Elizabeth L. Hillman

Elizabeth L. Hillman

Introducing the 14th President of Mills College

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Elizabeth L. Hillman, 14th President of Mills College
Elizabeth L. Hillman, 14th President of Mills College

March 2, 2016

Dear Members of the Mills Community,

I am very pleased to announce that the Mills College Board of Trustees has elected Elizabeth L. Hillman as the 14th president in the College’s 164-year history. Hillman was selected from a large and varied pool of exceptional candidates in a comprehensive national search. She will begin her tenure on July 1, 2016 and succeeds Alecia A. DeCoudreaux.

Currently serving as provost and academic dean and professor of law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, Hillman has a keen understanding of the administrative challenges and opportunities in higher education and, as a professor, the joys and rewards of engaging and teaching students. Prior to her position at Hastings, she was a professor and director of faculty development at Rutgers University School of Law, and taught at Yale University and the U.S. Air Force Academy, receiving awards for teaching, scholarly excellence, and service. She also served as an officer in the U.S. Air Force.

She brings to Mills extensive expertise in faculty development, shared governance, curricular reform, strategic planning, enrollment management strategies, and budgeting. Her scholastic background illustrates the breadth of her educational commitment and intellectual inquiry. Having acquired degrees spanning the arts and sciences, engineering, and law, Hillman holds a BSEE in electrical engineering from Duke University, an MA in history from the University of Pennsylvania, a JD from Yale Law School, and a PhD in history with a focus on women’s history from Yale University.

Hillman’s scholarship focuses on the history of sexual violence as a means of understanding gender and sexuality in military organizations and cultures. Appointed by the ranking member of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Armed Services Committee to serve on the Response Systems Adult Sexual Assault Crimes Panel, she chaired a committee organized by the U.S. Department of Defense to review and recommend ways the military could improve the investigation, prosecution, and adjudication of crimes related to sexual assault.

She has authored books, book chapters and journal articles, and was the principal researcher and author of a comparative study of national military responses to sexual assault commissioned by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. She also serves on the board of directors and is past president of the National Institute on Military Justice. Hillman is a strong advocate for social and legal reform and has spoken out against the “don’t ask/don’t tell” policy and made recommendations on changing the law, in addition to advising on other issues, such as eliminating the bans on women in combat and transgender service members.

A strong proponent for women’s education and the liberal arts, she sees liberal arts institutions that encourage women to excel and lead, such as Mills, as accelerating progress already underway. Katie Sanborn, Chair of the Presidential Search Committee, stated, “Beth has a rich history of building coalitions amid diverse communities, is dedicated to women-centered education, and is a compelling and thoughtful leader. Her commitment to women, gender issues, and social justice is reflected in her scholarly work and public service, including testifying before Congress on sexual violence in the military. The combination of her experience in public and private service provides a strong foundation for the role of president of Mills.”

Hillman believes that Mills represents authenticity in an era of homogenization, and that women-centered education remains critical even as the understanding of gender fluidity increases. She feels that Mills is well positioned to articulate both the value of the liberal arts and the meaning of a woman-centered education.

I would like to thank the 15 members of the Presidential Search Committee, led by Katie Sanborn (‘83), for their commitment and diligence during the search process. The trustees who included alumnae, faculty, students and staff did a truly outstanding job of identifying and considering a highly qualified field of candidates. A special thank you to Renée Jadushlever for staffing the committee and for her good guidance and formidable work on behalf of the College.

I also want to express my thanks and deep gratitude to Alecia DeCoudreaux for her five years of dedicated service as Mills President. We are grateful for her leadership in strengthening our focus and commitment as an exceptional women’s and liberal arts college.

We invite you to meet our next president at 3:00 pm today in the Littlefield Concert Hall as we welcome her to the Mills community. A reception will follow in the lobby. To view the biography, c.v., and videos of the President-elect, please go to: www.mills.edu/newpresident. For those unable to attend, you can view a live webcast at www.mills.edu so that you can be witness to this historic moment in the College's history. Please be assured that this will be the first of many opportunities for you to meet and engage with President-elect Hillman this year.

On behalf of the Mills College Board of Trustees, please join me in congratulating Elizabeth L. Hillman on her appointment as our next president. We look forward to working with her and with all of you as we continue to provide our students not only with an excellent education but with the leadership skills and experiences to ensure a bright future.

Kathleen Burke
Chair of the Board of Trustees