2021 Alumnae Awards Profiles

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Joan Millar Lincoln ’66, Distinguished Achievement 

Following Joan’s musical studies with Darius Milhaud and Morton Subotnick at Mills, she went on to teach music at Simon’s Rock. She and her husband, Albert Lincoln III, then immigrated to France, where she nurtured their first child and traveled and performed as a bilingual folk singer. 

Starting in 1972, the Lincolns spent 11 years in the Central African Republic, where Joan’s original musical capacity continued developing. Throughout her years there, Joan accompanied young Africans on the guitar as they performed their own music, performed in jazz and Dixieland groups, and wrote her own songs about her unique life experiences. Eventually, she earned a master’s in ethnomusicology at l’Institut National des Arts with her thesis “Chansons de Maternité Adioukrou” (Maternity Songs of the Adioukrou Tribe).

Joan has been invited to speak at conferences all around the world, eventually returning to the US in 2014. During the pandemic, she self-published a booklet of 15 original four-part a cappella choral pieces, and having written approximately 70 songs over the decades, is now compiling some of those into a second booklet. It is nearly impossible to sum up Joan’s accomplishments in just a few paragraphs, and that makes it clear that she is more than deserving of this year’s Distinguished Achievement Award. 

Carol Alcalay ’53, Outstanding Volunteer 

Carol has been volunteering with Los Angeles Mills College Alumnae (LAMCA) for more than 50 years, serving on the executive board for several decades in various leadership positions— most recently as vice president. Carol goes beyond mere leadership by hosting numerous monthly board meeting luncheons each year, engaging every guest with her personal affection for Mills. 

Carol is also an ambassador for the College. When her nominator, Julia Almanzan ’92, was a student at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, she wound up volunteering in Carol’s bilingual elementary school classroom. The two immediately discovered their Mills connection because of Carol’s swift mention of her involvement with the College. Julia has been deeply involved with LAMCA ever since. It is that sort of advocacy that has helped build Mills’ reputation and engaged alumnae to stay connected to each other and to the College. 

Carol embodies the true alumnae spirit of selflessness and commitment to our alma mater. She is an extraordinary example of how the AAMC, through its regional branch clubs, brings alumnae together across generations. We are proud to call her 2021’s Outstanding Volunteer. 

Amanda Harper ’09, Recent Graduate 

Amanda’s dedication to her work as a training instructor for the Sierra Army Depot Training Division shines through in her creation of collaborative and welcoming spaces for creativity, inclusion, and professional growth. In Amanda’s three years with the division, she has significantly developed its leadership programs with her guidance and expertise. This past February, she was awarded Training Magazine’s 2020 Emerging Training Leader Award for her efforts. Although not a supervisor, Amanda is clearly a key leader at the depot and is often part of command meetings, planning committees, and other initiatives. 

As her nominator, partner Loren Harper, puts it: “She is an advocate for leadership, in and outside of work, and strives for excellence in all that she does. She is a true representation of Mills College. I believe she deserves this award because of her dedication to selfless service.” With this much achieved already in her career, we are certain that Amanda will go on to do even greater things, and therefore we award her 2021’s Recent Graduate Award.