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Mills College Announces New Dean for Business School

Oakland, CA—April 6, 2010. Mills College has appointed Deborah Merrill-Sands, an authority on women's leadership, as the new dean of the Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business, home of the first MBA program in the West designed to advance women in business.Deborah Merrill-Sands dean of the Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business

 "The appointment of Dr. Merrill-Sands together with the opening of our spectacular new green building will ensure that the Mills MBA Program will achieve national prominence and offer students new avenues for their professional and leadership development," said Mills College President Janet L. Holmgren.

Merrill-Sands, an expert on women's workforce issues, begins her role August 1, following six years as dean of the Simmons College School of Management in Boston, where she led the School to achieve accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), integrated attention to corporate responsibility and sustainability, earned national rankings in areas central to its mission, and received national recognition for its executive development programs for women.

She replaces founding Dean Nancy Thornborrow, who created the Mills MBA Program in 2001 and helped raise more than $30 million for the Lokey Graduate School of Business.

Ten years ago, Thornborrow saw the obstacles women faced in attaining a management degree and used her expertise in economics to develop an innovative program that would address women's needs. Thornborrow, who celebrates 30 years as a faculty member at Mills this year, will return to teaching and will chair the Mills Department of Economics.

"We thank Dean Thornborrow for her pioneering vision in creating the Mills MBA Program and look forward to Dean Merrill-Sands building on this legacy of success in collaboration with our dedicated faculty," said Mills College Provost Sandra Greer.

Merrill-Sands is an authority on women and leadership and gender dynamics in the workplace. More recently her work has focused on the areas of ethics, corporate responsibility, and sustainability. Prior to joining the Simmons School of Management, Merrill-Sands worked with the World Bank, the Ford Foundation, and the United Nations, working on increasing the role of women in science, and led international teams to address the livelihood of rural poor women and families in developing countries.

"I am particularly enthusiastic about the Mills College deanship because of the start-up nature of the business school and Mills' strong academic reputation, its attention to academic rigor, and its commitment to women's education, diversity, and sustainability," said Merrill-Sands. "I thrive as a leader in the building phase of organizations, and I am also deeply committed to strengthening women's leadership in all areas of work."

Merrill-Sands is the author of numerous monographs, journal articles, and book chapters, most focusing on diversity and gender issues in the workplace. She received her MA and PhD in applied anthropology from Cornell University, and her BA from Hampshire College. She has received numerous prestigious fellowships and grants from the Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Fulbright Hays, and the Social Science Research Council.

About Mills College

Nestled in the foothills of Oakland, California, Mills College is a nationally renowned, independent liberal arts college offering a dynamic progressive education that fosters leadership, social responsibility, and creativity to approximately 950 undergraduate women and 550 graduate women and men. Since 2000, applications to Mills College have more than doubled. The College is named one of the top colleges in the West by U.S. News & World Report, and ranks as one of the Best 371 Colleges by The Princeton Review. Forbes.com ranked Mills 55th among America's best colleges and named it a "Top Ten: Best of the All-Women's Colleges." Visit us at www.mills.edu.

Last Updated: 2/27/17