Alecia A. DeCoudreaux

Alecia A. DeCoudreaux

Introducing the 13th President of Mills College

Alecia A. DeCoudreaux, 13th President of Mills College
Alecia A. DeCoudreaux, 13th President of Mills College

Alecia A. DeCoudreaux has been named the 13th president in Mills College's 159-year history. She will assume leadership of the College on July 1, 2011.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, DeCoudreaux received a bachelor of arts degree in English and political science from Wellesley College in 1976 and a doctor of laws degree from the Indiana University School of Law at Bloomington in 1978.

DeCoudreaux brings to the Office of Mills College President an extensive and distinguished professional background. A senior executive at Eli Lilly and Company, one of Fortune magazine's "Global Top Companies for Leaders," she has served in a variety of important executive leadership roles over the span of the past three decades. As both a graduate of a women's college and as chair of the board of Wellesley, one of the largest and most selective women's colleges in the nation, DeCoudreaux provides Mills with a multifaceted professional background.

DeCoudreaux's professional career is enhanced by extensive involvement in the communities where she has lived and worked, including volunteerism, community activism, and a record of service on numerous charitable and nonprofit boards. DeCoudreaux's academic experience includes successful service as both a trustee and board chair at Wellesley, director of the Wellesley College Alumnae Association, director of the Indiana University Foundation, and member of the Indiana University School of Law Board of Visitors.

DeCoudreaux's distinguished professional career began with private practice and continued through executive leadership positions in a Fortune 125 company. Currently DeCoudreaux serves as vice president and deputy general counsel at Eli Lilly and Company. She had been vice president and general counsel of Lilly USA since December 2005. Previously, DeCoudreaux was employed by Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro, in San Francisco, before joining Lilly in 1980 as an attorney. In 1987, she became general counsel for Advanced Cardiovascular Systems, Inc., a former Lilly subsidiary located in Santa Clara, California. DeCoudreaux became director of community relations for Eli Lilly and Company in 1990, director for corporate affairs (state government and community relations) in 1991, and director of government relations (Washington, DC) in 1993. She was named executive director of Lilly Research Laboratories, medical administration in 1994. In 1995, she became executive director of Lilly Research Laboratories, research planning and scientific administration, and was named vice president, law, Lilly Research Laboratories in June 1997. In November 1999, she became secretary and deputy general counsel of Eli Lilly and Company.

While achieving professional success, DeCoudreaux has demonstrated creativity, social responsibility, and community involvement. She has also shown acumen for budget management, fundraising, and alumnae relations and engagement. In addition to her positions at Wellesley, DeCoudreaux's extensive board experience includes service as a board member of The Mind Trust; a member of the Economic Club of Indiana Board of Governors; a member of the United Way of Central Indiana Women's Initiative; honorary director of Indiana University Foundation, where she served as director from 1998 through 2007; and an emeritus board member of the Indiana University School of Law at Bloomington Board of Visitors, the Women's Fund of Central Indiana, and Indianapolis Downtown, Inc.

"It is with great honor that I accept the position of president of Mills College," said Alecia DeCoudreaux. "It has been my stated long-term ambition to fill a leadership role in women's education. I'm proud of the career I've led up until now, and I've certainly developed the professional and life skills necessary to fulfill the position of Mills College president. But ever since my college years at Wellesley, I've maintained my passion for women's education. I'm ready now to follow my passion and that passion is what carries me into the academic world."

DeCoudreaux continues, "I'm looking forward to working with the faculty, staff, and alumnae of Mills, whose reputation for passion and creativity is well known and highly regarded. I'm also looking forward to leading our diverse student body of bright young women and graduate students pursuing their advanced degrees. I am so honored to be a part of such a highly regarded institution with such a proud history. I will work hard to ensure my leadership builds on the success of the 12 great women and men who held this office before me. My first order of business as I plan our vision for the future is to listen to those around me."

DeCoudreaux will succeed current Mills President Janet L. Holmgren on July 1, 2011. Holmgren, who began her 20-year presidency in 1991, will return to teaching at Mills, writing, and pursuing new avenues for women's leadership.

What Colleagues Say About Alecia DeCoudreaux
"I am delighted for Alecia. This is a logical next step in her impressive career. Alecia DeCoudreaux has been enormously important to Wellesley. She has been deeply committed to advancing the college's liberal arts mission, and Wellesley has thrived under her leadership. She has been highly skilled at directing a complex board governance structure in service of Wellesley's goals and priorities. The trustees and I will miss her strong leadership.

"But Wellesley's loss is Mills College's gain. With her long and distinguished history of serving Wellesley well, I know she will do the same at Mills College. During Alecia's tenure as chair of the board, Wellesley has successfully recruited and retained faculty of exceptional distinction and dedication. She has overseen a steady increase in fundraising and admission results. Alecia leaves us in a position of great strength. She has helped to secure Wellesley's place as one of the finest undergraduate institutions in the world." —H. Kim Bottomly, president of Wellesley College

"Alecia DeCoudreaux has provided exemplary service to Eli Lilly and Company over the span of three decades in a variety of important executive leadership roles. In addition, her admirable commitment to community service has benefited Indianapolis and many other locales. Alecia is a capable, caring, and enthusiastic leader, and a person who has served as a mentor and coach for numerous colleagues at Lilly and across the broad community. We wish her the very best in the next stage of her career as president of Mills College, where I have no doubt she will be very successful." —John C. Lechleiter, PhD, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Eli Lilly and Company