Mills Quarterly, Summer 2019

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Mills Quarterly Summer 2019

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Mills Quarterly




Summer 2019

8 Commencement 2019: A soggy but memorable day 10 A Free-Spirited Life Launched by Dance by Jude Joffe-Block Even at 102 years old, Eleanor Stauffer Neely ’38 still fondly remembers the early days of dance at Mills.

12 Dancing with Destiny by Jane Fries, MA ’94 Eighty years ago, the Big Four modern dancers brought a new form to campus for a legendary summer session.

16 A Piece of the Puzzle by Allison Rost The way forward for Mills involves stronger partnerships with the Oakland communities surrounding campus.

32 New food pantry serves Mills students by Lila Goehring ’21

Departments 2

Letters to the Editor


President’s Message


Mills Matters


20 AAMC News 22 Class Notes 29 In Memoriam


On the cover: Marian Van Tuyl, a former Mills professor and a giant in modern dance, was just one of the many luminaries who taught the developing style to students at the 1939 summer dance session, which the College hosted in conjunction with Bloomington College. That summer set the stage for Mills’ burgeoning dance program to become its own department. Read more on page 12. Photo by Imogen Cunningham.

Letter to the Editor

Volume CVIII, Number 4 (USPS 349-900) Summer 2019

The spring Mills Quarterly noted the

Vera’s Oakland placed among those cit-

passing of Vera Johnson Pitts ’52.

ies fiercely segregated by race and class,

Her obituaries in the Quarterly and

worlds away from the elite environment


of the campus.




accomplishments, but Vera is also to

This history prepared her for Stockton

be remembered for her impact on the

and the not always positive impact it was

women she mentored during her long

making on our lives as black girls. Unlike

life, including those of

some in the post-Brown

us women of color who

vs. Board of Education era,

were in her junior high

Vera did not marginal-

classes. Her fascinating

ize us or our families. Her

Vice President for Institutional Advancement Jeff Jackanicz

Mills experiences as a

mere presence was part of

girl of “modest means”

a growing social transition;

inspired me to apply for

she was aware that we were

Senior Director of the Annual Fund and Alumnae Relations Nikole Hilgeman Adams

admission. I am a mem-

watching her, trusting her

ber of the Class of 1968

for cues of how to become



in the emerging world.

Pitts was my seventh-

Vera took me to my first

President Elizabeth L. Hillman

Managing Editor Allison Rost Design and Art Direction Nancy Siller Wilson Editorial Assistant Lila Goehring ’21 Contributing Writers Jane Fries, MA ’94 Jude Joffe-Block 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 © 2019, Mills College Address correspondence to Mills Quarterly, Mills College, 5000 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland, CA 94613. Email: Phone: 510.430.3312 Printed on recycled paper containing 10 percent post-consumer waste.





social studies teacher.

Vera Johnson Pitts ’52

meeting. I don’t recall hear-

Yearbook photos from

ing her refer to herself as a feminist, but

Vera exuding that same engaging confi-

Vera herself and that exposure to AAUW

dence and perseverance that later enrap-

significantly influenced my understand-

tured students. Within 10 years, Vera

ing of how women and girls navigated

was among a group of “well-educated,

education, community, and society.


Before “black is beautiful” catch-

teachers recruited to desegregate the

phrases, makeup that matched all skin

faculties at several K-8 schools with

colors, and hair products that embraced

growing populations of working-class

all hair types, Vera helped us appreci-

minority and white students in Stockton,

ate that we had beauty, too. A friend

California. She would be my teacher and

reminded me of Vera’s arrangement for

later my counselor at Fremont Junior

the black girls at our junior high school

High School.

to attend a “hair-care session” with her




The Stockton Unified School District

own hairstylist during school. Vera, too,

was located in a post-war, 1950s small

was a vision with her carefully mani-

town dominated by the agricultural

cured red nails, smart clothes, “pointy

industry, highly segregated by race, and

toe” shoes while a driving a convertible!

further stratified by class. While only 60

In her classroom, and later as guidance

miles from the Bay Area, it could have

counselor, she encouraged us to achieve

been on the moon for its access to cul-

academically and to think beyond high

tural and educational opportunities for

school. Through her lasting influence,

everyone. Vera inherently understood

including how to rise above microag-

the situation, probably because of her

gressions, other early K-8 students as

own background in urban Oakland.

well as later graduate students achieved

the 1950s—before the Brown vs. Topeka Board





College may have been in Oakland, but 2


University Women (AAUW)

her freshman year (circa 1948) show

She’d grown up in the Oakland of (Please use outline)

American Association of

more academically and professionally. Her legacy will last for a long time. –Barbara Morrow Williams ’68, Henderson, Nevada

A Message from the President of Mills College By Beth Hillman S TE V E BABUL JAK

Summertime affords the Mills College campus and its students a chance to reset for a new academic year. Students are already anticipating their fall 2019 courses, including those that filled up fastest during spring registration: Animal Behavior, Black Feminist Theory, The Gallery as Laboratory, Climate Change, and Introduction to Computer Science. We’re




College’s 11th and final year of offering summer language immersion programs at Mills, which gives us an opportunity to open our campus to other summer uses that will build new bridges to Mills, and to the world. I’m especially excited at the chance to expand the girls’ leadership programs we’re able to support, which already include the Girl Scouts, Techbridge Girls, Go Girls!, Girls’ Leadership, and the GE Girls. Mills is also building new bridges to the City of Oakland, now a place of daz-

The first new skyscraper to be built since

Bay Area Higher Education Leadership

zling diversity and rich history as well

2002 will open this year, followed soon

Council; statewide, through our collabo-

as fast-paced economic development.

after by another, and mobile financial

rations with community college districts

Recently named the most ethnically

services giant Square, Inc. will move into

and my presence on the executive com-

diverse city in California and the sev-

Uptown Station. The healthcare industry

mittee of the Association of Independent

enth-most diverse city in the U.S. (just

is the largest employer in Oakland, and

Colleges and Universities; and nationally,

behind New York and above San Jose)

it added jobs and opportunity over the

as I’ve shared news of Mills College while

because of the wide variety of spoken

last year as well. The Port of Oakland,

presenting the findings of The National

languages and ethno-racial population

with growing maritime and aviation

Academies of Science, Engineering, and

groups, Oakland is also experiencing

operations, remains a powerful engine

Medicine’s study about sexual harass-

an unprecedented boom in construc-

for global trade.

ment to audiences of medical doctors, researchers, scholars, and administrators

tion, its lowest unemployment rate in

I’ve been meeting personally with

years, rising wages, and the benefits

civic and business leaders who are both

and community pressures of a thriving,

creating and responding to Oakland’s

Each of these connections generate

diverse economy. Between this year and

expanding economy. All are focused

more opportunity for Mills and our

2021, more than 9,300 housing units,

on building more housing to limit dis-

students. Political leadership as well as

240,000 square feet of new retail space,

placement and improve job opportuni-

economic leadership matters: for the

and 945,000 square feet of new office

ties for current residents. Mills College

first time ever, both Oakland (Libby

space will be completed. Commercial

is in Oakland’s District 6, which last fall

Schaaf) and San Francisco (London

real estate development has been a key

elected Loren Taylor, an enterprising new

Breed) are led by women mayors! As

driver of new investment, and employ-

City Council member who is already

Oakland becomes a full-fledged leader

ment has risen in economic sectors as

a familiar figure on the Mills campus.

in California’s innovation economy,

disparate as leisure and hospitality (with

Meanwhile, Mills is becoming more vis-

Mills’ commitment to gender and racial

tourism on the rise), and technical and

ible locally through our partnerships

equity, women’s leadership, and educa-

goods-producing industries. The physi-

with the City of Oakland, the Oakland

tion will shape the future, with the com-

cal and economic transformation of

Promise, Alameda County, the University

munity engagement of our students and

downtown Oakland is also underway:

of California, Berkeley, as well as the

faculty leading the way.

across the country.



Mills Matters A fond farewell to six retiring faculty members Congratulations to the following

• Professor of Dance Sonya Delwaide-

Professor of Mathematics Maia Averett

members of the Mills faculty on their

Nichols has taught Mills dancers

mentioned Li Santi’s nurturing person-

retirements! Their contributions to the

ballet, jazz, modern, and Chinese folk

ality, recalling that she team-taught an

Mills community, including 132 years

dance since 2003. In that time, she

algebra class with Averett during her

of combined service, were honored on

has continued her extensive choreog-

first year at Mills despite receiving no

May 9 at the Retiring Faculty Reception

raphy career, working with companies

teaching credit for the gesture. Li Santi

in Mills Hall.

worldwide and nearby, including the

departs Mills having been selected

• Professor of Education Ruth Cossey

Oakland Ballet. In 2015, she was com-

by the Associated Students of Mills

missioned to create a piece inspired

College to receive the Outstanding

by Erno von Dohnanyi’s “Romantic

Teacher Award.

has been teaching at Mills since 1993. A specialist in teaching math and science, Cossey often returned to public school classrooms in addition to working at Mills, most recently

Serenade String Trio in C Major” for Diablo Ballet in Walnut Creek. • Diane Ketelle, ’78, Cred ’87, MA

• The renowned jazz musician Roscoe Mitchell, who has complemented a lifetime of impressive performances

as a first-period algebra teacher at

’89, dean of the School of Education

and recordings with an academic

Montera Middle School in Oakland.

since 2016, retires after 15 years at

career at institutions such as the

At the retirement reception, Associate

Mills. She also directed the EdD,

California Institute of the Arts,

Provost Sheila Lloyd remarked that

MA, and Administrative Credential

Stanford University, and Oberlin

Cossey would say, “How can I develop

programs, as well as the Joint MBA/

College, came to Mills in 2007. He

teachers if I can’t do the work?”

MA in Educational Leadership. Prior

has been the three-time recipient of

to her appointment, she served as

the world-renowned Darius Milhaud

principal at two schools in Northern

Professorship in Music. “It has been

California, but she started her pro-

an honor and a privilege to teach all

fessional life as a circus clown and

the brilliant students I had a chance

tightrope walker across the United

to work with for the last 12 years,”

States and Europe.

he says. “I’m also humbled by the

• Departing Mills after 38 years, Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science Barbara Li Santi was hailed by her colleagues as an

opportunity to befriend, and collaborate with, my colleagues in the Music Department.” • Linda Perez, who has been teaching

integral part of the department as

in the School of Education since 1995,

well as the Strike of 1990. Associate

is a licensed clinical psychologist who brought her experience working with children at the University of California Medical Center in San

Top: Sonya Delwaide-Nichols (center) with dance colleagues Molissa Fenley (left) and Ann Murphy (right). Right: Barbara Li Santi (middle) with, from left, Susan Wang, Maia Averett, Ellen Spertus, and Almudena Conrad.

Francisco to develop the oneof-a-kind Infant Mental Health Accelerated Graduate Program. In retirement, she will receive a child abuse prevention grant to provide early intervention services for prenatally exposed infants and their mothers. “The relationships created along the way with students and colleagues have been the best moments,” she says.



Wendi S. Williams named dean of School of Education Formerly the associate dean of academic affairs at Bank Street College of Education in New York, Williams is a strong proponent of racial literacy and dismantling biases in schools. Her research has been published in journals such as The New Educator and Praeger Handbook for Social Justice and Psychology. “I am grateful for the opportunity to apply my deep feminist values and cultural foundation to the work of education, a field so in need of authentic, humane approaches to work with children, families, and communities,” she says. She earned her PhD in counseling psychology at Georgia State University.

Mills helps found harassment collaborative One year ago, Mills President Elizabeth L. Hillman served

In the announcement of the collaborative’s creation,

on the committee that compiled a report on sexual harass-

President Hillman was quoted as saying, “It’s exciting

ment in college and universities with the help of The National

to see academic institutions come together to address sexual

Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. In 2019,

harassment in a collective, structural approach to ending

that report is being turned into action.

long-standing patterns of discrimination.”

Mills is one of 28 founding members of the Action

The 2018 report, titled “Sexual Harassment of Women:

Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment in Higher

Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences,

Education, which aims to gather university leaders from

Engineering, and Medicine,” found that sexual harassment

across the world in an ongoing arena where research can

affects between 20 and 50 percent of female students and more

be conducted and policies tested for the purpose of alleviat-

than 50 percent of female faculty and staff members. For more

ing the problem. There are an additional 15 institutions that

information about the collective, visit

are members of the collaborative, including colleges such as


Harvard University, Dartmouth College, UC Berkeley, and the American University in Cairo.

Changes afoot for summer program After 10 years of partnership,

Italian, and Korean pass through this

Middlebury College is currently

campus during its time in Oakland,

holding its last summer language

which provided an intense experi-

Barrett Biology Research Program,

immersion program at Mills. In 2020,

ence—participants even ate together

which gives undergraduates the chance

the program will regroup closer to

and conversed in their language of

to work on projects during a 10-week

Middlebury’s Vermont campus, shar-

study. Middlebury will continue to

summer session with the guidance of

ing hosting duties with Bennington

offer full and 80-percent scholarships

a faculty member. Jared Young, associ-

College, which is about 90 miles away.

to Mills students who participate in

ate professor of biology and head of the

According to Middlebury, the closer

the program.

Biology Department, has served as the

proximity of the two sites is the major reason for the change. The Middlebury-Mills collaboration saw about 300 students of Arabic,

Further options are under develop-

Science, and STEM camps. One of those programs is the Jill

program’s director since 2006. He is

ment to augment the current slate

going on sabbatical, so while he is away,

of summer activities at Mills, which

Associate Professor of Biology Jenn

include bridge programs, Summer of

Smith will take over his leadership role. SUMMER 2019



On Saturday, April 20, the Mills rowing team participated in the Northwest Collegiate Conference Championships on Lake Vancouver, Washington— and alumnae were right there to cheer them on! The nearby Portland Mills Club in Oregon showed up in force to support their younger peers, as were Mills President Elizabeth L. Hillman and First Lady Trish Culbert. In the varsity four race, Mills rowers topped Pacific Lutheran, University of the Pacific, and Lewis & Clark for the win with a time of 8:15.0.

Opening opportunities for more students at Mills Another partnership to bring students

community college and then transition to

Reality” brought together President

to Mills is in the works, this time with

a private, four-year college while strength-

Elizabeth L. Hillman and Lokey School

the Alameda Unified School District.

ening ties across our region. It is an amaz-

of Business and Public Policy Dean Kate

The new Mills-Alameda Promise pro-

ing opportunity for Alameda students.”

Karniouchina with representatives from

gram will provide scholarship oppor-

This new partnership came to light

Merritt College, Holy Names University,

tunities to any Alameda Unified senior

just before Mills hosted a conversation

and the City of Oakland for an in-depth

who’s admitted to Mills with at least a

about affordable higher education in

discussion about first-generation col-

3.2 GPA as well as a way for College of

conjunction with public radio station

lege students on Wednesday, March 20

Alameda students to transfer to Mills

KQED. Part of the East Bay Community

(below). The session was moderated by

after earning their associate degrees.

Conversations series, “Higher Education

Janet Miller Evans and LaNiece Jones

That Joint Admission Guarantee will

and the California Dream: Myth or

with the KQED Community Advisory

provide College of Alameda students with resources, such as the Mills Promise Leadership Academy and academic success teams, when they begin studying for their bachelor’s degrees at Mills. “I am thrilled to see the launch of the Joint Admission Guarantee program,” says College of Alameda President Tim Karas. “This provides a pathway for students to begin their college career at a




Campus kudos A selection of recent achievements by faculty, staff, and students The San Francisco Chronicle published

published 50 years ago with much less

playing techniques, object

photographs by Adjunct Professor of

sophisticated equipment.

preparations, and electronic

Studio Art Jennifer Brandon and dis-

Associate Professor of Philosophy Jay

processing she has re-defined the

cussed her artistic technique in an April

Gupta is the new book review editor for

instrument’s capacities.” Parkins has

9 article.

the journal Telos. He previously served

also designed her own electronic

as the publication’s editorial associate.


The music of creative writing student Emily Brown, MFA ’20, caught the

After new accusations of inappropri-

A 1991 report by Professor of

attention of the blog SF Station, which

ate contact were leveled against former

Computer Science Ellen Spertus was

focused on two of her albums: Bee Eater

Vice President Joe Biden this spring,

referenced in “The Secret History

(released summer 2018) and Bee Sides

Barbara Lee Distinguished Chair in

of Women in Coding,” a feature in

(released in March).

Women’s Leadership Margo Okazawa-

The New York Times Magazine on

The pinhole-camera creations of

Rey spoke on air to KTVU about the

Sunday, February 17.

Assistant Adjunct Professor of Studio

ongoing shifts in acceptable behavior

Art Chris Fraser were the focus of

for a politician.

Artworks by Professor of Studio Art Catherine Wagner and the late Professor Jay DeFeo are on

a KQED interview with Pendarvis

Musician and Artist in Residence

Harshaw that aired on March 29.

Zeena Parkins received a fellowship

exhibit at the San Jose Museum of

from the John Simon Guggenheim

Art. Catherine Wagner: Paradox

paper by Professor Emerita of Chemistry

Memorial Foundation. In recognizing

Observed is on view through Sunday,

Sandra Greer on the crystal structure of

her work on the harp, the foundation

August 18, and Undersoul: Jay DeFeo

fluorine and confirmed the data that she

said, “Through the use of expanded

is on view through Sunday, July 7.


German scientists re-examined a 1968

Calendar Mills College Art Museum 2019 Art + Process + Ideas (A+P+I) Exhibition June 23–September 1 Opening reception, June 22, 5:00 pm–7:00 pm

This year’s speaker for the Russell Women in Science lecture was Cori Bargmann, the head of science for the Chan-Zuckerburg Initiative in San Francisco as well as the Torsten N. Wiesel Professor at The Rockefeller University in New York. Bargmann spoke about her experience as a leader in neuroscience to students, staff, and invited guests in the Student Union on Wednesday, April 10. The annual Russell Women in Science lecture is sponsored by Cristine Russell ’71 to elevate the voices of women scientists and their research.

Current A+P+I artists in residence Constance Hockaday and Cate White show their work. Hockaday’s FutureHellNow is an installation and performance space that explores American ideas of disaster and the future. White displays writing, paintings, sculpture, and an installation centered on gender, race, power, and beauty. The A+P+I program supports Bay Area artists with community-centered approaches to art-making who experiment and lift up social consciousness. The museum is open 11:00 am–4:00 pm Tuesday through Sunday, 11:00 am–7:30 pm Wednesday. Admission is free. Visit for more information.




Commencement 2019: A soggy but memorable day


T’S SUCH A RARE EVENT that few remember exactly the

but also on behalf of all the generations that came before us,

last time it happened, but if alumnae memory serves, it’s

because their work and our work is not done.”

been nearly three decades since it rained at Commencement.

This year’s Commencement speaker was Lauren Underwood,

It’s time to reset the clock, because Saturday, May 18 dawned

the 32-year-old member of the House of Representatives from

with a high probability of rain thanks to a late spring storm

the Fourteenth Congressional District of Illinois who was

making its way through the Bay Area. The forecasts were cor-

swept into Congress—along with many other women of color—

rect; at about 11:30 a.m., the skies opened up as about 500

in the 2018 midterm election. She was introduced by her House

graduates were lining up to receive their diplomas, and it

colleague—Barbara Lee ’73.

didn’t let up until the evening hours. But even with the rain, Commencement made for a joyful day.

Underwood characterized her run for office as being prompted by her district incumbent’s vote to repeal the Affordable Care

Before the downpour, the Class of 2019—along with family,

Act’s pre-existing condition stipulations. Underwood has a heart

friends, and faculty—heard from several energizing orators,

condition, so she decided to take on that issue herself—and she

including undergraduate speaker Mariam Baqai and graduate

encouraged the audience to follow a similar path. “Sometimes the

speaker Ingrid Rivera-Guzman. Both spoke about the impact

only way to get better policies is to get someone different to make

that the fraught political era had on their time at Mills.

the decisions—and sometimes that person has to be you,” she said.

“Being ‘woke’ doesn’t mean you simply call people out.

That energizing spirit also made its way into President

Rather, it requires calling people in and helping them become

Elizabeth L. Hillman’s closing remarks: “Tomorrow will bring

woke,” Rivera-Guzman said. “We have the privilege to speak

other challenges, perhaps other allies; what’s necessary is that

up and speak out on behalf of not only future generations,

we act with conviction today,” she said.

Barbara Lee (far left) introduced this year’s Commencement speaker, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood; right: Graduate speaker Ingrid Rivera-Guzman. 8


bent twigs ‘Tis education forms the common mind: Just as the twig is bent, the tree’s inclined. —Alexander Pope, 1734

Alicia McDaniel ’16 with sister Melissa McDaniel, MBA

Rachel Pignata and mother Kimberly “Kim” Bandel ’85

Melissa Berkay and mother Andrea Figueroa Berkay ’79

Sela Marianna Kerr and grandmother Linda Carol Barton White ’74

A Bent Twig is a Mills student or alumna whose family tree includes another Mills alumna. Bent Twig photos by Dana Davis.

The presentation of the class gift: this year’s graduating seniors collected $3,619.03 to benefit the new Mills Pantry (see page 32). While she’s technically not a Bent Twig, Lucy Reinhardt, MA (center), is the great-granddaughter of former Mills President Aurelia Henry Reinhardt. Here, she’s pictured with a painting of her greatgrandmother and her parents, Lucy and G. Frederick Reinhardt.

Many graduating students and their families stuck it out through the rain.



A Free-Spirited Life Launched By Dance BY JUDE JOFFE-BLOCK


When Eleanor Stauffer Neely ’38 arrived at Mills College

snowy hair and a sunny personality. She still has a dancer’s

as a freshman in 1934, she had never heard of modern dance.

poise and straight back. On a recent morning at her apartment

Back in her hometown of Phoenix, she had studied ballet and

in a senior community in Scottsdale, Arizona, she described

danced in vaudeville-like performances in movie theaters

how those first modern dance classes some 85 years ago at

before the main attraction.

Mills set her on course for an adventurous life.

But Mills in the 1930s was becoming a hub for a liberated,

Neely’s arrival at Mills coincided with the first year the

expressive dance style paired with percussion-heavy and

College offered dance as a major. She studied under Tina Flade,

sometimes discordant music. Neely was soon

a young German rising star in modern

hooked on it.

dance who had just begun teaching at

“Oh, I just fell in love with it rather than bal-

Mills. “Tina was a wonderful, wonder-

let,” Neely said in a recent interview. “It was w

ful teacher,” Neely said. “She was this

freer. That was the whole point of it.”

tiny little nervous thing.”

Neely is now an energetic 102-year-old with

The 1936 yearbook photo of Dance Club, from Neely’s sophomore year, shows her and four other students in matching long-sleeved tunics. They all balanced on one arm with one leg extended and the other arm shooting up to the sky. Flade lunged next to them, with her chin up and dark hair falling behind her. The following summer, Neely traveled to Bennington College in Vermont for more dance training. The faculty at the Bennington summer sessions included the “Big Four” pioneers of modern dance: Hanya Holm, Martha Graham, Charles Weidman, and Doris Humphrey. (Bennington’s summer session of dance instruction was held on the Mills campus in 1939, see “Dancing with Destiny” on page 12). One of Neely’s photo albums includes a series of black-andwhite portraits of herself from that era. They show her on a grassy lawn, barefoot and smiling as she cartwheeled and vamped for the camera. When the Bennington summer session ended, Neely did not return to Oakland to start her junior year at Mills as originally planned. Instead, she followed Holm, her instructor, to New York City to continue studying at Holm’s renowned studio. Neely’s move to New York City did not faze her parents. “I remember my father saying, ‘We just never know what she’s going to want to do next,’” she said. Her father, Charles Stauffer, was the publisher of The Arizona Republic at the time, and her mother, Edith, prompted the newspaper society pages to keep track of Neely’s activities. “Phoenix Girl Wins Honor” read one Arizona Republic head-



line in February 1937, when Neely was chosen to be part of

Francisco to look for a job. She tried out for a typist position

Holm’s elite group of traveling dancers. As part of the group,

at Bethlehem Steel, even though she did not have much typ-

she performed at college campuses all over the country. Her

ing experience. (At Mills, a friend who owned a typewriter had

mother sometimes traveled from Phoenix to watch.

typed Neely’s college papers for her.)

More than eight decades later, Neely has not forgotten the feeling of a particularly dramatic leap she mastered under Holm’s instruction. “It was just full freedom,” she said. “It was like a bird flying.”

“I typed minus 10 words a minute,” Neely said with a laugh. “And they gave me a job because they needed bodies.” World War II had begun and Bethlehem Steel, which built ships, was expanding. She roomed at a boarding house, which is

Neely also remembers attending shows in New York City,

where she met her future husband, a Stanford graduate named

often from the highest, cheapest seats in the theater. “The

Guy Neely. They married in Reno in 1943 while he was working

Rockettes were like little dolls. I couldn’t get much of an

as an accountant for the Navy. The couple had four daughters and eventually moved back to Neely’s hometown of Phoenix. Her youngest daughter, Patty Flynn, remembers growing up with a mother who would pirouette from one end of the room to the other and eagerly sampled new food and experiences. “She always said, ‘Find something new and interesting to talk about at the dinner table, always have it in reserve,’” Flynn said. “She was always on the frontier of ideas.” Neely began practicing transcendental meditation nearly 50 years ago, long before most Americans had heard of it. She still does mindful breathing every day. Her spirit for adventure has not faded with age, either. Neely snorkeled in the Galapagos Islands at age 89 and she traveled to China in her nineties. She has celebrated the births of 11 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, though her husband passed away in 2006. These days, Neely plays bi-weekly bridge games, reads novels and health magazines, and knits “constantly.” She credits her vegetable-heavy diet for her longevity.

impression,” she said. Of course, a former Rockette is now a neighbor in her Scottsdale senior community, she quipped. A back injury ended Neely’s burgeoning dance career sometime in the late 1930s. She underwent surgery and could not

And hanging on her bedroom wall is one of her most treasured possessions: an ink image of her former mentor, Hanya Holm, dancing in a full skirt. It’s a daily reminder of her own foray into the cutting edge of modern dance all those years ago. ◆

return to the dance studio, but she did return to Mills. By then, her original class had graduated, and she lived in graduate housing with other students closer to her age. She spent most weekends in San Francisco, where her older sister Dorothy lived with her husband near Golden Gate Park. Neely remembers picnics and beach trips, followed by Sunday ferry rides back to Oakland at dusk. Sometimes she would go on dates with Stanford men, who would invite her for walks through the eucalyptus groves on the Mills campus. One time, she remembers, she and a date were robbed at gunpoint on a road above campus. Neely switched her major to psychology. She remembers per-

This is the first in a series of stories celebrating the lives of Mills alumnae who have reached the century mark. Are you (or do you know of) someone who we should feature? Tell us about the centenarian Mills graduates in your life at or 510.430.3312.

forming at the top of her class and a professor nudging her towards graduate school. Instead, after graduating Mills in 1941, she moved to San SUMMER 2019


Dancing w/Destiny The historic 1939 dance summer session brought stars of the form to Mills— and laid the groundwork for the College’s own place in the art’s history. By Jane Fries, MA ’94

Hanya Holm

A throng of barefoot dancers run and leap across what was then

dance students descended on campus to live, learn, and work

called Toyon Meadow, their loose hair flying behind them. Dressed

together, to dance all day, and to discover what a commitment

identically in heavy knit cotton leotards, they curve their arms

to a dance career would really mean. The students, ranging in

gracefully as they bend from side to side. They spin in circles to

age from 16 to 48, came from 29 states and five foreign coun-

the left and then to the right, punctuating each change of direction

tries to learn about and participate in the new wave of dance

with a hop, and then drop to the ground in perfect unison. It calls

sweeping across America. These were the early years of modern

to mind a scene from a movie—and it actually was.

dance when passions soared, and the attendees would remem-

This unique moment in Mills College history took place 80

ber their six weeks of studying at Mills as one of the most mar-

years ago during the summer of 1939, when more than 150

velous experiences of their lives. It also laid the foundation



for the College’s dance department to evolve into the internationally renowned program it is now.

While at Bennington, Cassidy made a fateful connection with Marian Van Tuyl, a dance teacher at the University of

The driving force behind this memorable summer of dance

Chicago who had also been studying and performing at

was Rosalind Cassidy, chair of the Department of Physical

Bennington. Cassidy offered Van Tuyl a job teaching dance at

Education at Mills before dance was a separate entity at the

Mills College, which she began in the fall of 1938. Van Tuyl

College. She was dedicated to making Mills a center of dance

assisted in facilitating Bennington’s move to Mills for the sum-

in the West, and in 1934 she had recruited two esteemed mod-

mer of 1939; however, as she ruefully recalled in a 1977 inter-

ern dancers from Germany—Hanya Holm and Tina Flade—

view with fellow dance faculty member Eleanor Lauer, “I had to

to teach at Mills during summers and the regular academic

miss it because I had previously committed myself to teach at

year. Cassidy also directed the Mills summer sessions, which

the University of Washington in Seattle.”

for more than a decade had drawn musicians, visual artists,

The 1939 summer session was an outward-looking experience— an opportunity for professional artists and students alike to socialize and share ideas. In addition to the dance program, Benny Goodman and the Budapest String Orchestra were in residence, and photographer Barbara Morgan presented an exhibition in the Student Union. Attendees could visit the Golden Gate International Exhibition on Treasure Island or make trips into San Francisco, either by ferry boat or by driving over the newly built Bay Bridge. A brief yet evocative record of the 1939 summer session was captured on film by a 15-member Hollywood crew. It was one of the types of short films produced by the major

The dance session explored what was then considered an experimental form of movement

movie studios in the 1930s and 40s that were frequently shown as part of an evening’s program in

writers, and dancers to campus for weeks of intense work in

theaters. Director/producer Ralph Jester, a former art teacher

their medium of choice. Enthusiastically supported by Mills

at Bennington who later worked under Cecil B. DeMille, shot

President Aurelia Reinhardt, these sessions brought students

four days of classes and performances at Mills. Jester distilled

into direct contact with professional artists and fostered col-

his footage into a 10-minute film designed to introduce mod-

laboration between creatives from wide-ranging disciplines.

ern dance to a widespread mainstream audience. The resulting ALL IM AGES COURTES Y MILL S ARCHI V ES

In addition to teaching at Mills, Flade and Holm had been teaching alternating summers at Bennington College in Vermont. At the time, both schools were small, progressive women’s colleges that championed the arts and nurtured the development of modern dance in their respective regions. Holm encouraged Cassidy, her Mills supervisor, to visit Bennington to survey the dance scene there, and Cassidy returned to Mills determined to make a connection between the two programs. Consequently, the trustees of Mills College, with the backing of President Reinhardt, issued a formal invitation to the Bennington School of Dance to hold its summer session at Mills in 1939, which coincided with the College’s 14th summer session.

Former Professor of Dance Eleanor Lauer, MA '40 (bottom center), was a student at the 1939 summer session



documentary, Young America Dances, was originally intended for release through Paramount Pictures. The film begins with the narrator using an old-timey newsreel announcer voice to proclaim, “Look and see the four greatest names of the modern dance in America. Four creators of new ideas. A new tradition.” Tantalizing clips flash on-screen of a handful of artistic giants: Holm, Martha Graham, Doris A dance class held inside the Art Museum

Humphrey, and Charles Weidman. Often referred to as the Big Four, they transformed dance in the 1920s and ’30s from an imitative art form into a creative one. Inspired by new forces

staple of Graham’s dance technique. (When Graham encoun-

at work in the world, these trailblazing artists renounced the

tered Cunningham at Mills in the summer of 1939, she was so

tradition of dance as spectacle and concerned themselves with

impressed that she immediately recruited him for her company.)

the outward communication of inner experiences.

Another leading light of the next generation, Anna Halprin,

Young America Dances launches into a scene of 20 or so

also participated in the summer dance classes at Mills. In Sallie

dancers lying flat on their backs, each with one leg extended

Ann Kriegsman’s 1981 book Modern Dance in America: The

straight up in the air. As Humphrey beats out the rhythm on a

Bennington Years, Halprin recalled, “The styles were powerful

small drum, the dancers repeatedly bend their knees and flex

statements of each individual dance leader… Eventually I had

their feet, and then extend and point in perfect precision. All

to rid myself of these preconceptions and start all over again

at once their legs come down, and they spring to their feet en

searching for fundamentals and natural movement.” A ground-

masse. Next, a lively Holm claps and counts out loud while her

breaker from the very beginning, Halprin went on to found the

students perform leg-swings. They are in pairs, holding hands

San Francisco Dancers Workshop and the Tamalpa Institute in

to support one another. The narrator chimes in, “No group of


athletes works more earnestly or more tirelessly.” As if on cue,

In addition to dance technique classes, the 1939 summer

each dancer grabs hold of a foot and extends her leg high to

session offered opportunities to experiment with music and

the side.

stage design in service to the principal element of choreogra-

The students who attended the 1939 summer session included

phy. Students tried out new forms of accompaniment for their

some of the most prominent artists of the next generation of

dances in workshops led by pianist/composer Norman Lloyd

modern dancers. The film showcases two future luminaries,

and poet Ben Belitt.

Merce Cunningham and Alwin Nikolais, participating as nov-

Their efforts are illustrated in Young America Dances in a

ice pupils in a dance class. Seated on the floor, they execute a

scene where a group of dancers sit on the floor playing drums

series of demanding contractions and releases that are the

and other percussion instruments. Together they are searching for “unusual rhythms, produced by new and interesting sounds, from bones to bottles,” the narrator declares, as a dancer smashes a bottle hanging from a string. In another segment, a young dancer named Hortense Lieberthal performs a comic solo titled Never Sign a Letter Mrs. to the accompaniment of words read from an Emily Post book of etiquette. Belitt, who directed the exercise, later explained to Kriegsman, “I wanted the dancer to speak and to move inside a matrix of language that mobilized the power of both.” A demonstration of experimentation with scene design follows, as stage designer Arch Lauterer instructs students to help him set the lights for a dress rehearsal by a member of Holm’s dance group named Louise Kloepper. In a highlight of the film, Kloepper performs her solo composition, Statement of Dissent. She strides powerfully across the stage, commanding attention via her large, declamatory upper body gestures. Lauterer was an innovative stage designer who later became a drama professor at Mills. He initiated the use of lighting as the primary element of stage design, as he said in Kriegsman’s book, “to show the movement.” The lighting for Kloepper’s solo is a good example of his ingenuity, as her shadow looms large on

Renowned dancer Doris Humphrey 14


the wall behind her, creating an imposing character of its own. In the film’s concluding scene, Humphrey (dramatically

attired in a long dark dress and a full white cape) sweeps across the Mills dance studio, a group of dancers in tow. They traverse the floor diagonally, propelled by the rebounding momentum of Humphrey’s signature fall and recovery style of dancing. The final version of Young America Dances was previewed in New York and California yet was never distributed to theaters, possibly because Bennington College withheld the use of its name from the film. (Modern-day Bennington could not confirm nor deny the report.) Like most movies produced before the 1950s, Young America Dances was shot on volatile nitrate-based stock that was prone to disintegration. Fortunately, the film was preserved in 1978, courtesy of

Ethel Butler teaches a class in the Greek Theatre that includes Merce Cunningham (top left)

director/producer Ralph Jester, by the American Film Institute at the Library of Congress. As the summer session drew to a close, the Big Four art-

were a fertile period of collaboration and creativity. Rosalind

ists organized a student exhibition in the Mills Gymnasium.

Cassidy invited Jose Limon, Kloepper, and Van Tuyl to teach

According to Karen Burt, who reviewed the event for Dance

dance classes accompanied by musicians Cage, Harrison, and

Observer, “An unexpectedly large, enthusiastic and informal

Esther Williamson. Cage directed two more percussion con-

audience sat or stood on a hard gymnasium floor for very

certs, further advancing the experimentalist movement on the

nearly three hours without intermission to witness what was

West Coast. Van Tuyl choreographed two rousing dances to

probably the longest, and… the most colossal technical dem-

scores by Cage: Fads and Fancies at the Academy in 1940, with

onstration of modern dance ever held.” As the energy in the

a marvelous set design by Bauhaus artist Laszlo Moholy-Nagy,

Gymnasium built up, the story reports, the packed audience

and Horror Dream in 1941. During the 1939-1940 academic school year, Mills President

began stamping their heels on the floor, and the evening cul-

Reinhardt gave Van Tuyl the assignment of teaching a new

minated in thunderous applause. Another momentous event that summer was the Concert of

class called A Survey of Contemporary Fine Arts. Van Tuyl

Modern American Percussion

recruited guest lecturers from other departments

Music directed by John Cage,

in the fine arts and organized field trips to muse-

which drew more than 100 listeners to Lisser Hall. The percussion group was comprised of students (including Merce Cunningham) from the Cornish School in Seattle, who

Sources for this piece include:

ums and concerts around the Bay Area. Impressed

Interview with Marian Van Tuyl conducted by Eleanor Lauer (1977)

other arts, President Reinhardt declared in the

Reminiscences of Marian Van Tuyl Campbell: oral history (1979)

with Van Tuyl’s ability to integrate dance with the spring of 1941 that dance would move out of the Physical Education Department and become an independent program within the Division of Fine

Interview with John Cage conducted by David Vaughan (1978)

Arts. Thus, with Van Tuyl’s enlightened leadership

dance teacher, Bonnie Bird.

Dance Observer (Aug–Sept 1939)

took its place among the leading fields of study

Cage had recently begun work-

Sali Ann Kriegsman, Modern Dance in America: The Bennington Years (1981)

at Mills. It was also one of the first independent

attended the Mills 1939 summer session along with their

ing as a musical accompanist for dance classes at the school. In a 1978 interview with dance archivist David Vaughan, Cage

Elizabeth McPherson, The Bennington school of the dance: a history in writings and interviews (2013)

and President Reinhardt’s keen support, dance

collegiate dance departments in the United States. In a recent interview, Associate Professor of Dance and Dance and Theater Studies Department Head Ann Murphy noted that subsequent to the

explained that he was “teach-

College’s legendary summer of dance, “Mills has

ing the dancers to compose,

been a beacon to dance students everywhere. Even

using percussion instruments.”

people who don’t know much about dance are

Cage’s group performed compositions by fellow musical mav-

aware that creative things happen here.” The dance department

ericks Henry Cowell and Lou Harrison, who were also experi-

has held on to the “core principles of the pioneer generation of

menting with writing percussion music for modern dance.

dance makers,” Murphy added. “We have continued to offer a set

Although the Bennington School of the Dance did not return to Mills after 1939, the following summers at Mills

of tools to shape time and space into form—and then a wonderful array of experimental possibilities.” ◆ SUMMER 2019


A Piece of the Puzzle In a time when the Bay Area is undergoing exponential change, Mills

is situated to grow in new ways right along with it. It’s Renee Jadushlever’s job to figure out what that looks like. CR AIG HACK E Y

IN THE TWO AND A HALF DECADES SHE’S WORKED AT MILLS, Renee Jadushlever has held a number of positions, including library director and the chief of staff for two presidents. These days, her title is vice president for strategic partnerships, a phrase that doesn’t necessarily describe the full breadth of what she does. It’s a job that involves maintaining relationships with the various entities that partner with Mills in some way, whether that’s a small one-day conference on campus (such as the Pathways to Four-Year Universities held this past fall) or this spring’s collaboration with Google for its 10-week Applied Machine Learning Program. The College’s centuries-

One of Vice President of Strategic Partnerships Renee Jadushlever’s many community engagements was the April 3 launch event for United Tech Cities, which aims to bring people of color into tech. Also at the event were basketball players Mustafa Shakur (far left) and Andre Iguodala (center right), as well as real-estate executive Landis Graden (far right).



long relationship with the City of Oakland

area, we have to think about how we’re

forward an opportunity that led to a

is one of the most important she oversees,

using this land in a way that’s sensitive

student being hired to do the qualita-

especially as Oakland has grown and

to what’s happening around us.

tive analysis on a City Equity Indicators

matured since Mills moved to its current

We are surrounded by seven neigh-

project. It’s been a great way to connect

campus in 1871. What used to be a sleepy

borhoods, and we have different rela-

what we’re doing with this busy, thriv-

farming community has transformed into

tionships with each one. A few years ago,

ing community.

a bustling anchor city in the Bay Area

the leadership of the Redwood Heights

Each person in Oakland I have met

that—for better or worse—is shouldering

homeowners’ association came to visit,

at a meeting has led to introductions to

the tech boom along with San Francisco

and they asked how Mills could part-

many others, and provided more oppor-

and the Silicon Valley.

ner with their neighborhood. They also

tunities for getting the Mills name out in

What does that new reality mean for

asked that we report regularly to their

the community.

Mills? In the midst of a busy spring,

email listserv on events or opportunities

Jadushlever sat down with the Quarterly

that might be of interest. In addition to

to talk about the path she sees for the

creating awareness about our programs,

College going forward—and how that

we’ve also kept neighbors informed of

What kinds of partnerships does Mills have at the moment, and how do they fit into our mission?

path is dependent upon the rapidly

unexpected activities on campus, such

Right now, we’re partnering with organi-

changing community around campus.

as a recent Climate Strike Day march by

zations like the Girl Scouts of Northern

Quarterly: How does Mills currently interact with Oakland and the neighborhoods just beyond our campus?

some very vocal students from the Julia

California. Not only is their mission

Morgan School for Girls, which occupies

aligned with ours, but they could serve

a building on campus. After a year or so

as a potential pipeline to the College. On

of connecting to those neighbors, and

April 6, we hosted a “Think Like a Citizen

Renee Jadushlever: Over the decades,

also posting on NextDoor, we have seen

Scientist” creek cleanup for Leona Creek.

Mills has had many successful com-

some positive results from that outreach

Mills faculty, students, and staff were

munity outreach projects, but it has not

with increased neighbor interaction and

involved, and 30 girls and 15 troop lead-

been as top of mind in the community or

event attendance.

ers came. Earlier this year, campus librar-

as present as it could be. Many driving

To keep the Mills campus informed

by the campus have not known what is

about what’s happening in Oakland, I

behind the gates, with some even think-

send out a monthly “Oakland Matters”

We are also working with Techbridge

ing it’s a cemetery! However, once inside

email, compiled from the numerous city

Girls, which is partnering with the clean-

the gates, you see the beauty of our 135-

agency newsletters I subscribe to. I can-

ing product company Method Products

acre campus. We are in a part of Oakland

not tell you how many people have said,

to work with middle- and high-school

and the East Bay that has built up

“You know, I live in Oakland and I didn’t

girls on STEM subjects. The executive

around us, and this is a community that

know any of that!” Keeping an eye out

director wanted access to a science lab,

has been and continues to be affected

for city projects that fit the curricular

which we can provide, for these students

by substantial change. Especially as real

and co-curricular needs of our students

who have never been exposed to a space

estate prices have skyrocketed in this

is important as well. I recently brought

like that. GE Girls, Girls Leadership, and

ians conducted a research workshop to


serve Girl Scouts seeking a Gold Award.



Go Girls! are other STEM-based and/

serve a need both in our community and

other spaces are not utilized to their

or leadership camps that make use of

external neighborhoods.

maximum potential, so we are examin-

our campus and facilities. For each of

We recently met with Loren Taylor, the

ing how to boost that usage and optimize

these partnerships, we make an effort to

new Oakland city councilmember for

our campus, whether through Mills pro-

involve Mills students as project leaders

District 6, and we talked about all of the

grams or usage by other academic insti-

and mentors so they too benefit; they

vacant storefronts going down Seminary

tutions, events, and corporations.

learn from the girls and can share their

Avenue. The neighborhood is a food des-

own knowledge.

ert. If there were a grocery store nearby resources

or on the edge of campus, for example,

and facilities with a number of institu-

people from the different neighbor-

tions, such as the Julia Morgan School

hoods could walk there, possibly going

How does a campus of Mills’s age and stature affect our work with our partnerships? How does it affect what we do going forward?

for Girls, as well as Holy Names High

through campus on the way. Mills could

We’re looking at the historical value of

School, which uses our pool for its

play a role in activating the edges of

our campus while keeping in mind that

swim team. Oakland’s Ubuntu Theater

campus, a practice that utilizes the land

Mills is always evolving. Our buildings

Project is using Lisser Hall as its home

at the fringe of a campus by hosting a

do have deferred maintenance and some

theater. Google brought its Applied

partner like a grocery store, housing, or

infrastructure issues, whether those are

Machine Learning Program to Ege Hall

a restaurant to provide amenities and

seismic issues, the need for technologi-

this spring. And Middlebury College has

services to the community. If the edges

cal improvements, energy efficiencies,

held its language immersion program at

are more active, the core is going to be

or general upkeep. We’re looking at the

Mills for the past decade. It takes some

more active, the neighborhood is going

return on investment, i.e., are we going

time to cultivate good relationships that

to be more active, and more people are

to invest in a building that maybe has

are mission-aligned, and we continue to

going to come to us.

served its purpose over the decades if it




make progress in that area.

The partnerships we form with orga-

doesn’t meet our needs today?

How could our work with neighbors and outside organizations affect the Mills campus?

nizations that come onto campus can

Many alumnae will remember the

also help us secure a predictable source

trek up the hill to Founders Commons.

of income, over and above tuition, and

For decades, students have been asking:

that will help stabilize the budget and

“Why do we have to walk all the way up

Recently, an architect was looking at a

pay the bills. We’ve been working with

the hill to get to Founders?” There have

map of our campus and said, “You are

a company called U3 Advisors to help

previously been architectural plans to

completely insular—everything is look-

us make sense of how the spaces on our

move all of the food to a centralized

ing in.” He’s right! A number of our build-

campus are being used, and it has been

location in the Tea Shop area, so if we

ings have changed direction inwards,

analyzing data collected from physical

proceeded with that, the College would

which could be a reflection of why many

campus surveys and our administrative

have to decide what to do with Founders.

neighbors have not known what was

databases. U3 analyzed 10 years of data

It could become a conference area or a

happening inside our gates. For exam-

about our classes—what rooms they’re

community event center or something

ple, the art museum used to face out to

in, day of the week, times, etc.—to under-

else. This is a good example of why there

a street served by streetcars, and now it

stand how our spaces are utilized and to

needs to be a comprehensive and strate-

faces in. The partnerships that we have

identify times of underutilization.

gic master plan; when a decision is made

with local organizations are one way we

What we found is that there are

on one building, it may very well affect

can open ourselves up, especially when

many times during the week, evenings,

many others, and we have to constantly

they’re aligned with our mission and

or weekends when our classrooms and

re-examine our needs. The issue of an aging campus could also affect retention. When a student decides which college to attend, they examine many factors: faculty, academics, physical spaces and accessibility, and amenities. When other colleges are installing climbing walls or offering concierge food delivery, we need to always keep top of mind how our physical spaces stack up for a 21st-century student.




Why did we bring in an outside company to help us evaluate the Mills campus?

directly surrounding Mills, there are a

dents to be critical thinkers and to adapt

lot of things missing. There’s no grocery

so they can handle those new possibili-

store, there’s no health clinic, there’s no

ties whenever they come up. I used to

library. I don’t think there are too many

travel to Silicon Valley with faculty and

U3 is an organization whose whole pur-

restaurants around. With the way real

staff to talk with different alumnae who

pose is to work with colleges, universities,

estate prices are skyrocketing in Oakland,

were working in tech—even if their posi-

and medical centers to help them opti-

a number of people in essential jobs for the

tion wasn’t technical—and one consistent

mize their land and find partners. We’re

area have been priced out. We are talking

theme that came up was that those tech

not in the business of real estate—we’re

to neighbors and city officials about this

employers were looking for liberal arts

an educational institution—so we need

and more, though lack of affordable hous-

graduates because they have the skill

help from people who have additional

ing in the area always rises to the top of

sets to easily adapt to change.

expertise. They’ve worked with schools like the University of Pennsylvania and Amherst College to help transform their communities by doing things such as buying vacant property around their campuses to improve services for their students and the neighborhood. We don’t want to become a real estate empire, but we do want financial security for Mills, additional opportunities for our students, and improvements for the neighborhood. It’s not something that can happen in five minutes—it takes years to do. We also want to make sure we’re going in a direction that makes sense for Mills. We are exploring partnerships with other academic institutions and see potential in working collaboratively on projects in the tech and healthcare industries. However, it isn’t just U3 doing the work. Associate Professor of Public Policy Mark Henderson teaches a land-planning class at Mills, and his students provided valuable assistance in producing data for the room assessment project as part of


the list. Through continued internal and

If we go back to the Mills core goal to

external engagement, and in combination

provide access and equity to people who

with the research, analysis, and strategy

have been underrepresented in higher

being developed by U3, we look forward to

education, we have remained committed

articulating our vision for campus optimi-

to that mission for 165 years, although

zation—something that is a Mills idea, and

the underrepresented groups may have

The imperative behind doing this at

an Oakland idea.

changed over time. When we were

all is to improve the College’s finan-

founded at the turn of the 19th century,

of income over and above tuition rev-

Would this work potentially limit the ways that Mills can grow in the future?

enue. That would allow us to experi-

Colleges need to be able to evolve to

country to craft an admission policy to

ment and have some leeway in terms

address the needs and expectations of

include transgender students. Mills has

of the budget, specifically since we’re

students and to provide the skills neces-

always been a place that provides access

still under the Financial Stabilization

sary for success in the workforce. There

to a transformative kind of education,

Plan. Beyond that, we want to improve

was a recent article in The New York Times

and these strategic partnerships help

employment and learning opportuni-

that said a student graduating today will

us stay dynamic enough to address the

ties for our own students and people in

change their career seven times, but 65%

needs of our own Mills community—and

the neighborhood.

of those careers have not yet been iden-

to be a point of interest for our immediate

tified. The College needs to educate stu-

neighbors and the City of Oakland. ◆

their classwork. Engaging students in the analysis has been another side benefit coming out of this partnership.

How will Mills ultimately benefit from this work?

cial picture, to have a steady stream

If you look at the neighborhoods

the goal was to educate women. In 2014, we were the first women’s college in the



AAMC NEWS & NOTES A Message from the AAMC President The Alumnae Association of

cover for more information), came to campus to discuss their

Mills College (AAMC) plays a

career paths with students and provide advice. With the Lorry

major role in connecting Mills

I. Lokey School of Business and Public Policy, we hosted the

students with alumnae, and

Careers in Accounting, Finance and Operations Alumnae

this spring we collaborated

Social, which featured a panel with Charles Osivwemu, MBA

with the College on a number

’15; Claudia Rivas ’05, MBA ’05; and other guests. This event

of festivities and events that

was packed with students, alumnae, and representatives from

did just that. In March, the

various financial and marketing firms.

Alumnae Student Relations

We also organized a couple events on campus just for fun,

Committee hosted the tra-

including a piano concert in Mills Hall by Eileen Huang, MFA

ditional Pearl M Dinner and

’82, founder and director of International Chamber of Music

lantern procession celebrating

Camps and Festivals, and an appetizer-cooking demonstration

the senior Class of 2019 and

at RAH organized by the AAMC’s Lifelong Learning Committee.

welcoming them to the AAMC. The evening concluded with a

Finally, it gives me great joy to welcome our new alumna

champagne reception at the Reinhardt Alumnae House (RAH).

trustee and governors, profiled on the facing page, to the AAMC

April brought us the Phenomenal Woman of Color dinner,

Board of Governors. With much gratitude, we say goodbye to

hosted by the Alumnae of Color Committee. The committee

our outgoing alumna trustee, Yvonne Payne Daniel, MA ’75;

honored an exceptional group of graduating seniors and pre-

and our governors, Gloria Fangon-Hitz ’80; Adrienne Foster

sented Phenomenal Woman Awards to Micheline Beam ’72 and

’74; Kirstyne Lange ’12; and Tara Singh Outrrim ’05, MBA ’07.

the five remarkable Stingily sisters who attended Mills: Adilisha

Their unique contributions to the AAMC made for a vibrant

Hodari ’91, Gloria “Bonnee” Stingily ’90, Jacqueline Stingily ’78 ,

and engaged board.

Linda Stingily ’78, and Yvette Stingily-Williams ’85. Two April events enabled students and alumnae to explore career options together. With the Career Connections

As always, we love to see you on campus, at events like those above, and we look forward to seeing you at Reunion this September!

and Community Engagement Office at Mills, we organized

Best wishes for an enjoyable summer,

a MillsConnect Networking Night. Alumnae members of

Viji Nakka-Cammauf, MA ’82

MillsConnect, our online mentoring platform (see inside back

President, Alumnae Association of Mills College

Eileen Huang, MFA ’82, played traditional Chinese music and selections from Chopin to a rapt audience at Mills Hall Living Room in March, and in April, Katherine Russell Bond ’95 (left) and Susan Thomas ’80 participated in an appetizercooking demonstration at RAH organized by the AAMC’s Lifelong Learning Committee.



Five new governors join AAMC board The AAMC Board of Governors voted to Courtney Long

approve the nominations of a dynamic

Myila Granberry

Debby Dittman

Gwen Foster

cohort of new governors at its May meeting. Each of these governors will serve a

Committee. As a parent and community

1995, and is currently a co-chair of the

three-year term beginning July 1, 2019.

member, Myila has helped to organize

AAMC Alumnae of Color Committee.

Courtney Long ’01 has extensive expe-

conferences and groups that provide

Debby Campbell Dittman ’68 has had

rience in client relations in the financial



dual careers in retail management and

sector as partner solutions representative

lies and students looking for pathways

education as well as a long history of ser-

at Pacific Life Insurance Company. She is

toward a college education. She has also

vice to the College and many other orga-

an enthusiastic volunteer, having served

been quite involved in the activities of

nizations. After serving as student body

as president of Orange County Mills

the AAMC Alumnae of Color Committee

president for the Class of 1968, Debby

College Alumnae since 2015, and previ-

for the past few years and currently

went on to be the Sacramento Mills

ously acting as the group’s vice president

serves as the committee’s co-chair.

Club president in the 1970s and the



and secretary. Courtney has been reg-

Gwen Jackson Foster ’67, a grant writer

1968 class secretary and class agent in

istering voters, canvassing, and phone

and consultant, has applied her skills to

the 1980s. She chaired her class’s 50th

banking to “get out the vote” in California

program and service development in

reunion planning committee from 2014

and Nevada since 2016. Additionally, her

the field of mental health for more than

to 2018. Despite all her work and volun-

work with Pacific Life’s volunteer organi-

40 years. Gwen began her career as a

teer activities, Debby still found time to

zation The Good Guys has allowed her to

clinical social worker, teaching at UC

develop skills in fashion design, lend-

connect with the houseless members of

Berkeley, and grant-writing for several

ing her talents to the Sacramento State

her community through serving at soup

California foundations. More recently,

costume shop and the Junior League of

kitchens and beautifying shelters.

she has written successful proposals for

Sacramento’s children’s theater.

Myila Granberry ’05 is an educa-

nonprofit mental health and domestic

In addition, Debi Wood ’75 has been

tion specialist at the Seneca Family of

violence support providers. Her experi-

elected by Mills alumnae to serve a

Agencies. In this role, she works closely

ence in public, nonprofit, and academic

three-year term as an alumna trustee



organizations has taught her a great deal

on the Mills College Board of Trustees

ing special education support at Cox

about best practices for organizational

and the AAMC Board of Governors. Read

Academy in East Oakland and serves on

success. She previously served on the

about new College trustees, including

the African-American Parent Advisory

AAMC Board of Governors from 1993 to

Wood, in the next issue.




AAMC unveils new logo The Alumnae Association of Mills College (AAMC) intro-

smell as you enter the gate, the sight of the trees as you wander

duced its brand new logo at Commencement in June. This

through campus, and the sound of the wind in the leaves.” In

emblem was created pro bono by Alex Wright, a designer

the AAMC logo, this iconic symbol of Mills combines with the

with an abiding connection to Mills College.

classic “M” of the College’s logo. Together

His father, Jim Wright, was the head of the

with the contemporary font used for the

Theater Department for many years, and his

AAMC name, these elements evoke both

mother, Kennedy Golden, worked for Mills

the independence of the AAMC and its

for more than 40 years, last serving in the

renewed collaboration with the College.

Office of Student Life as associate dean. He

At Commencement, we also unveiled new

even met and married his wife, AAMC gover-

T-shirts and window cling decals sporting

nor Cherlene Sprague Wright ’92, on the Mills

the logo. To purchase, please contact us

campus! When asked about the symbolism of the eucalyptus

at or 510.430.2110, or look for our new mer-

leaf, Alex Wright noted that it “engages all the senses: the

chandise at Reunion in September! SUMMER 2019


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

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

In Memoriam Notices of deaths received before April 10, 2019 To submit listings, please contact or 510.430.2123

Alumnae Frances Dofflemyer Stillwell ’39, January 16, in Visalia, California. Frances was a violinist with the Tulare County Symphony and visited more than 100 countries in her extensive travels. She is survived by three children. Marjorie Weitz Boynton ’39, October 27, 2018, in Fernley, Nevada. Marjorie had just celebrated her 100th birthday before she passed. She spent her entire career working for the Oakland Unified School District before moving to Nevada in 2016. She is survived by a son. Elizabeth “Betty” Spaeth Denton ’42, March 16, in Bishop, California. She was the first female mayor of Bishop and led the League of Women Voters. Betty, who trained in microbiology after Mills, and her late doctor husband used their medical skills around the world on missionary trips to countries such as India, Taiwan, and Lesotho. She is survived by four children and five grandchildren.

Celebrating the life of a true Mills woman: Ariel Eaton Thomas ’63 A former editor of Mills Quarterly, communications specialist for the College, and longtime AAMC volunteer, Ariel Eaton Thomas ’63 died on February 4. Her daughter, Alissa “Evany” Thomas ’92, offers this remembrance. One of the most awful things about my mother getting Alzheimer’s was losing access to her memories when I needed them most. I got pregnant late in life (age 38) when her mind had already started to splinter. Suddenly I had questions that never occurred to me before: How had her pregnancy gone? Did she suffer from debilitating third-trimester heartburn, too? Answers to help me prepare for this huge life experience weren’t there anymore. As my own kid grew up, my mother continued to fade. I got used to not having her memories and advice to dip into. But when she passed away in February, it hit home: I’m on my own here.

Mildred “Mille” Lane Anderson ’44, January 16, in Eureka, California. Mille and her late husband Frank raised their children in Mexico City before returning to the Bay Area. Mille retired to Humboldt County in the 1990s and volunteered extensively at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church. She is survived by two children and four granddaughters.

Writing these very words… my mom would have been the person I’d have called to get this goodbye right. I know she graduated from Mills in 1963. I know she later worked at Mills for more than 30 years. I know her photos and words appeared many times, over many years, in the Quarterly. All the details, though—whens, whos, and whys—are gone.

Miriam Dyer-Bennet May ’44, March 1, in Victoria, British Columbia. At Mills, she played tennis, badminton, and softball, and she was also president of the Official’s Club. Miriam actively fought for justice throughout her life, joining Canadian Voice of Women for Peace in 1967 and participating in demonstrations into her 90s. She is survived by four children and a number of grandchildren.

But here’s what I know without having to ask.

Mary Whitman Temple ’44, January 1, in Tiburon, California. She was predeceased by her sister, Sally Whitman Harty ’35. Mary Ross Parker ’45, January 12, in Spanish Fort, Alabama. After Mills, she earned a degree in occupational therapy from the University of Southern California. Mary was an enthusiastic volunteer for many organizations in the New Orleans area. She is survived by her companion, Tommy V. Shackelford; two children; and three grandchildren. Shirley Schweers Goers ’45, February 15, in Excelsior, Minnesota. She was predeceased by a sister, Mary “Jean” Schweers Burns ’46. She is survived by two children. Isabella Wilder Artman ’46, February 5, in Omaha, Nebraska. Isabella followed her mother and older sister to Mills, where she graduated with a degree in elementary education. She taught all over the United States before she and her family settled in Hays, Kansas. She is survived by four children and three grandchildren.

My mom was a great reader and recipe collector—famous for everything from almond tortes to black bean soup. She gave thoughtful gifts and wholehearted hugs, and got big joy out of small things (smart puns, unfortunate typos, surprising bridge toll-takers by wearing a rubber dog nose on her commute). I remember one Christmas Eve, the local tree lot gave away its extra trees for free. She took home half a dozen so we could wake up Christmas morning surrounded by a whole forest of Douglas Fir. And she truly loved working at Mills. It was a storybook union: the perfect job for her unique set of talents. My mother was a photographer, writer, editor, and designer. She was passionate about women’s education. Whether editing the course catalog or designing a new recruitment brochure, she would get into that flow, the hours-pass-like-minutes groove that’s the hallmark of a job well loved. She’s the reason I am who I am today: a writer, reader, lover of colorful clothes, keeper of lifelong friends, Mills alumna, and wholehearted hugger. And she’s sorely missed by the people of Mills, along with her husband Frank, her family, and family of friends.

Doris Martinsen Hedlund ’46, March 20, in Cayucos, California. After Mills, she earned a MA in psychology from Claremont Graduate University. She met her husband, James, at the University of Iowa. She worked at the Smithsonian, later volunteering at Missouri History Museum during the 24 years her family resided in St. Louis. She is survived by her husband and two daughters.

Lois Hofmann Deaver ’48, January 11, in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Lois returned to her hometown of Cheyenne after graduating from the University of Colorado. There, she pursued many interests, including three years as the President of the Symphony and Choral Society of Cheyenne. She is survived by four children and eight grandchildren.

Sterling Loftin Dorman ’47, February 26, in Lake Oswego, Oregon. She settled in San Diego with husband Chet, to whom she was married for 61 years before his death in 2008. Sterling’s love for family vacations continued up through this past Christmas, when she took her entire family to Hawaii. She is survived by four children and six grandchildren.

Frances Shackleford Leavitt ’48, March 23, in Martinsville, Virginia. Frances was very involved in her community, especially as an elder at Martinsville’s First Presbyterian Church; president of the garden and literary clubs; and board member of the Piedmont Arts Association of Martinsville and Henry County. She is survived by four children and five grandchildren. SUMMER 2019


Beverly “Bevo” Johnson Zellick ’49, MA ’50, April 23, 2018, in Alameda, California. She met her late husband, Ian, while both were Mills graduate students in drama. Bevo extensively volunteered with the AAMC for decades, including on the Board of Governors and as a member of her 50th Reunion Committee. She is survived by three children. Beverly Booth McCauley ’49, December 14, 2018, in Wenatchee, Washington. She and her husband John lived all over the world, eventually returning to the United States to raise their family. After retiring from education, she moved to Washington state to be closer to her children. She is survived by two daughters, including Soosan McCauley Kirbawy ’75, and four grandchildren. Beverly Du Vall Brady ’50, February 3, in Oakland, California. After growing up in Hawaii, Beverly came back to her birthplace of Oakland. Her family home was usually full of loved ones, including 11 dogs, and Thanksgiving always included friends of her children who had nowhere else to go. She is survived by five children and a number of grandchildren. Elizabeth “Betty” Harris Foster ’50, November 20, 2017, in Sacramento, California. Betty was the first African American woman to graduate from Mills. She retired as a tax auditor for the Internal Revenue Service. Betty is survived by six children.

Ruth Libbey Bilheimer ’50, November 6, 2018, in Nevada City, California. A teacher, Ruth was relentless in her zeal for correct usage of the English language. She had a great sense of humor and is lovingly described by her family as a magic show to children and a mystery to adults. Ruth is survived by a sister, two children, and four grandchildren. Marjory “Marge” Abbott, MA ’54, January 4, in Manitou Springs, Colorado. Marge first worked as an occupational therapist before earning her master’s in early education at Mills. She later worked as the principal at for a school for children with disabilities in San Jose. After several decades, she returned home to Colorado to enjoy her many hobbies. She is survived by several nieces and nephews. Diane Goodyear McClure ’55, December 23, 2018, in Corona del Mar, California. After Mills, she earned a MS degree from Fullerton State College and went on to teach in elementary schools in California and Oregon, hitting every grade level along the way. Diane is survived by her husband, four children, and 10 grandchildren. Marianne Crocker Montoro ’55, January 3, in Coral Gables, Florida. She developed her love of orchids while living in Venezuela and continued it once she returned to Miami in the late 1970s, serving as the first woman president of the South Florida Orchid Society. She is survived by two children, three stepchildren, and one grandchild.

Gifts in Memory of Received December 1, 2018 – February 28, 2019 Edith Ejiogu Asika ’64 by Rhoda Krasner ’64 Marilyn Frye Bettendorf, P ’75, by her daughter, Marilyn (Lyn) Barrett ’75

Katherine (Kit) Farrow Jorrens ’57 by her brother, Rodney (Rod) Farrow; Cecilia Moller Murdoch ’57 Joan Bulley Keever ’52 by Antoinette Gibson Bone ’52 Christine Holm Kline ’67 by Lorna Brown Flynn ’67

Beverly Booth McCauley ’49, P ’75, by her daughter, Soosan McCauley Kirbawy ’75

Charles Larsen by Kazuko (Koko) Tsunematsu Tajima ’69, MA ’71

MaryAnn Gillespie Boyd ’57 by her sister-in-law, Julia (Julie) Woodworth Gillespie ’59

James Long, P ’01, by his daughter, Courtney Long ’01

Sara (Sally) Matthews Buchanan ’64 by Mura Kievman ’64

Vivian Schwartz Leith ’55 by Margaret (Peggy) Weber ’65, P ’02

Margaret Lyon ’35 by Kazuko (Koko) Tsunematsu Tajima ’69, MA ’71

Vicki Cameron ’75 by her friends

Neil MacNeil, P ’75, spouse of Leah Hardcastle MacNeil, MA ’51, P ’75, by Kathleen Miller Janes ’69

Carol Barkstrom Carney ’53 by her daughter, Cheryl Lekas

Eloise Randleman McCain ’57 by her spouse, Leonard McCain

Sharon Smilie Clausen ’52 by Antoinette Gibson Bone ’52

Amy Schanno McCarthy ’58 by Mary Huckins Smiser ’58

Findley Randolph Cotton, MA ’58, by Mary Baxter; Suzanne Bridges; Kay Miller Browne ’53, P ’83; her spouse, Donald Cotton; Patricia Guerrero; Jacqueline Knowles; Laura Stetson; Veronica Tam; Karen Warner; Marianne Wright

Diane McEntyre by Elizabeth (Liz) Kelley Quigg, MA ’89

Charlotte (Napela) Heen Cushingham ’55 by Marilyn Morris Campbell ’54

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

Madeleine Ebbesen Davis ’46 by her sister, Cynthia Savell Grace Dote ’63 by Barbara-Sue White ’64, MA ’67 Patricia Ducommun Frey ’56 by Ruth Lima ’56 Steven Givant by Yun Miao ’11, Kirsten Sumpter Pearce ’01, Li Zhou ’93 Rheta Dattner Goldberg ’61, P ’73, by her daughter, Rae Ann Goldberg ’73

Catherine McCormack McGilvray ’56 by Barbara Hunter ’57 Steven Miller, MFA ’89, by Angelique Di Schino Felgentreff ’90

Katherine Morikami, P ’87, by her daughter, Amy Morikami ’87 Katharine Oppenheimer ’76 by her spouse, Margaret Allen Robbyn Panitch ’79 by Betsey Shack Goodwin ’76 Alene Jensen Parsons ’48 by Gene Stockton Bozorth ’48 Mary Jean Place, P ’95, by her daughter, Nicola Place ’95

Joan Gordon, P ’13, by her daughter, Karen Gordon ’13

Elizabeth Pope by Reena Singh ’73, MA ’74

Denyse Gross ’72 by her spouse, Kenneth Morrison

Charlotte (Char) Reed ’14 by Lori Damrosch, P ’15

Jeannine Sova Jones ’57 by Sharon Zwonechek Barry ’57, Barbara Hunter ’57

Jill Nathanson Rohde ’64 by Anne Friend Thacher ’64



Mary Elizabeth Harrity Fugate ’55, December 17, 2018, in Austin, Texas. She is survived by her husband, Frank, and daughter. Gretchen Kendall Pratt ’56, February 1, in Overland Park, Kansas. After Mills, she earned a MA in medical library science at Duke University. Gretchen loved to travel with her late husband, Thomas. She was predeceased by cousin, Alice Penfield Cohn ’60, and she is survived by her partner, Harlan Stamper, and four children. MaryAnn Gillespie Boyd ’57, January 13, in Novato, California. Her aunt and mother also attended Mills. After graduating, she earned her teaching credential from the Dominican University of California and was a classroom teacher and homemaker. She is survived by her husband, Robert, and two daughters. Faith Gulick, MA ’58, February 13, 2018, in Newtown, Connecticut. After earning her MA in dance at Mills, she taught the subject at a variety of institutions, including Colby, Middlebury, and Yale. She also nurtured a deep interest in history by managing an antiques shop and serving as a trustee of the Newtown Historical Society. She is survived by a sister. Dorothy Gentry Schmersey ’66, December 7, 2018, in Aiken, South Carolina. She is survived by her husband and son.

Christine Holm Kline ’67, January 22, in Seattle, Washington. After Mills, she earned a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a PhD from Rutgers University. A lifelong educator, she later worked at the University of Puget Sound as the director of Gender Studies and dean of the School of Education. She is survived by a brother and three sisters, including Molly Holm ’79. Marie-Louise Sandine ’67, February 4, in Cozumel, Mexico. After Mills, she earned a master’s degree in accounting from Indiana University, which took her across the United States as a field auditor for Chevron. She experienced a number of health issues, but she loved to travel with her husband, Ken. She is survived by Ken, a sister, and two children. Karen Johns Wells ’68, March 31, in Ithaca, New York. A lifelong artist, Karen created jewelry from crinoidia fossils she gathered from the shores of Cayuga Lake near her home. She also opened her own clothing boutique and framing business while enjoying the art of photography as a hobby. Cynthia “Cindy” Lee West ’68, January 16, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Cindy loved spending time on her sailboat and fishing. She was a well-respected lobbyist in Santa Fe for 30 years. Diane Knutson ’73, May 2, 2018, in Yakima, Washington. She was a school psychologist for the Selah School District for many years. Jean Barbetta Reichert ’76, January 30, in McKinleyville, California. Jean pursued her education at Mills after giving birth to five children, earning a full scholarship and graduating magna cum laude with a BA in government and her teaching credential. Her Italian heritage came through in her love for cooking and baking. Jean is survived by her husband, Joe; five children, including Gina Rimson ’80 and 14 grandchildren.

Marion Ross ’44 by Anonymous, Mary Baxter, Lynda Fine Filson ’65, Ruth-Ann Solomon Goldman ’77, Sheila Humphreys, Martha Toppin, Linda Tu ’91 Florence Fox Rubenstein ’38, P ’64, by Los Angeles Mills College Alumnae J. Roussel Sargent by Ruth Olsen Saxton, MA ’72, P ’90 Eleanor Marshall Schaefer ’29 by Nicole Bartow Anne Hummel Sherrill by her sister-in-law, Mary Baxter Linda Stingily, MA ’78, by Gwendolyn (Gwen) Jackson Foster ’67; Estrellita Hudson Redus ’65, MFA ’75 Mary Lois Hudson Sweatt ’60, MA ’62 by her spouse, James Sweatt Pablo Tellez by Candice Eggerss Ariel Eaton Thomas ’63, P ’92, by Mary Root Campbell ’63; Kayte Fawcett Cunningham ’91; Margaret (Meg) Goldsmith Fawcett ’63, P ’91; Krista Gulbransen-Harless ’94; Connie Young Yu ’63

Gereon Rios, MFA ’76, April 23, 2018, in Grass Valley, California. A sculptor and art professor, Gereon was creative from an early age. He served in Vietnam before college and later settled with his family in Sonora, where he opened the Sonora Academy of Fine Arts. He is survived by his wife, Joanne; three children; and six grandchildren. Anne Biggins Claessens ’77, January 28, in Grass Valley, California. She also earned a certificate in computer science at Mills and worked as a systems analyst in insurance for 20 years. Lori Amber Barnum ’81, April 29, 2018, in Rio Vista, California. After Mills, Lori earned two master’s degrees from Pepperdine University. Her most recent placement as a school counselor was at Dallas Ranch Middle School in Antioch, where the disciplinary program she developed now bears her name in tribute. She is survived by her parents and two children.

Harold Thorne, spouse of Evelyn (Muffy) McKinstry Thorne ’48, by Catheryn Smith ’74

Sheryl Linzey Singewald ’81, March 18, in Castro Valley, California. Sheryl’s sense of adventure took her to six of seven continents, and she loved Disney and Shakespeare in equal measure. Her trademark was her beautiful red hair. She is survived by her husband, Gregory, and her mother.

Robert and Nancy Warner, P ’63, by their children, Nangee Warner Morrison ’63 and Robert Warner Jr.

Lesley Louise Virgin ’08, December 2018, in San Francisco. She is survived by a daughter, Elizabeth Brinkman ’14.

Margariete Montague Wheeler ’60 by Kathryn Mallett Chadwick ’60

Bianca Brezezinski ’10, January 13, in Wedding Rock, California. A dance major at Mills, she founded the Opal Street DNAce Improvisation TheARTe, which performed across Northern California. Bianca also taught dance to groups including seniors, women in recovery, and middle-school students.

Joyce Goodwin Widofsky ’59 by her spouse, Bernard Widofsky Patricia Rowe Willrich ’54 by Marilyn Morris Campbell ’54

Errata from the Winter 2018 issue: Connie Rosenbaum ’68 by Gale Young Lingle ’68 Carolyn Nissen Rathbun ’68 by Gale Young Lingle ’68 P=parent. For information about making a tribute gift, contact 510.430.2097 or



New food pantry serves Mills students Food insecurity has recently become a

40 percent of Mills students were food

Plaza and a temporary food closet in

hot topic of conversation in higher edu-

insecure. The pantry itself operates in

Cowell Building were open to students

cation as many colleges and universities

conjunction with the Alameda County

before the permanent location debuted

across the country face the impact of

Community Food Bank and is overseen

in the CPM Building. The space includes

rising tuition costs on their populations.

by Judith Pierce, manager of wellness

a reception area for students to inquire

Anthony Jack, a professor at the Harvard


Graduate School of Education, told the

“When we think about

school’s Usable Knowledge blog that “if


you are making it a point to diversify

food, we know that’s

your campus or acknowledge who you


have on campus, specifically lower-

academics,” she said

income students, you need to be aware

at a February staff

of the problems they face, and food inse-


curity is one of those problems.”

duce the pantry. “It’s

In the Bay Area, where the cost of living is at an all-time high, the College is attempting to combat this current reality

community access


about issues related to food resources


(such as assistance with obtaining









you’re hungry.” Pierce worked within the


or along

with immediate access to


difficult to focus when



the pantry. It’s accessible to all students on campus and is open three days a week during the school year. Students are already responding to the pantry’s presence on

with the new Mills Pantry, which opened

Division of Student Life to raise aware-

campus, even if it’s not something they

on April 17. The idea to bring a food pan-

ness and provide access to food and

personally use. To secure funding, the

try to campus originated in a public

resources prior to the pantry’s opening.

Class of 2019 voted to designate the pan-

policy graduate thesis by Toni Gomez

Throughout this past academic year,

try as its senior gift, with nearly $4,000

’13, MPP ’17, who found in 2016 that

several pop-up food pantries in Adams

raised for the cause by press time. “We would love to have students lead a lot of this,” Pierce said, explaining that the pantry’s goal is to “be a permanent com-

What is Food Insecurity?

ponent of the Mills experience.” It is also

United States Department of Agriculture generally defines “food insecurity” as a lack of available financial resources to sustain a regular diet. Its definitions for food insecurity can be broken into two categories:

become a way for students to fulfill their

Low food security: reports of reduced quality, variety, or desirability of diet. Little or no indication of reduced food intake.

tice—as well as the simple fact that hun-

Very low food security: Reports of multiple indications of disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake.

a volunteer opportunity and could even Community Engagement requirement— a component of the recently established Core Curriculum. Besides that, the move reflects the College’s continued work in social jusgry students can’t perform to their full potential. “Our hope is that being able to provide that necessary in-the-moment food, that will help with academic performance and ultimately lead to a stronger student population,” Pierce said. –Lila Goehring ’21



MillsConnec Alumnae Association of Mills College

Join the Quarterly’s editorial advisory committee The Alumnae Association of Mills College (AAMC) and the Mills Quarterly are looking for Mills alumnae to serve on an editorial advisory committee for the Quarterly. We are seeking eight connected and creative professionals to pitch stories, give feedback about issues and features, and envision new possibilities for our alumnae magazine. We welcome Mills alumnae with communications, editorial, publishing, marketing, fundraising, international relations, and design experience to apply, as well as

Did you know MillsConnect is more than just a way for students and recent graduates to find mentors? Alums can use it to create professional relationships with other alums in their field, find potential collaborators or freelancers, and make new friends with shared interests and backgrounds.

alumnae who are particularly engaged

Join MillsConnect

some value to the table? Please

Go to and click “Join Now.” You’ll be guided through setting up a profile. If the email address you provide matches the one in our records, your account is pre-approved. Otherwise, your account should be approved within one business day.

Grow your network On your homepage, you’ll see alums who are “recommended for you” based on shared interests and backgrounds. Or go to “Explore the Community” to look for potential connections who match your criteria. Respond to messages from students and other alums seeking your advice through video calls, phone calls, or in-person meetings. Visit the “Resources” section for tips on using MillsConnect as well as articles and videos on mentoring, networking, and other helpful topics.

with the College and their classmates. (Do you have another unique perspective that you think would bring don’t hesitate reach out to AAMC Communications Coordinator Kate Robinson Beckwith, MFA ’13, at to inquire about your fit.) Advisory committee members would serve renewable three-year terms, and need not live in the Bay Area, but would need to be able to attend two video conference meetings a year. We aim to have our inaugural meeting at Reunion this September 19-22. Interested in participating? Fill out an application online at tinyurl.

Questions? Call 510.430.2110 or email

com/quarterly-committee. Applications

MillsConnect is a project of the AAMC in collaboration with the College and its Lorry I. Lokey School of Business and Public Policy.

will be reviewed by Quarterly and AAMC representatives.

CAYMAN TRIP Join Visiting Associate Professor of Biology Helen Walter on a scuba expedition to Grand Cayman. Enjoy diving with your fellow Mills alumnae and guests while learning about the marine conservation and coral restoration projects of our current Mills students. The trip, offered January 4–11, 2020, will include dives at world-famous dive sites with experts on the Caymans, and opportunities to connect with the Mills community. More information will be available soon on the “Travel Programs” page of Email to get on the email list for more information.

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







2019 U NIO

REUNION 2019 Thursday, September 19, through Sunday, September 22 Honoring the Golden Alumnae of 1969 and alumnae from class years ending in 4 or 9 All alumnae are invited! Highlights include: • Updates from President Hillman and other campus leaders • Class luncheon and AAMC awards ceremony • Darius Milhaud concert • MillsConnect networking session for students and alumnae • Writers’ Salon, dance performance, and art exhibitions • Special campus tours of the Mills Farm and Lisser Hall • Sports events including volleyball, swimming, tennis, rowing, soccer, and a fun run • Class dinners and photos

Visit for the full schedule and periodic updates For more information: Reunion hotline: 510.430.2123 Email: Web: Brochures with full schedules and registration information have been mailed to all alumnae from class years ending in 4 or 9; they are available to other alumnae by request.


Now a major motion picture, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas looks at gun violence, justice, and activism through the eyes of a black teenage girl who has been code-switching to navigate two worlds: the poor, crime-ridden neighborhood where her family lives and the private, majority-white school she attends. We invite Reunion attendees to read the book—which all incoming students have been assigned— and participate in two opportunities to discuss the book with the Mills community. Join students Thursday for a conversation with the author and again Friday for a lively discussion led by faculty.

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