A Letter from the Associate Vice President of Institutional Advancement
I started working at Mills as the associate director of reunion planning and giving just a few short weeks before Reunion 2010. I was amazed and inspired by the love and dedication demonstrated by alums not only to their beloved campus, but also to each other. Twelve years later, I am still inspired by the connections alums have to one another and the support they have shown the campus community during the last two years. I enjoy my work at Mills because of these connections and because of that support.
Each year’s Reunion brings its own unique flavor and feel, and that was no different last fall when about 230 Mills alums from across the generations (and around the world) gathered on campus for Reunion 2022. Yes, it was a smaller number than usual, which of course made sense to me and my team as it was the first major Mills alum event post-Northeastern merger. But even with that undercurrent of slight sadness, it was still a remarkable event. As you can see from our cover images, there was so much joy on campus. There was still a packed program of activities, including a reworking of the Mills student tradition of processing with lanterns and singing. (Click here for more.) I’m immensely proud of the work my team put into Reunion, and we look forward to hosting additional events on campus and in the regions, including Reunion in October 2023 and beyond.
There’s a lot of discussion right now about the role that my office, the Office of Alumnae Relations, will have with Mills alums and the AAMC in the future. Our colleagues with the AAMC are working on options to guide how their organization will interact with the Mills campus and programs, including me and my team, now that we’re part of Northeastern University. All Mills alums are de facto members of the AAMC and deserve to have their voices heard; I encourage you to carefully read the information supplied by the AAMC in this issue and look for more communications in the months ahead.
Along those lines, I wanted to use this space to provide some background about who we are and what we do. I oversee the larger Office of Institutional Advancement, which handles fundraising on the Mills campus, as well as our Office of Alumnae Relations, which is located in Reinhardt Alumnae House. Alumnae Relations is a small but mighty team of five that organizes Reunion and other alum events, provides assistance and funding to regional clubs and branches and affinity groups, coordinates volunteers, maintains the alum directory and website, works with the AAMC, and publishes newsletters and this magazine. We are the same five people as were in place before the Northeastern merger, and we have no plans to stop doing any of these activities you know and love.
Just as Mills is not a monolith, neither is Northeastern, and we have been delighted to discover that our counterparts in University Advancement in Boston are extremely supportive of our alum programs and fundraising. We are receiving encouragement and support to keep doing what we’ve always been doing: raising funds exclusively for use on the Mills campus and bringing Mills graduates together. We just have new teammates in Boston who are cheering us on from across the country—and occasionally in Oakland, as we welcomed two colleagues from Northeastern’s alumni relations to Reunion. They drove golf carts, answered numerous questions, presented about the Northeastern alumni resources now available to Mills alums, and bolstered our efforts immeasurably.
Our relationship with the AAMC has of course been complicated by the events of the past two years, but I believe that we’re back on track. AAMC President Debby Dittman ’68, Board of Governors leadership, and AAMC staff—previously Pam Herman, and now Lila Goehring ’21, who worked in the Office of Alumnae Relations as a student for two and a half years—meet with me regularly to discuss our collaborative efforts. My team and I look forward to partnering on the events and activities we host together to benefit students and alums.
Which brings me back to Reunion, and our relatively low attendance numbers—many alums approached me to lament how few people from their classes were there. I told them what I’m telling you now: Let your friends know that Reunion is still here, still happening, and make plans to come next year! We may be part of Northeastern now, but it is still and will forever be our job and mission to serve you, our Mills alums. We hope to see you there.