Inaugural Address

Why the World Needs Mills
Delivered Friday, September 23, 2016, by Elizabeth L. Hillman
14th President of Mills College

"Trustees, college presidents and delegates, distinguished guests, members of the Mills community, family, and friends:

Let me begin with thanks.

Thank you, Chair Sanborn, for that generous introduction—and for your leadership of our board of trustees, a dedicated corps of generous and capacious people.

Thank you to our city’s leader, Mayor Schaaf, for her unwavering support of both education and of Mills College.

Thank you, Provost Dorr, for your words of welcome on behalf of the great University of California.

And thank you, Tasion Kwamilele, for bringing greetings on behalf of Mills beloved alumna and fierce representative in the United States Congress, Barbara Lee.

Thank you to the students, alumnae and alumni, delegates, faculty, staff, College officers, and trustees who have joined the families and friends of Mills who are here today. I’m humbled that no fewer than two links in the chain, Presidents Holmgren and DeCoudreaux, are here with us today.

I’m also deeply grateful to those who believed in me at the start of my academic career, including Ray Solomon, who is representing Rutgers University here today, and who taught me so much, and Alice Dueker.

Thank you to my friends at Hastings.

Thank you to my family, some of whom are often here with me at Mills (Trish, Katie, Bisbee, Elena, Vivian, and Joey), some of whom made long trips to be here (Jean, Nick, Will and Evelyn; Chris and Teresa; Bobbi, Martin, and Mike), and some of whom have already left us, including my mother and my father, and Trish’s father. They would have been so happy to see me here with you.

I used to teach, not so long ago. I used to tell my students—whether they were writing papers or briefs or presentations—that a title could be a big help in the struggle to figure out what it was they were trying to say. Since I struggled a bit myself with writing my piece of today’s events—which I attribute to my lack of experience in the inaugural department—I spent some time thinking about a title.

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