AAMC News & Notes

A Message from the AAMC President: Winter 2021

Fall at Mills was a bit different in 2020, with fewer returning students coming back to campus, but it was still abuzz with the excitement of first-year students who arrived with a host of expectations. I took part in a number of virtual orientation events for students, including the candle-lighting ceremony where students shared their dreams and aspirations for their time at Mills. Students were able to learn more about the AAMC, its history, and our engagement with students, and to see and hear welcomes and well-wishes from the Board of Governors (BOG). 

In addition to the virtual versions of our usual fall events, Sayaka Omori ’06, an instructor at the University of Washington’s College of Education, and I visited a course for international students—the first of its kind at Mills. We spoke about our own cultural transitions and navigating US culture. 

Through lectures and hands-on learning, the course hopes to set up incoming students for successful academic, professional, and personal development at Mills. Topics include cross-cultural awareness, local history, community and cultural engagement in the Bay Area, and strategies for academic success in a liberal arts setting. This course is compulsory for incoming F-1/J-1 students. I hope it will be offered every semester! 

The pandemic robbed us of our in-person Reunion, my all-time favorite event at Mills, where we get to see so many alumnae from various classes populating campus with their excitement and enthusiasm. Instead, we hosted a few virtual events that brought us together and helped us celebrate accomplishments and events. At our AAMC update session on October 3, alumnae saw and heard from our newly elected governors and alumnae trustees. Committee chairs shared highlights, and Dawn Cunningham ’85 guided us through MillsConnect, our alumnae-student mentoring and networking platform at connect.mills.edu. I sent a recording of the AAMC update session via email to alumnae on October 29. If you didn’t receive it, please contact Alumnae Relations at alumnae-relations@mills.edu to update your email information. 

The AAMC also hosted a town hall with President Beth Hillman on September 17. The BOG had collected questions of importance to alumnae via email, Facebook, and a phone tree. AAMC vice presidents Dawn Cunningham and Alexa Pagonas ’91 presented these questions to me and President Hillman, who addressed them with substance and transparency. If you missed the live session, I recommend reviewing the recording that I sent to all alumnae, also on October 29. You can read Dawn’s summary of the event below. I am grateful for our president’s leadership, commitment, and tireless work on behalf of Mills. 

I would also like to express my congratulations to the 2020 Alumnae Award recipients: Kirsten Saxton ’90, Distinguished Achievement Award; Marge Thomas, MA ’67, Outstanding Volunteer Award; and Dorothy Lawrence-Akaeze ’11, Recent Graduate Award. Click here to read our profile of the awardees. 

On a sadder note, this fall we lost yet another one of our beloved alumnae, Peggy Woodruff ’58. Peggy was one of the first African American students to come to Mills, paving the way for others to follow in her footsteps. She was also one of the most intelligent and engaged alumnae I had the good fortune to meet and know at Mills. She will be greatly missed. You can find Peggy’s obituary in this issue’s In Memoriam section

I would like to close with this anonymous quote: 

Those we love, don’t go away, 
they walk beside us every day, 
Unseen, unheard, but always near, 
still loved, still missed, and very dear. 

I wish you all continued good health, safety, and well-being, and I look forward to meeting again when it is safe for us to gather. 


Viji Nakka-Cammauf, MA ’82 
President, Alumnae Association of Mills College 

AAMC co-hosts town hall on Berkeley partnership conversation

On September 17, the AAMC convened a virtual town hall at which President Beth Hillman addressed questions from alumnae regarding Mills College’s continuing conversation with UC Berkeley to explore the possibility of a significantly expanded partnership between the two institutions. The event was cohosted by the College’s Office of the President and Office of Alumnae Relations. 

President Hillman emphasized that this conversation is in the early stages and that no proposal had, as of that date, been presented to the UC Board of Regents or the Mills Board of Trustees. She placed the conversation in the context of the College’s persistent budget deficits and enrollment declines, which have been exacerbated this year by the COVID-19 pandemic. An expanded partnership, she said, would define a sustainable path forward that provides a high-quality educational experience for women, students of color, first-generation students, and gender nonbinary students, while offering students and faculty greater opportunities for learning and research. To view a complete recording of the town hall, go to bit.ly/Sept17townhall

This winter, the AAMC aims to offer alumnae an additional online opportunity to discuss this news. Please watch your email for an invitation from the AAMC. If you do not regularly receive email news from Mills or the AAMC, make sure we have your current address by sending an email to aamc@mills.edu or calling 510.430.2110 with your name and class year. 

BOG Call for Nominations

Contribute your talents and skills to the Alumnae Association of Mills College (AAMC).
Join our Board of Governors!

As a governor, you will:
• Work with other members of the board to make decisions that best represent alumnae and promote a strong working relationship between alumnae and the College
• Attend board meetings (typically four or five each year)
• Participate on AAMC committees to develop policies, programs, and events

We invite alumnae to submit nominations for the 2021-24 term by Monday, April 5. See the “Leadership” section of the AAMC website, aamc.mills.edu, for more information. Send nominations to the Nominating Committee Chair at aamc@mills.edu or AAMC, 5000 MacArthur Blvd., MB #86, Oakland, CA 94613.

Show your Mills pride all around town with a new Mills College bumper sticker! With a simple collegiate design featuring our signature eucalyptus leaf, these stickers are available for purchase on the AAMC online store.

Also newly available online are limited-edition Mills seal mugs that feature the elegant seal of our alma mater in shiny gold foil. A portion of the proceeds from these mugs goes toward supporting the College.

Visit aamcmerch.square.site for these and many other lovely items created especially for alums. All merchandise sales benefit the AAMC unless otherwise noted.