Mills College Welcomes Distinguished Visiting Professors in Dance and Biology

Oakland, CA—April 12, 2019

Mills College is honored to announce the arrival of Robert Moses and Dr. Katherine Lipari as distinguished visiting professors for the 2019–20 academic year. Both professorships are made possible through gifts from Mills donors. 

“These extraordinary gifts—and the visiting faculty they attract—send an important message that Mills’ academic and performing arts programs continue to flourish through the generosity of donors who make a difference,” says Mills College President Elizabeth L. Hillman.

Robert Moses

Robert Moses

Robert Moses joins the Dance and Theater Studies Department as the Melody and Mark Teppola Distinguished Visiting Professor in Dance. He is a nationally and internationally recognized choreographer, dancer, and founder of the dance company Robert Moses’ Kin. He has received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, National Dance Project, and California Arts Council, among many others.

Moses' work explores topics ranging from oral traditions in African American culture (Word of Mouth, 2002), the life, times, and work of author James Baldwin (Biography of Baldwin, 2003), to the nuanced complexities of parentage and identity (The Cinderella Principle, 2010), and the abstract nature of personal experience (Silt, 2015). His many choreography commissions include the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ailey 2, The San Francisco Opera, Cincinnati Ballet, London’s Laban Center, Oakland Ballet, and the Olympic Arts Festival. He was choreographer-in-residence at Stanford University, where he served 21 years on the faculty, and has authored 100 works for the stage.

“Why Mills, why now? Because art in action is needed now,” says Mr. Moses. “Mills, with its proximities to populations of abundance and absence, is in a way a return to my roots and represents new ground to till and grow new ideas. I’ve engaged in university systems for over two decades and see Mills as a place for cultivating local artists who have become cultural icons and artists of individual vision. (I think immediately of Mills graduates Laura Ellis and Nora Chipaumire.) Mills is ideal for the next chapter in my community, cultural, and intellectual lifelong journey.”

About the Melody and Mark Teppola Distinguished Visiting Professorship Endowment:
This endowment was established through a generous donation to the College to help bring distinguished visiting scholars in the arts to Mills.

Katherine Lipari

Katherine Lipari

Dr. Katherine Lipari joins the Biology Department as the Chan-Norris Distinguished Visiting Professor in Biology. Lipari earned her PhD at the University of California Berkeley in Molecular and Cell Biology. Her research background is in developmental biology, where she studied how 'edgeless' epithelia—spherical tissues and tubes—manages to determine planar polarity and elongation. In graduate school, she discovered a passion for teaching as a mentor to undergraduate student researchers with the Bilder Lab. She has continued to pursue this passion as a lecturer at San Francisco State University, instructing advanced physiology and leading lab courses that focus on experimental design.

"I was invited to speak at Mills a couple of years ago and was completely blown away by the interactions I had with the undergraduates,” says Dr. Lipari. “Students I met were engaged in their classes, had their own passion projects outside of school, and when it was finally time for my talk they were the most curious audience I had ever spoken to. I was, of course, charmed by the lovely campus, but the students were what made Mills special. It is hard to find a campus with that kind of passion, and I wanted to get to teach in that kind of environment."

About the Annette Chan-Norris '65 and Evan Norris, MD, Endowed Visiting Professorship in Science and Technology:
Alumna Annette Chan-Norris '65 and her husband, Evan Norris, MD, established the Chan-Norris visiting professorship to bring visiting faculty to Mills who can provide additional instruction and advising reflective of contemporary knowledge in the areas of science and technology. These generous donors are interested in supporting scientific fields where women are under-represented, focusing on the disciplines of computer science, mathematics, biology, chemistry, and physics.

About Mills College
Located in Oakland, California, in the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area, Mills College is a nationally renowned independent liberal arts college for women and gender non-binary students, with graduate programs for all genders. Ranked one of the top-tier regional universities in the West by U.S. News & World Report, Mills is also recognized as one of the Best 384 Colleges in the nation by The Princeton Review. Since 1852, we’ve been empowering students to become creative, independent thinkers and leaders who take and inspire action. Take a virtual tour.