AAMC News & Notes

A Message from the AAMC President: Spring 2023

Spring greetings, fellow alumnae!

The month of torrential rains in January in Northern California is thankfully behind us as the bounties of spring unfold. But come rain or shine, your AAMC Board of Governors has been busy working to find paths toward the shared goals that emerged during our comment period. 

As we move forward, we remain focused on what has unified our membership. Since the last Quarterly, AAMC leaders have met with key members of Mills College at Northeastern University, including Senior Vice President for Global Network and Strategic Initiatives Mary Ludden, Mills Institute Executive Director Nicole Guidotti-Hernández, and Senior Vice President for University Advancement Diane MacGillivray. On April 12, we will meet with Interim Dean Beth Kochly. In these meetings, our team has worked to establish lines of communication and to find common ground regarding our continued use of Reinhardt Alumnae House (RAH), the status of the 2017 Memorandum of Collaboration between the AAMC and Mills College (now Mills College at Northeastern), and how we might work together toward our shared goals. 

Former President Hillman previously stated that the AAMC’s residence at RAH was only guaranteed through July 1, one year after the merger was finalized. However, we are optimistic that our residence could continue well beyond that.

As outlined in my last Quarterly letter, an options vote has been deferred due to the many questions that surfaced during that period—namely our continued use of RAH, and more details about what opportunities with Mills College at Northeastern University and the Mills Institute could develop. 

The Board of Governors agreed in December to first focus on the shared key concerns expressed by the majority of the 770 responses received: the importance of maintaining our presence at RAH, supporting current Mills students, and actively continuing the legacy of Mills College. 

A vote must be a fair and educated one, so I hope you agree that postponing that monumental decision and working first to find answers with Mills College at Northeastern University is a progressive and realistic step. We are also researching the feasibility of an independent AAMC as outlined in Option 1. It is the Board’s intention to provide more concrete and accurate answers to many of your questions before the annual meeting, which will take place on June 24 via Zoom. More details about the meeting are below. 

The Bylaws Committee, under the guidance of the Mill Law Center, also plans to have an update, if not the final version of new bylaws presented at the annual meeting. A vote of the membership will follow, and a date and further details will be forthcoming. 

Our committees have also continued to connect and support Mills alums. On January 28, the Los Angeles Mills College Alumnae (LAMCA) held a forum on Zoom (detailed below) featuring speakers Suzette Davidson, MA ’94, and Karen McNeil. The need to place the El Campanil as well as other Julia Morgan buildings on the National Registry of Historic Places surfaced at this meeting, and a group is now working towards this goal. 

While difficulties and wounds still exist, there are new opportunities and avenues for the AAMC to explore. In that vein, I ask you—our loyal alums—to keep the faith, and to continue to support the Board of Governors, with patience and an understanding that there is now time for us to find the answers you seek. Stay posted through the Quarterly, our email communications, and our website at aamc-mills.org to share in the journey. 

Sincerely, and best wishes, 

Debby Dittman ’68 

Save the Date: Annual Meeting

Due to Mills at Northeastern’s commencement date being earlier than Mills’ traditional one, the AAMC Annual Meeting has been scheduled for Saturday, June 24, via Zoom. Check aamc-mills.org for information about registration, and about our secure voting mechanism. Email updates in April and May will contain this information as well. 

We still encourage all local alumnae to support legacy Mills College students by attending Commencement on April 30, and to join the AAMC for a reception co-hosted with the Office of Alumnae Relations at Reinhardt Alumnae House following the ceremony. More details to follow.  

LAMCA Hosts Virtual Event About Mills History And Julia Morgan 

On January 28, the Los Angeles Mills College Alumnae (LAMCA) held a forum on Zoom featuring speakers Suzette Davidson, MA ’94, and historian Karen McNeill. Davidson shared from the project she cofounded in 1993, “Fires of Wisdom: The Mills Alum as Oral History Project.” The stories collected were from interviews with alumnae classes of 1916 to 1944, the era of Aurelia Henry Reinhardt’s presidency of Mills College. 

McNeill is a historian specializing in historical architecture, with a particular focus on Julia Morgan. She shared what makes the Julia Morgan buildings on the Mills campus (six structures designed between 1904–1925) so very important in local Oakland history and within the larger history of women’s education. A recording of the presentation is available at aamc-mills.org

New Year, New Email Address 

Please contact the AAMC at info@aamc-mills.org. Our old email, aamc@mills.edu, is no longer in use as of this issue. 

Alumnae Awards Call 

Nominate honorees for the AAMC’s coveted alumnae awards, presented at Reunion in October. We are seeking qualified candidates for: 

► Distinguished Achievement, for distinctions in professions, arts, and sciences; 
► Outstanding Volunteer, for commitment in serving the AAMC; and 
► Recent Graduate, for volunteer efforts that exemplify a spirit of caring and community. 

To nominate candidates, please send information about their achievements to info@aamc-mills.org or to AAMC, 5000 MacArthur Blvd., MB #86, Oakland, CA 94613. Nominations must be received by July 15. 

The AAMC Hosts a Concert Fundraiser 

Photo by Bob Minkin Photography

On Saturday, February 4, more than 25 alumnae and friends (plus many more via livestream) attended a concert at Reinhardt Alumnae House featuring alumna Melanie Phippard ’83, along with folk rock legends The Rowan Brothers. Melanie is a longtime local singer who has studied and performed all over the world. Her website states, “Her warmth and lilting tunes lend themselves to a comforting and delicious listening experience.” This proved to be true during “An Afternoon of Music at Reinhardt Alumnae House.” Attendees enjoyed singing along to Melanie’s catchy (and relevant) song, “Polar Bear Blues.” 

The Rowan Brothers also appeared at the event. The group moved to the West Coast to pursue music in 1971 and opened for the Grateful Dead as its first gig in San Francisco. The crowd enjoyed beautiful harmonies by brothers Chris and Lorin Rowan. 

This event raised more than $3,000 for the AAMC, which will be used for operational costs and technological infrastructure, and go towards the AAMC’s collective goal to support students. We hope for this to be the first in a series of events highlighting the groundbreaking musical legacy of Mills College, featuring our alumnae. 

New era of Pearl M pins

This new, more affordable alternative to the traditional Pearl M pendant is handcrafted by women in a small village in India. Half of all proceeds go towards helping these women sustain their families and send their children to school. Priced at $140, these pendants include 24-karat gold plated metal beads and pins, with real pearls.

Join the waitlist for these new pendants by emailing info@aamc-mills.org with the subject line NEW PEARL M. Traditional Pearl M pendants are still available to order for $360 at aamc-mills.org/aamc-merchandise.

AAMC Travel 2023

Cotswolds’ Escape
September 21–29

Soak up the fabled magical charm of the English countryside when you visit the Cotswolds! Unpack for seven nights in the Georgian town of Woodstock, then meander along floral pathways amid storybook scenery evoking a quiet beauty. Spend a day amidst the limestone houses, stone bridges, and shop-lined streets of Cotswold villages, including Stow-on-the-Wold and Chipping Campden. Travel to Oxford to stand beneath the ivory towers of its storied university. Uncover the lives of William Shakespeare and Sir Winston Churchill in Stratford-upon-Avon and the stately Blenheim Palace. Engage with a Cotswold family at their traditional farm, and visit Bath, a UNESCO World Heritage city that’s filled with archeological wonders and beautiful Georgian architecture. This handcrafted, small-group journey features first-class accommodations and an extensive meal plan. 

Grandeur of Iceland
July 31–August 8

Behold the majestic landscapes of Iceland during this unforgettable seven-night adventure! From our base in the cultural capital of Reykjavik, we’ll journey through lands of unspeakable beauty to encounter unique land formations, waterfalls, hot springs, and authentic, charming villages. Watch as fascinating history and culture are brought to life at a storytelling performance and learn how the country has become a world leader in sustainability and green living. During an ocean cruise, scan the horizon for magnificent breaching whales and thrill to darling puffins as they glide on gentle sea breezes. At the mystical Golden Circle, marvel at bubbling mud pools and geysers. This small-group adventure features seven nights at a first-class hotel in Reykjavik, with an extensive meal plan. 

For more information, including a full itinerary for this and other planned trips for 2023, please visit the AAMC travel program webpage at aamc-mills.org/travel-programs.