth L. Hillman

spoke out on ending the “don’t ask/don’t

science degree in electrical engineer-

tell” policy, and has advised on other

ing from Duke University, a master’s

military issues such as eliminating bans

of the administrative challenges and

degree in history from the University of

on women in combat and transgender

opportunities in higher education and,

Pennsylvania, a law degree from Yale Law

service members.

as a professor, the joys and rewards

School, and a PhD in history, with a focus

Hillman was selected by a 15-person

of engaging and teaching students,”

on women’s history, from Yale University.

Presidential Search Committee, headed

role in leading the College. “Hillman has a keen understanding

Her scholarly work has focused

said Kathleen Burke, chair of the

by Katie Sanborn ’83, and confirmed

Mills College Board of Trustees, who

largely on modern United States mili-

by a vote of the Mills College Board of

announced the decision on March 1.

tary law and history and the impact of

Trustees. She will succeed current Mills

Hillman currently serves as provost and

gender and sexual norms on military

President Alecia A. DeCoudreaux, who

academic dean and professor of law at

culture. She has authored numerous

came to the College in 2011. “Beth was a clear choice to serve as our next president,” said Sanborn. “She is committed to women-centered education, and is a compelling, thoughtful leader. Throughout her career she has built a

Volume CIV Number 3    Spring 2016

reputation for developing diverse coali-

President: Alecia A. DeCoudreaux

tions and communities. Her experience

Chief of Staff and Vice President for Communications and External Relations: Renée Jadushlever

in the military and subsequent work on

Editor: Linda Schmidt Design and Art Direction: Nancy Siller Wilson Contributing Writer: Dawn Cunningham ’85

military equity has honed her deep sense of social justice, especially regarding women and gender.” “I’m looking forward to leading an insti-

Editorial Assistance: Russell Schoch

tution that so closely aligns with my own

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.

desire to advance the status of women in

Copyright © 2016, Mills College

our society and culture,” said Hillman, who plans to live with her wife and their five school-age children on the Mills

Address correspondence to Mills Quarterly, Mills College, 5000 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland, CA 94613. Email:    Phone: 510.430.3312

College campus. “Mills’ history of remak-

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

for both liberal arts and women’s educa-

ing itself to meet the changing demands tion bodes well for its ability to sustain the excellence and innovation that marks its past. The need for colleges like Mills to

(Please use outline)

flourish is as important now as ever, and I welcome the opportunity to guide the College through these challenging times.”


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

doug Oak le y

Here comes the sun

First-year student Alexis Joshua (left) and juniors Eileen Saltman and Lydia Fojtik (right) get some outdoor study time in while using solar-powered computer charging stations.

A fleet of 12 mobile solar power collectors rolled onto campus in November, part of the College’s on-

energy. Various units come equipped

going commitment to sustainability

with light towers to increase safety

sustainability, says that the “web of

and reduced fossil-fuel dependence.

and security on campus or illuminate

units on campuses across the coun-

Mills is the first of many colleges

nighttime events, outdoor work stations

try brings solar down to eye level and

nationwide to receive these units, at no

that charge electronic devices such

demonstrates that, by working together,

cost, from DC Solar Freedom (DCSF).

as laptops or cell phones, or charging

colleges and universities, activists, and

Eric Sirotkin, DCSF director of global

Each unit includes two solar panels

stations for electric vehicles. They can

corporations can take steps to overcome

mounted on a wheeled platform, with

also serve as critical backup generators

our dependence on fossil fuels and

the capability to store the collected

in the event of an emergency.

boldly confront our climate crisis.”

College takes steps to broaden access to education Mills College has implemented two new

ing at test-optional colleges who did

initiatives that will help expand the

not submit SAT and ACT scores were

College’s longstanding commitment

more likely to be students of color,

to student diversity and inclusivity.

students with economic need, or the

First, students applying for enroll-

first in their families to attend col-

ment in fall 2016 will not be required

lege. In addition, the study found no

to submit standardized test scores

statistical differences in either college

from the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)

grade-point average or graduation

or American College Testing (ACT).

rates between students who submitted

high school with the expectations,

The application process will remain

test scores and those who did not.

resources, and support to complete

quite rigorous: student applicants will

In addition, Mills is one of 12 north-

college and be successful in the

be evaluated on a wide range of crite-

ern California colleges and universities

ria, including academic performance

to sign the Oakland Promise College

as reflected in submitted transcripts, as

Pathway Partnership. Oakland Promise

financial aid and mentoring support

well as other qualities such as intel-

is a collaboration between Libby

to help increase the percentage of

lectual curiosity, leadership, creativity,

Schaaf, mayor of Oakland; Antwan

Oakland high school students who

and civic engagement.

Wilson, superintendent of the Oakland

graduate from college. Signatories to

Unified School District; the East Bay

the agreement also pledge to collabo-

schools nationwide that have made

College Fund; and local university

rate on recruitment, college advising,

standardized test scores optional. A

leaders. Its goal is to ensure that

and college visits, and to address

2014 study found that students enroll-

every Oakland child graduates from

issues related to placement testing.

Mills joins nearly 200 other top-tier

career of their choice. Oakland Promise asks Mills to offer


Donor gifts enrich scholarship, research, and facilities Mills College gratefully acknowledges

awarded Mills the first of a three-part

Scholarship Fund.

the following gifts, grants, and pledges

The Bernard E. and Alba Witkin

grant to the Educating for Democracy in

of $50,000 or more received from July 1

Charitable Foundation made a gift to

the Digital Age research program led by

to December 31, 2015.

the Mills College Children’s School.

Professor of Education Joseph Kahne.

The two-part gift to the Infant Care

The grant will help create a curriculum

received generous contributions from

Program Assistantship and Children’s

on civic engagement for Oakland high

Trustee Wendy Hull Brody ’68, Linda

School Scholarship Fund will provide

school students.

Pitts Custard ’60, Ann Sulzburger

professional development for teachers

Wolff ’42, and Board of Trustees Chair

and financial aid for families of children

tion to the Mary Ann Childers Kinkead

Kathleen Burke and her husband, Ralph

attending the school.

Endowed Fund for Faculty Innovation in

The Lisser Hall renovation project

Davis. Construction on the $8.3 million project is expected to begin in July 2017.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation continued its support of the school-

Jordan “Pooh” Kinkead made a dona-

memory of his wife. A distribution from the estate of Mark

wide lesson study project at the School

and Melody Clarke Teppola ’64 will

ports the Kathleen Burke and Ralph

of Education. The Gates gift supports

support the Melody and Mark Teppola

Davis Fund for Urban Farm Leadership.

research in the methodology of creating

Distinguished Visiting Professorship,

school lessons. Research findings will

which brings scholars in the arts or

Blackwood ’65 made gifts to Mills’

give teachers the tools to help students

humanities to campus, as well as the

Greatest Need, an unrestricted fund that

master complex subject matter.

Melody Clarke Teppola Prize for Creative

The Burke and Davis gift also sup-

Burke, Brody, and Eve Chater

allows the College flexibility in spending where it has the highest impact. Trustee Marilyn Schuster, MA ’65,

The Hellman Foundation donated to the Hellman Math and Science Summer

display original thinking and superior

Bridge Program, which gives students

writing skills.

made a pledge to the Class of 1965

a supportive academic transition into

Endowed Undergraduate Scholarship


Fund. Trustee Barbara Ahmajan Wolfe

Writing, which is awarded to students who

The estate of Gertrude “Judy” Snider Schiffman ’52 made a gift to the Rubin

The Stuart Foundation made a grant

and Judy Schiffman Scholarship in support

’65 made a gift in support of the

to the Mills Teacher Scholars program,

of an undergraduate student. Mills also

Lorry I. Lokey GSB Accreditation, the

which provides professional develop-

received distributions from the estate of

Presidential Transition Fund, and the

ment for urban Bay Area teachers.

Judith McGhee ’76 and from the estate of

Class of 1965 Endowed Undergraduate

The Thomas J. Long Foundation

Marvin E. Locke.

Home is where the art is

Carrie Hott, After-Hour, 2015, sculptural installation with sound

Three new artists are working on the Mills campus in the second year of the Art + Process + Ideas (A+P+I) residence program. Interdisciplinary artist Carrie Hott was named one of “24 Artists to Watch” in Modern Painters Magazine in 2015. A co-founder of the Royal NoneSuch Gallery in Oakland, California, she received her BFA from Arizona State University and her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. She will present a permanent project, The Key Room, at the Headlands Center for the Arts in spring 2016. K.r.m. Mooney graduated from California College of the Arts in 2012 with a BFA in jewelry/metal arts and has exhibited at the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art in

Times Square to international video art festivals. She graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2009 with an MFA in art and technology. Throughout their six-month residency, these artists will

San Francisco as well as venues in New York, London, and

engage with the Mills community through public lectures,


studio visits, and workshops. The program culminates in an

Surabhi Saraf is a media artist, composer, and performer whose videos have been shown from New York’s 6

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

exhibition at the Mills College Art Museum featuring new work created by the artists while on campus.

Campus kudos A selection of recent achievements by faculty, staff, and students Percussion professor and avant-garde

Manhattan. Now in its second season

Distribution, Power, and Payoff,”

musician William Winant, MFA ’82,

on WGN America, Manhattan tells the

a paper examining patterns of lead-

was one of 16 artists nationwide to

story of the building of the atomic

ership in a set of small-scale mam-

receive an unrestricted grant from the

bomb at Los Alamos, New Mexico.

malian societies, including humans

Foundation for Contemporary Arts, a

The series is produced by Thomas

and other social mammals. The

nonprofit founded by artists John Cage

Schlamme, one of the executive

study, published in Trends in Ecology

and Jasper Johns. The $40,000 awards

producers of The West Wing.

& Evolution, brought together

support pioneering work in dance,

English Professor Juliana Spahr’s

experts in biology, anthropology,

music/sound, performance art/theater,

book, That Winter the Wolf Came,

mathematics, and psychology to con-

poetry, and the visual arts. Winant has

examines the effects of ecological

sider how leaders promote collective

performed and collaborated with Sonic

and economic catastrophe. A recent

actions such as traveling, hunting, or

Youth, Mr. Bungle, John Zorn, Oingo

New York Times review described the

fighting cooperatively. Their analysis

Boingo, Yo-Yo Ma, and Keith Jarrett.

book as “nine thoughtful, wiry works

finds that—though there are notable

Choreographer and dancer Nora

(three in prose, six in verse) that ask

exceptions—leadership status is gen-

Chipaumire, MA ’00, MFA ’02, also was

how it felt and what it means to remain

erally achieved as individuals gain

awarded a grant from the foundation.

a disillusioned opponent of capitalism,

experience, in both humans and

Her works have appeared in the Joyce

a not-quite despondent environmental

non-humans. “Animals with

Theater in New York, the Museum of

observer, and an anxious parent today”

experience, particularly elephants,

Contemporary Art, Chicago, and the

that can leave the reader feeling

are considered repositories of

ODC Theater in San Francisco, among

“somber, or angrily alert, or simply

knowledge,” Smith told Forbes

other venues.

impressed.” It was published by

magazine. “They have a lot of wis-

Commune Editions in August 2015.

dom that they bring to decisions,

Victor Talmadge, director of the Mills Theater Studies Program, has

Professor of Biology Jenn Smith

and it appears that their followers

a recurring role as the character

served as lead author on “Leadership

are gaining some benefit by follow-

Victor Green in the television series

in Mammalian Societies: Emergence,

ing someone who’s informed.”

Calendar Mills Music Now Concerts April 2  X-Sound Festival April 8  Barry Douglas, Dewing Piano Recital All events start at 8:00 pm in the Littlefield Concert Hall. $15 general, $10 to alumnae, seniors, and non-Mills students. See musicnow.mills. edu or contact Steed Cowart at 510.430.2334 or

Mills College Art Museum March 29–April 17  Senior Thesis Exhibition April 30–May 29  MFA Thesis Exhibition June 15–August 28  Art + Process + Ideas 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. See or contact 510.430.2164 or

Contemporary Writers Series March 29  Cheena Marie Lo, MFA ’12, and Keenan Norris, MFA ’05 Lo is co-founder of the Manifest Reading and Workshop Series and author of the new book, A Series of Un/Natural/Disasters; Norris’s novel Brother and the Dancer is the winner of the James D. Houston Award for first books. His work appears in several collections, including the forthcoming Oakland Noir. All events are at 5:30 pm, Mills Hall Living Room, free. For program details and speaker bios, see; for more information, contact 510.430.2204 or

Save the date



September 22–25 Convocation on September 23

Celebrating alumnae from class years ending in 1 or 6, including the Golden Alumnae of 1966. All alumnae are welcome. A Reunion schedule and registration form will be mailed in early summer to alumnae in reunioning classes. For further information, contact the Mills College Office of Alumnae Relations: or 510.430.2123.



Creature features

By Linda Schmidt



might not otherwise notice. “If you see

and eels. Moles and voles

provide that much of a connection to

a bird outdoors, you may get just a fleet-

and orioles. These are just a

wildlife,” says Professor of Biology Jenn

ing glimpse, or at a great distance. In my

few of the hundreds of biologi-

Smith, a primary caretaker of the collec-

bird classes, I would put out a selection

cal specimens in the Mills natural

tion. “Looking at a screen is very differ-

of specimens so students could under-

science collection, which ranges from

ent from holding an animal that used

stand how different bill shapes corre-

simple, spineless sea creatures to com-

to be alive right in your hands. You can

spond with feeding habits, or what it

plex organisms at the top of the evolu-

investigate what it really feels like, what

means to have different toe patterns,

tionary tree. In these days of limitless

it really looks like, and come away with

webbing, and other adaptations.”

online resources and simulations, this

a much deeper understanding.”

ossums and parrots. Egrets




Faculty members in biology use the

library of bones may seem anachronis-

John Harris, professor of biology from

collection extensively to illustrate a

tic but, like a well-stocked shelf of refer-

1986 to 2013, explains how hands-on

variety of ecological and evolutionary

ence books, it is an indispensable aid to

experience gives students a chance to

concepts. “In looking at these examples,

teaching and learning.

look at something up close that they

students learn the characteristics of


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

each animal and what makes it unique,” says Smith. “The physical structures of related species illustrate their shared evolutionary




adaptations show how animals have developed specialized traits for feeding, locomotion, and reproduction. You can look at a stuffed possum and a possum skull to see different layers of the organism and learn how they cope with their world.” All of this provides a useful supplement to textbook learning and field observations. “It’s one thing to see a picture, and another thing to see an animal live from a distance—but it’s entirely different to see it close and understand all the structural things or to notice the differences between species in real life,” says Lauren Burke, a senior double-majoring in biology and economics. “Having the real thing just hits the point home.”

Professor Jenn Smith shows Sandeep Sagoo '16 the extensive bone structures and massive carnassial teeth that give the spotted hyena its powerful bite.

Collections also allow for real quantitative studies, some of which hadn’t even

Professor of Natural History Josiah Keep,

considered the standard field guide for

been imagined when the original sam-

who taught from 1885 until 1911, was a

water birds in the state.

ple was collected. “You can get a DNA

deeply religious man who found divine

A more peculiar contributor was

sample from a feather and do important

handiwork in studying the marvels of

Ralph Ellis, a son of wealthy socialites

genetic research on a species by using

nature. He wrote and illustrated several

who was prone to mysterious illnesses

something taken from a specimen rather

volumes on the molluscs of the Pacific

and violent outbursts. Ellis began col-

than going out to the field and collecting

and collected thousands of seashells

lecting animal specimens from family

a live animal,” says Harris. “You can look

over his lifetime. After his death, the

estates in Long Island, South Carolina,

at things that are extinct or very rare by

bulk of his personal collection was dis-

and Maine when he was barely a teen,

accessing a specimen or assess changes

tributed to Tohoku University in Japan,

and moved with his family to Berkeley

in species and populations over time.”

UC Berkeley, and other institutions, but

in the early 1920s. He befriended many

many remained at Mills.

notable zoologists of the early 20th

And the power of these specimens to spark enthusiasm cannot be overesti-

Along with Keep’s marine inverte-

century and spent much of his fortune

mated. “The hawks and falcons—all the

brates, the collection currently includes

and time on scientific expeditions and

raptors—are really cool. I love how gnarly

a wide variety of insects, reptiles, and

in amassing a remarkable collection of

their feet are and how sharp their bills

amphibians, along with 74 different

thousands of rare natural history books.

are,” says Burke. “The kingfishers and

mammal species and nearly 400 spe-

It is unclear how his specimens came to

hummingbirds have the most beautiful

cies of birds—which are one of the

Mills; nevertheless, they provide a valu-

colors, their plumage is just incredible.

strong points of the collection. Harris

able geographic variety.

And the pelican... well, you don’t think

estimates that nearly half of the birds

“Much of what is in the collection was

about how funny looking a pelican is

were collected and prepared by Howard

collected at a time when the science was

until you stare at it for a while!”

Cogswell, who taught at Mills through

in a different place, so to speak,” says

“Of course, everyone coming into the

the 1950s while completing his doctor-

Harris, who points out that the ethics

Vertebrate Lab, where the collection is

ate at UC Berkeley. Cogswell went on

of science have changed significantly

housed, is intrigued by the diverse array

to teach at California State University,

over the past century, as have the ecol-

of specimens out on display,” adds Smith.

Hayward; was elected director of the

ogy and landscape that biologists study.

“Everywhere you turn there’s something

East Bay Regional Parks District; and

“The days of people going out to shoot

fun and interesting and distracting.”

was an important figure in the restora-

birds to make a museum collection are

tion and protection of salt marshes and

pretty much long gone. At no time while

The origins of the collection date

shorelines in San Francisco Bay. His

I was at Mills did we actively go out and

back to the earliest days of the College.

book, Water Birds of California, is still

try to collect animals.”

photos by s te v e babul jak



“My lab partner and I thought it’d be cool if we could add to the collection ourselves,” she says. “Professor Harris helped us identify the bird, and gave us tips for taxidermy and how to preserve it. It was a really unique experience.” “We are always updating the collection,” says Smith. More unusual species or those not found locally arrive as “bone clones”—cast resin replicas that painstakingly reproduce an animal’s original structural details, texture, and color. To provide a diversity of different shapes, and to reflect her own interests, Smith has added manufactured examples of koala, hyena, and lion, among others. She enthusiastically points out an African elephant tooth, explaining its similarity to the teeth of other hoofed herbivores, then picks up the skull of a rock hyrax, a small rodent-like mammal. “This is actually very closely related to elephants,” she says. “You wouldn’t imagine that!” As with any extensive library, the items in this collection require special care to ensure that they remain in good condition. Sunlight can cause serious bleaching and degradation of feathers and skin, humidity can lead to bacterial growth, and insect infestations can reduce a specimen to powder. Many items are quite old and fragile, and must be handled with care. Recent improveThat doesn’t mean the collection is

a set of caribou antlers in return to help

ments to storage and preservation,

static, however. “When I first got to

round out our mammal specimens,” he

made possible by a generous grant from

Mills, I saw a few rare species here and

says—an appropriate swap for a teaching

the Joseph and Vera Long Foundation,

thought they really should be in a col-


include moving the specimens into more

lection where they would be more scien-

More recent additions typically find

airtight cabinets and coating the lab

tifically useful,” says Harris. Mills held

their way into the lab after an unfor-

windows with a film that blocks damag-

two specimens of Swainson’s hawk, col-

tunate encounter with a window or a

ing ultraviolet rays.

lected from California’s central valley in

car or a predator. Such animals may

Even keeping such a working collec-

the 1950s. Since that time, significant

be prepared for keeping by lab man-

tion organized presents a challenge.

declines in the bird’s population have

ager Heather Pearl, who uses a colony

Over the past years, several students

been linked to eating a diet of pesticide-

of dermestid beetles to clean the bones.

have been involved in the task of docu-

laden insects in their wintering grounds

Others may be prepared by a student

menting and cataloging every specimen,

in Argentina, and the species has been

who is interested in learning the skills of

a necessary project after a series of lab

listed as a threatened by the California

taxidermy to preserve a more complete

renovations and the construction of

Department of Fish and Game since

animal. Lauren Kong ’13, now a gradu-

the Moore Natural Sciences Building in

1983. Harris traded the hawks to the

ate student studying crayfish at Nicholls

2007, during which time the collection

Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology at

State University in Louisiana, recalls find-

was moved several times.

UC Davis, a major research center. “I got

ing a dead dove while she was a student.


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

Kong, Susan Anthony ’13, and Chelsea

photos by l auren burk e ’16

A Cape May warbler, sharp-shinned hawk, chaffinch, tern, Ridgeway's rail, American wigeon, whimbrel, and elegant tern, pictured in columns above, illustrate a variety of bill shapes adapted for different purposes. A mounted American kestrel, opposite, is a watchful presence in the Vertebrate Lab.

and everything is in its place,” she says.

Satterwhite ’13 worked together on

“All of us had different knowledge

many of the specimens. They consulted

of different taxa, so we collaborated to

Smith is well on the way towards her

with the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology

get the job done,” says Kong. “I’m more

goal of completing an electronic data-

at UC Berkeley to learn how to retain

knowledgeable in dealing with reptiles

base of the entire vertebrate collection

color in bottled specimens and how to

and amphibians, for example, while

as well as a digital image library of all

clean delicate anatomies, using small

Susan is more familiar with birds. At the

the specimens, so that students can

brushes to carefully remove dust. They

end of the day, I learned a lot.”

study and refer to pieces in the collection outside of the classroom as well.

also rewrote all of the bird labels—many

Lauren Burke continued their work,

of which were missing, broken, or illegi-

painstakingly photographing each bird

“Studying and working with the speci-

ble—including details of the species, date

over the course of 18 months, correlating

men collection gave me an even greater

and place of collection, and the history

its tag number with a drawer location,

appreciation for biodiversity,” says Kong.

of the specimen over time, and entered

and entering all the information into a

“It’s all really cool stuff. There is some-

all the specimens into a master list.

database. “Everything now has a place,

thing for everyone there.” ◆



documentarian Meg Smaker ’12 seeks out unorthodox stories


he documen tary f il m Boxeadora opens with images of the Cuba we think we know: Che

Guevara’s portrait on a weather-beaten wall, Havana Harbor, pastel townhouses with bright 1950s sedans out front. In an open-air boxing gym, chiseled young men jump rope and prepare to spar. “Since Castro’s revolution,” a narrator explains, “Cuba has won more Olympic gold medals in boxing than any other country in the world.” The camera pans down a line of boxers until it comes to rest on a woman: Namibia, Cuba’s only female boxer and the star of this film. Unseen, behind the camera, is Meg Smaker ’12, Namibia’s friend, training partner, and storyteller. In 16 minutes, Smaker draws us into the story of Namibia’s struggle to train for the Olympics while living in a country where women are banned from boxing. We also join Namibia in her daily routines, on a visit to her mother, during a Santeria blessing. We gain a perspective on Cuba that few people would ever have thought to look for.

Smaker faced a number of hurdles herself in making the

Smaker, a competitive boxer herself, met Namibia while vis-

film, including funding its production. “I applied for—and was

iting Cuba to train during a break between semesters while

denied—over 30 grants,” she says. “Foundations always want to

attending Stanford University’s MFA program in documentary

know what your ‘impact’ is. But I don’t want to save the world, I

film. She completed Boxeadora, her MFA thesis, in 2014, and

just want to understand it.”

since then the film has screened at more than 30 festivals from San Francisco to Cannes; it is now showing (through July) as

Smaker’s desire to understand the world animates her

part of Lunafest, a traveling festival of award-winning short

life as well as her filmmaking. Raised in Contra Costa county,

films by women. Its accolades include a Student Academy

Smaker attended Butte Fire Academy and Chico State, then

Award from the organization that presents the Oscars and a

worked for several years as a firefighter. In 2002, in the wake of

Jury Award from the SXSW Film Festival. Just as important to

al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks, she made a solo trip to Afghanistan. “My

Smaker, Boxeadora helped secure a visa for Namibia to speak

questions about why the world had changed so much weren’t

at film festivals and to train in the United States, as well as

answered by mainstream media, so I went to find the answers

a tentative agreement from the head of the Cuban Boxing

myself.” A family in a small village took her in and there, she

Federation to lift the ban on women in the sport in time for the

says, “I realized my whole perception of the world was wrong.

2020 Olympics.

This fueled my desire to understand more about the world.”

“Most films about Cuba are very political,” says Smaker. “But

In 2003, she and two friends travelled to Colombia to camp

Boxeadora is personal. You see that this person has a dream

in the Darien Gap, a rainforest along the Panamanian border.

she wants to go after. Everyone can relate because we all have

They were abducted at gunpoint by a right-wing paramilitary

had hurdles in our lives. The universality of the struggle opens

group and held hostage for 10 days. After her release, Smaker

up the world of Cuba in a way that a political documentary

told reporters, “I learned more in those days about the region

would not.”

and its politics than I had in my whole life.”


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

filmmaking from the

other side of the boat By Dawn Cunningham ’85

Smaker returned home, but was soon

after she graduated from Mills, and has continued to serve

traveling again. She went to Yemen to learn

as her mentor. “Samara never tried to censor my films,” says

Arabic, then found a job as head instruc-

Smaker. “She had faith in my abilities and pushed me to try

tor at a fire academy there. She stayed in

new things. She gave me faith in my own vision as a filmmaker

Yemen for more than four years—with visits

and the confidence to take risks. That woman is like magic

to Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Tanzania—

fairy dust for filmmakers.”

and spent another year in Qatar.

At Stanford, Smaker persisted—despite some opposition—in

While in the Middle East, she decided

making films that focus on underground or obscure subjects.

to return to college as part of her quest

These included Pistols to Porn, about the preservation of the

to understand more about the world. She

historic San Francisco Armory by a bondage porn film com-

knew she wanted to tell stories through

pany, and Methel Island, about methamphetamine addiction

documentary films that were grounded in

on Bethel Island in the Sacramento Delta.

research, and her former high school English teacher—Susan

“I like stories that take an unorthodox point of view on con-

Klassen MacDonald, who received her teaching credential

troversial issues that we think we already know about,” says

from Mills in 1991—recommended that she apply to Mills.

Smaker, who now lives in the Maxwell Park neighborhood, just

At the College, she majored in political, legal, and economic

minutes from Mills. She’s exploring a number of ideas for her

analysis (PLEA) while studying video production with Samara

next film, including one looking at the effect of rapid economic

Halperin, visiting assistant professor of studio art.

development in the Middle East from the perspective of three women of different generations.

“Meg isn’t scared of telling stories that need to be told, even

Smaker has also founded Doc Farm Films, a nonprofit organi-

if they’re shocking or halfway around the world,” says Halperin.

zation, to help secure funding both for her own projects and for

“She pushes boundaries in her storytelling, and as a director she

other filmmakers creating story-driven, controversial, or diffi-

identifies with people who live outside of society’s norms.”

cult documentaries. Smaker’s track record inspires confidence

At Mills, Smaker made films about two such outsider groups.

that she will pull this off, too. “The thing that makes Meg so

Sex, Drugs, and Student Loans featured interviews with stu-

successful,” says Halperin, “is she goes for it. She fights for what

dents who meet the rising cost of college education through

she believes in.”

sex work and selling drugs. Somalia and The Piracy Bell Curve

To explain why she’s so committed to promoting such alter-

explored the reasons pirates base their operations in Puntland,

native narratives, Smaker says, “Imagine you’re on a boat, and

a region in Somalia. The film evolved from field research for

someone yells ‘whale!’ Everyone runs to the side of the boat

an academic article Smaker co-authored with government pro-

and takes pictures of the whale. There are lots of beautiful pic-

fessor Martha Johnson. “It was a hand-drawn, animated doc-

tures, but it’s the same old whale. I like to hang out on the

umentary, but I had never done animation before. I went to

other side of the boat. Maybe I see nothing, maybe I see an orca

Samara with my idea and she said, “You can do this!’”

shagging a mermaid  . . . . I’d like to have more people on that side

Halperin encouraged Smaker to enter Stanford’s MFA program

of the boat with me.” ◆ SPRING 2016


Elect your

alumna trustee one of the three women described on these pages will be your next alumna trustee. Help determine who it will be by taking part in this important election to ensure that alumnae continue to provide a strong voice in the leadership of the College. Serving for three years (July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2019) as a full member of both the Mills College Board of Trustees and the Board of Governors of the Alumnae Association of Mills College (AAMC), this alumna trustee will help ensure that alumnae are well represented in the leadership of the College by conveying the views of the AAMC board to the College board. She will join continuing alumna trustees Susan Ardisson ’77 and Judith James ’74. We offer our thanks to Melissa Stevenson Diaz ’91, who is concluding her 2014–16 term. Note: You may vote either by paper ballot or online at the Mills College online Alumnae Community (a simple registration is required if you are not already a member of the online alumnae community). See detailed instructions on how to cast your vote on the inside back cover of this magazine! Whether you vote online or by paper ballot, only one vote per alumna will be accepted. Any alumna casting multiple votes will invalidate all of their votes. All voting must be completed and received at Reinhardt Alumnae House by 5:00 pm (PDT) on Wednesday, May 4.

This year, seven candidates will be recommended to the Board of Governors by the AAMC Nominating Committee to fill seats on the AAMC board. In addition, officer positions (president, treasurer/ secretary, and vice president) will need to be filled. All Mills College alumnae are encouraged to apply to or by mail to AAMC, Mills College, 5000 MacArthur Blvd., MB #86, Oakland, CA 94613. Applications are due April 8, 2016. For BOG responsibilities and AAMC by-laws, please visit


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

Yvonne Payne Daniel, MA ’75 Castro Valley, California Education: BA, music, California State University, Hayward, 1972; MA, dance, Mills College, 1975; MA, PhD, anthropology, University of California, Berkeley, 1989. Employment: Professor emerita of dance and Afro-American studies, Smith College, 1989-2004. Volunteer experience: BrazzDance and ASWAD advisory boards, present; Caribbean Studies Association, Brazil Conference Committee, 2006–2007; ASWAD Rio Conference, US Program Chair, 2003–2005; ASWAD, Secretary and Founding Board Member, 2000–2010; CORD Program Committee, 1994–1995. AAMC/College involvement: Dance Alumnae/i Association, 2015– 2016; Alumnae of Color Committee, 2013-2015; Reunion Committee, 2006–2009; Women’s Leadership Fellow, 1999–2000; Adjunct instructor, 1976–1985. How has Mills College affected your life? Mills College is one of three women’s institutions that continue to influence my life, including Riverdale (then an all-women’s prep school in New York City, where I was born and raised) and Smith College (where I taught for 15 years after earning a PhD). Mills propelled my dance and music specialization into Australian to Uruguayan research; Spanish, French, and Portuguese exchanges; and publishing. I won Ford, Rockefeller, and Smithsonian fellowships with Mills’ pivotal role in my life. Consequently, I enjoyed a second career as an international researcher, full professor, award-winning author, and cultural consultant. How do you view the future of the AAMC and its relationship with the College? The AAMC is critical to making the educational shifts necessary for today’s changing world and for a still-necessary women’s liberal arts education. Recent AAMC and DAAMC (Dance Alumnae/i Association) volunteering has given me deeper insights into the serious challenges and interdependent connections between College administrative bodies and the legacy of a Mills education. I dedicate my expertise and experience to meaningful communication and impact on the common goals of AAMC and the College. What are your hopes and expectations for the future of Mills College? Stellar, 21st-century education—characterized by rigorous, flexible, and creative curricula; continued graduate and undergraduate program interactions; a permeating global perspective; and improved campus/community relations are my hopes. I expect equity and inclusion across all College populations.

Elizabeth Kelley ’86

Samira Kirmiz ’98 Spokane, Washington/ New York, New York Education: BA, English/French, Mills College; MA, University of Chicago; JD, Case Western Reserve University. Employment: Nationwide criminal defense practice specializing in representing persons with mental disabilities.

Volunteer experience: Board, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, 2006–Present; National Advisory Committee, The ARC, National Center on Criminal Justice and Disability. AAMC/Mills College involvement: ASMC president; class secretary, 2011–present; Reunion Committee, 2011, 2016. How has Mills College affected your life? Because of an outstanding liberal arts education plus the leadership opportunities offered on a human-scale campus, I gained the skills and confidence to succeed in a predominantly male-dominated profession. How do you view the future of the AAMC and its relationship with the College? The AAMC must work with the administration to ensure that the College remains financially stable in order to recruit and retain a strong, diverse student body. Moreover, the AAMC, particularly the alumna trustees, should continue to regularly and frequently communicate with alumnae. As a “non-Californian,” I am committed to reaching out to alumnae across the planet, whether through social media, printed communications, or in-person contact. Additionally, as an alumnae trustee, I plan to use my voice to ensure that the magic of a Mills education is passed to future generations. But I also pledge to listen to others as we strike that delicate balance between academic excellence, real-world relevance, and financial stability. What are your hopes and expectations for the future of Mills College? My vision of Mills is one shaped by love, loyalty, and gratitude, all tempered by realism. I am acutely sensitive to the challenges which small liberal arts colleges for women confront. Running a quality academic environment is expensive, requiring state-of-the-art facilities, competitive salaries for faculty, and generous financial assistance in order to maintain a diverse student body. Meanwhile, the economy seems hostile to liberal arts graduates, although time has proven that the flexibility of our diplomas is exactly what the ever-evolving marketplace demands. As women’s colleges become co-educational, we are continually forced to defend our relevance, where, in theory, all barriers based on gender have been removed. Looking into the future, I see that Mills will continue to face financial, demographic, and even existential challenges.

Sunnyvale, California Education: BA in biochemistry and molecular biology, Mills College, 1998; MD, University of California, San Diego, 2003. Employment: Endocrinologist, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Mountain View, California. Volunteer experience: Rotacare clinic in Mountain View ; Medical Systems Information Technology Committee Member at El Camino Hospital. AAMC involvement: Mills Ambassador, 1995–1998; Member, Palo Alto Area Mills College Club (PAAMCC). How has Mills College affected your life? As the daughter of a shoe repairman and homemaker, my attending college seemed financially out of the question. Through Mills’ generous financial aid program, I had the amazing opportunity to attend Mills. I benefitted not only from an education which helped fulfill my dream of becoming a physician, but also made friendships for life. I owe everything to the educational foundation I developed at Mills, which I use each day in my life. How do you view the future of the AAMC and its relationship with the College? The AAMC brings together the resources of the alumnae to provide for the success of current Mills students and the College, and through this we all benefit. I also believe in a strong endowment for the College so that we can weather any financial picture in the future. Alumnae play a big role in growing the endowment which will protect the College and preserve its educational mission. What are your hopes and expectations for the future of Mills College? Mills is going through many changes. The small classes and supportive professors at Mills College enabled me to achieve my dreams. I want to ensure that this environment continues to inspire and fulfill the dreams of future Mills students. I want to help grow the financial health of the College so we can continue to provide generous financial aid to current students and offer a full spectrum of majors, classes, and opportunities. Last year the election was very close. I want to urge every alum to vote, and would be honored if you vote for me!


Find your ballot on the inside back cover



In Memoriam Notices of death received before January 10, 2016 To submit listings, please contact or 510.430.2123

Alumnae Elizabeth “Betty” Lane Baker ’38, MA ’41, September 20, in San Jose, California. She earned her degrees in botany and taught briefly before marrying and raising her family. She also served as class secretary. She is survived by two children, six grandchildren, sisters Mary Bogue Koontz ’42 and Mildred Selden Anderson ’44, and niece Mary Aiden Gallagher ’92. Paulette Thomas ’38, July 2015, in Paris, France. A native of France, her time at Mills was influential in guiding her intellect, career, and social life. Survivors include three children. Barbara Quinlan Dessy ’41, May 23, 2015, in San Rafael, California. Dorothy White Datel ’46, November 9, in Vacaville, California. She volunteered extensively in Girl Scouting, traveled often to Great Britain, was a costume research librarian in Hollywood, and served as president of the American Quilt Study Group. Mills president Aurelia Henry Reinhardt inspired her to become a Unitarian. Her daughter Kerry Datel ’73 predeceased her; she is survived by her husband, Bob; a daughter; and three grandchildren. Elizabeth Alexander Smith ’47, October 3, in Plano, Texas. An avid golfer and a lifelong community volunteer, she was active with the Girl Scout Council; the Women’s Club of Owatonna, Minnesota; American Field Service; and the Assistance League of Inland North County in southern California. Survivors include two children and two grandsons. Barbara Grutze Roessner ’48, November 5, in Milwaukie, Oregon. She taught high school Spanish classes as well as piano, composed music for several school plays, served as a church organist, and enjoyed educational travel to many destinations. She is survived by three children and five grandchildren. Catherine “Missy” Yoell Saveri ’52, December 15, in San Francisco. She was a performer, playwright, and past president of Children’s Theater Association of San Francisco (CTA); in 2008, CTA created the Missy Saveri Award to recognize outstanding contributions to the organization. She wrote the first docent training program for Davies Symphony Hall, was a member of the Museum Society Auxiliary, and was a founding member of the Northern California Chapter of Achievement Rewards for College Scientists. She is survived by her husband of 60 years, Guido; four children; and five grandchildren.


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

Gifts in Memory of Lucia Grossmann ’53, in November, at her home in Sao Paolo, Brazil.

Received September 1–November 30, 2015

Sandra Sollom Kretchmer ’56, October 6, in San Rafael, California. An animal lover and volunteer, she operated Great Escapes travel agency and journeyed throughout the world. She is survived by two children and four grandchildren.

Jeanne Aurel-Schneider ’51, P ’74, by Evelyn Zwierlein Fox ’51

Favour Hazeltine Slater ’58, December 1, in Phoenix, Arizona. She was the society editor of the Arizona Republic; served as executive director of an organization that raised money for local cultural institutions; and worked at First National Bank of Arizona. She was active in numerous community and philanthropic organizations and was a docent at the Desert Botanical Gardens. She is survived by two daughters, three grandchildren, and her cousin, Allison Kravetz ’63. Patricia Ann Kelley, MFA ’76, November 12, in Chico, California. She was a professional photographer with a keen interest in weather, musicians, and the stark landscapes of northern California and the Nevada desert. She is survived by her husband, John James. Marylee Bytheriver ’91, November 29, in Eureka, California. She lived at various times in Sweden, Spain, the Queen Charlotte Islands, Canada, India, and Mexico. She produced limited-edition prints and artist’s books; volunteered teaching children in rural Mexico, served as the executive director of Hospice of Humboldt, and was a founder of the Environmental Protection and Information Center in Garberville. She is survived by her husband, Allan Katz; four daughters and their families; and her niece Jennifer Mack ’95. Sheryl Coey ’99, MFA ’01, December 22, in Santa Clara, California.

Spouses and Family Peter Jorrens, husband of Katherine “Kit” Farrow Jorrens ’57, June 10, in Middlebury, Vermont. Mike Chadwick, husband of Kathryn Mallett Chadwick ’60, November 4, in Friday Harbor, Washington. John Parsons, husband of Alene Jensen Parsons ’48, in Buttonwillow, California. Aundrea Walker, mother of Lisa Walker Gassama ’89, October 13, in Reno, Nevada.

Elizabeth “Betty” Lane Baker ’38, MA ’41, by Jeanne Arens, Barbara Haas, P ’96, Mary Lane Koontz ’42, Ruth Ann Watkins Marcia Hancock Carlson ’57 by Patricia Reid Harmon ’57, P ’82 Katie Dudley Chase ’61 by her husband, William Chase, Barbara Evans ’63, Bridget Irving, Anne-Marie Saegesser Logan ’58 Lillian Ching ’45, P ’75, by Betty Chu Wo ’46 Susan Marks Craven ’63 by Barbara Goldblatt Becker ’63, Connie Young Yu ’63 Wendy Engebretson ’62 by William Beadie Leone La Duke Evans, MA ’45, by Kathleen Burke, Lucy Harrison Campbell, Irene Harville Hannaford ‘54, Mabel Lee, Leah Hardcastle MacNeil, MA ’51, P ’75, Jacquelyn Jagger Parsons ’52, Josephine Shuman, Glenn and Ellen Voyles Sally Gross by Anonymous Judith Ireland ’56 by Patricia Sawyier Eldredge ’56, Nieda, Gassmann and Lane Families, Judith Templin Ratte ’56, Karen Tsujimoto Jane Cudlip King ’42, P ’80, by Barbara Hunter ’57, Catherine McCormack McGilvray ’56, Marion Ross ’44, Evelyn “Muffy” McKinstry Thorne ’48 Sandra Sollom Kretchmer ’56 by Jeannette Dold Bernhard ’49, Barbara Parsons Sheldon ’56 Elizabeth Bryant Miles ’34 by Susan Shea Christina Miller ’71 by her sister, Kathleen Miller Janes ’69 Paula Williams Remington ’51 by Joan Thompson Armstrong ’51, P ’95 J. Roussel Sargent by Linda Barkley Bernwanger ’70 Anne Sherrill by Willa Berliner Anderson ’65 Leda Soffran Silver ’68 by Pamela Hunt ’68 Barnabas Smith, P ’90, P ’92, by Yuri Chiamori Mok ’60, P ’91 Donald Spagel, husband of Bette Krause Spagel ’63, P ’79, by Liisa Karne Hale ’77 Tomoye Tatai, P ’80, by Michelle Balovich ’03 Aundrea Walker, P ’89, by Barbara Booth, Donna Coggins, Renee Harper, Stacy Henry, Joanne Mealia, Donna Morris, Lance Wyndon Katharine Mulky Warne ’45 by her daughters, Carolyn Warne ’83 and F. Katharine Warne Riggs

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




A portal to t he past

“ The Rose Porch Entrance is so named from the Lady Banksia Rose which completely hides the great fluted columns and runs up on the building forty-five feet. It is all from two roots and has several branches as large around as one’s wrist. It blossoms in early May in immense clusters of snowy white, and is a sight which visitors come many miles to see.” —Reverend Rodney Tabor

Like many visitors to the bucolic grounds

of Mills College, the Reverend Rodney Tabor was struck by the beauty of the

landscape and elegant campus buildings.

He was also an early adopter of the newest technology—in 1885, that was photographic cameras and film plates. “The grounds consist of ninety acres of hill, glen, meadow, wood, and stream—a natural park immensely improved by culture, which is full of pictures,” he wrote in an album of images he recorded of this lovely place. “We have over 80 negatives taken here, and the picturesque effects are by no means exhausted.” One hundred and thirty years later, Tabor’s album resides at the California State Library, which recently digitized the entire book and has made it available for public view at flipbooks/mills.html. The State Library retains an extensive Mills College collection—including annual catalogs, biographies of past presidents, and works authored by Mills alumnae—most of which are kept in the California History Room. Photo digitiz ation courtes y of V ince Beiderbeck e, C alifornia S tate Libr ary

Alumna Trustee Ballot Nominee statements for the 2016–19 alumna trustee are printed on page 14.

To vote on paper:

We now offer two ways to vote—online and by paper ballot!

  Yvonne Payne Daniel, MA ’75   Elizabeth Kelley ’86   Samira Kirmiz ’98

To vote online: • Go to the Mills College Alumnae Community, • Alumnae must be registered with the online community in order to cast their vote online. • Registration is free and easy! Visit alumna-trustee-ballot to register and to vote. Your alumna ID is required to register and can be found at the top of your Quarterly mailing label. • Online voting will end at 5:00 pm (PDT) on Wednesday, May 4.

• Use this printed ballot and indicate your choice below:

Vote online or on paper by May 4

• Please mail ballot in a private envelope to: Chair, AAMC Nominating Committee, Mills College, 5000 MacArthur Blvd, MB #86, Oakland, CA 94613 • Paper ballots must include the mailing label on the reverse side. To maintain confidentiality, voter names will be inked out before ballots are passed on to the Nominating Committee chair. • No faxed ballots or call-ins will be accepted. • Ballots must be received at Reinhardt Alumnae House by 5:00 pm (PDT) on Wednesday, May 4.

NOTE: Whether you vote online or by paper ballot, only one vote per alumna will be accepted. Any alumna casting multiple votes will invalidate all of her votes. Upon request, the Alumnae Association of Mills College will send a spring Quarterly to replace the one from which you have removed this ballot. Call 510.430.2110 or email

Alumnae tr avel 2016 Treasures of Southern Africa October 12–26 Walk in the late Nelson Mandela’s footsteps on Robben Island, visit the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, and thrill to magnificent wildlife and spectacular landscapes, including thundering Victoria Falls (at right), one of the seven Natural Wonders of the World.

Machu Picchu

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

October 31–November 5 Travel to this remote mountain citadel and explore the famous city of Cusco in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Ride the train through the Urubamba valley to visit a traditional Andean rural community and a modern artists’ colony.

Cuba November 7–14 This people-to-people exploration provides opportunities to learn about contemporary and historic Cuba through insightful discussions with local experts. Meet artists, musicians, religious leaders, and teachers and venture to a model socialist community in the Sierra del Rosario mountains, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

Victoria Falls, South Africa

Mills Quarterly Mills College 5000 MacArthur Blvd. Oakland, CA 94613-1301 510.430.3312

Join us for Commencement! Saturday, May 14 ◆ 9:45 am ◆ Holmgren Meadow ◆ All alumnae are invited to come to campus to celebrate the graduating class of 2016 and bid farewell to President Alecia DeCoudreaux. ◆ Oceanographer, explorer, author, and lecturer Sylvia Earle will present the keynote address. ◆ The annual general meeting of the Alumnae Association of Mills College will take place at Reinhardt Alumnae House following the president’s reception after the ceremony.

Sylvia Earle is a National Geographic Society explorer-in-residence and was named the first “Hero for the Planet” by Time magazine. A former chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), she has led more than a hundred expeditions— and logged more than 7,000 hours underwater. Her research concerns exploration and conservation of marine ecosystems with a special focus on preserving a global network of areas on land and sea to safeguard the planet’s living systems, maintain biodiversity, and provide resiliency in the face of accelerating climate change. She holds a BS from Florida State University, MS and PhD from Duke University, and has received more than 100 national and international honors. p h o t o b y b at e s l i t t l e h a l e s , n at i o n a l g e o g r a p h i c