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Association for Mills alumnae now in-house

Mills College is taking over alumnae relations from the Alumnae Association of Mills College, according to a plan announced this summer.

The take-over is part of a revised deal between the College and the AAMC. It gives alumnae a more direct voice in college affairs, including a new seat on the board of trustees for the president of the AAMC, according to a July 17 letter sent to alumnae from the AAMC.

AAMC president Anita Bowers and Chairwoman of the Board of trustees Vivian Stephenson wrote in the letter, “The AAMC will play a leadership role in alumnae relations activities, through alumnae representatives whom the AAMC will appoint to an editorial board for the Quarterly, the AAMC’s publication about Mills, and to a Reunion Committee.”

Vice President of Development Virginia Rivera said that alumnae can expect a different approach to fundraising, which will include more internet use. “We have visions of utilizing online communication for more effect,” she said.

Though AAMC will reduce its staff, it will continue to recruit volunteers for events like the Reunion and Student Orientation, said Bowers.

Bowers said the change had to happen: “Its a big change and it was a difficult decision [but] we just don’t have the funding, infrastructure or staff.”

The AAMC will continue as a full partner of the college in alumnae relations. “The College cannot do without alumnae,” Bowers said.

The college’s resources will be used to improve alumnae relations, said Vice President of the Office for Institutional Advancement Ramon Torrechilha. “We are hoping for and working towards greater alumnae involvement. We want more alumnae to come to campus,” he said.

Stemming out of the Memorandum of Agreement between the College and the AAMC, all fundraising is now done through the Office of Institutional Advancement.

Danica Nuccitelli, class of ’00, has decided to start her own AAMC because she feels that alumnae are not being included in enough decisions.

“I’m trying to start a new AAMC … that would [be] permanently independent of the college administration, and that could help both alums and future students,” she said.

Her plans can be found at

Not all the alumnae are against the change. “I feel if they made a compromise, then it is fine. I am open to change,” said Elaine Santos, class of ’05.

She questioned how far the College and the alumnae should extend the partnership. “I think it is weird that the college would want to take to over the Reinhardt House, which might create bad relations with the alumnae,” Santos said.

The Memorandum of Agreement, signed by Mills College and the AAMC in 2005, was a five-year agreement, but the document included an option to renegotiate sooner. Rivera and Bowers said the decision to negotiate sooner was a joint one.

Rivera is excited about the new structure and said, “The College is committed to building a robust alumnae relations program that helps alumnae stay in communication with each other and the College.”