Oakland, CA—June 14, 2016
Alecia A. DeCoudreaux became the 13th president of Mills College on July 1, 2011. Her five-year tenure at Mills is highlighted by numerous laudable achievements that have helped strengthen the College's reputation as a nationally recognized, independent liberal arts college committed to providing students with access to education of the highest caliber.
“We are grateful for the leadership, vision, and service President DeCoudreaux has provided to Mills College,” said Kathleen J. Burke, chair of the Mills College Board of Trustees. “Due to her strategic vision and expert guidance, we have remained a strong, relevant institution and have moved forward on many fronts during her tenure.”
Under her leadership, the College crafted a strategic plan calling for several initiatives conceived to position Mills for a sustainable future. During her tenure as president, the College made great strides in implementing best financial practices, strengthening its commitment to access and inclusion, identifying new revenue opportunities, and reimagining curriculum for the 21st-century student.
Other noteworthy accomplishments include successfully partnering with the world-renowned American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco to restore the theater major at Mills. DeCoudreaux also expanded Mills’ global focus, initiating participation in the Women in Public Service Project created by the US Department of State; built a strong relationship with alumnae, community partners, and donors; and became the first women’s college in the county to institute a groundbreaking transgender admissions policy. Additionally, the College has worked to expand opportunities for students to pursue accelerated bachelors to master’s degree programs as part of its overall commitment to examine curriculum through the lens of maximizing the benefits of a liberal arts education in the 21st century. DeCoudreaux says one accomplishment that is near and dear to her heart is the Mills Urban Farm.
“Thanks to the generosity of our board chair Kathleen Burke and her husband Ralph Davis, we are able to expand our campus farm. The funds they have donated will allow us to really get it up and running, incorporate the farm into the curriculum, and engage with the community in a meaningful way,” DeCoudreaux said.
Over the course of the past five years, DeCoudreaux became the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the CEDAW Award for Education, the ABC News Profiles of Excellence Award, and the Madam C.J. Walker Pioneer Award, and was recognized as a Leadership California Trailblazer. In addition she was selected as one of the San Francisco Business Times’ most influential women in business and featured in Diverse Issues in Higher Education magazine’s “30 Women Making a Difference.”
After stepping down from the College presidency in June, DeCoudreaux intends to take time for herself. A road trip adventure with her husband, Cape Verde painter Jose Andrade, is planned for this summer, and she is currently in the process of building a home on Cape Cod for herself and her family.
Regarding her future, DeCoudreaux says, “I’m looking forward to taking the time to contemplate the next chapter of my life. I’m not sure what will unfold next, but I do know that I will take much of what I’ve learned at Mills with me.”
DeCoudreaux will be succeeded by Elizabeth Hillman, who will take over as the 14th president of Mills College beginning July 1, 2016.
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 with graduate programs for women and men. 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 380 Colleges in the nation by The Princeton Review. Since 1852, we’ve been empowering students to become creative, independent thinkers who take and inspire action. For more information, visit www.mills.edu.