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Mills: Inside and Out
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Mills: Inside and Out

Mills College
Presidential Communication
December 22, 2017

TO: Mills College Faculty and Staff
FROM: Beth Hillman
SUBJECT: Mills: Inside and Out

Dear all,

As the calendar year comes to a close, Mills has much to be proud of, including yet more recognition of our faculty's sterling accomplishments, and of our staff's excellent work right through the end of a challenging year.

Professor Brinda Mehta will bring global visibility to Mills in the summer of 2018 as a distinguished scholar-in-residence at the University of Réunion, which selected her for this honor in collaboration with the French Ministry of Education. Professor Mehta will give a keynote address and participate in a conference on Indian diaspora literature. She will also create workshops on postcolonial Indo-Caribbean and Indian Ocean literature and literary theory for doctoral students and join a team of experts envisioning a Center for Gender and Indian Ocean Studies. And the indefatigable Catherine Wagner, professor of studio art and Nancy Cook chair, and Molissa Fenley, professor of dance and Joan Danforth chair, won honors this week as well with the announcement of a $25,000 grant from the Wattis Foundation for Architecture in Reverse, a site-specific intervention with photography slated for the Mills College Art Museum in fall 2018.

I'm grateful to the staff who have worked so hard to move Mills ahead throughout the entire year, and I'm glad we could offer Mills employees additional paid holidays during this year's winter break and campus closure. Today—and during next week's break!—our advancement team will be processing the end-of-year gifts that Mills' generous donors send to support our students and mission. Yesterday, Trish and I welcomed our facilities, maintenance, and public safety crews, whose creativity and dedication is essential to our students and everyone who uses our campus, to the president's house for a holiday lunch. After we return for the new year, please look out for a special thank-you to our staff and faculty from the College officers, coordinated by enterprising Vice President for Student Life Chicora Martin, on January 11 from 8:30-9:30 a.m.

I'll close with a note about our efforts here in the president's office to generate attention to the issues that matter most in higher education and to our students at Mills. Over the last week, we've reached out to our representatives in Congress to urge them to find a solution for the DACA students whose future remains in doubt as we approach the March 5, 2018 deadline set by the Trump administration. Already, some 10,000 students across the country who were previously protected under DACA have lost protection against deportation; after March 5, the number will increase to more than a thousand per day. All DACA recipients have lived in the United States for at least a decade, many for much longer. The average Dreamer came to the U.S. at the age of six and is now 26 years old. They were educated in American schools, and many have already earned degrees from U.S. colleges and universities, including Mills. This week, Congress failed to enact either a short-term or long-term solution to the pending end of DACA protections. The Congressional staff we talked to this week assured us that the issue remains a top priority and will be revisited in January 2018, after the holiday recess. Please keep in mind the hopes and dreams of our undocumented students, and mixed-status families of immigrants, as you cherish the time the winter break gives you with friends and families. When we return, Mills will keep working to elevate this issue as one of the utmost importance to our mission.

Wishing you peace and joy during the winter break and beyond.

Beth Signature



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Last Updated: 12/21/18