With the appointment of nine new trustees, Mills administrators
and supporters continue to work for the well-being of the
Mills’ Board of Trustees is composed of 47 distinguished
individuals, all who believe in being passionately engaged in the
college, according to President Holmgren.
One of the newly appointed trustees is Thoraya Obaid, a major
advocate for women’s rights worldwide. Obaid graduated from Mills
in 1996 and is now the executive director of the United Nations
Population Fund (UNFPA).
“She is the highest ranking Saudi Arabian woman in the UN,”
Other new members on the Board of Trustees are Elihu Harris, who
was the mayor of Oakland from 1991 to 1999, and Myra Strober, a
professor of education and economics at Stanford and an expert on
gender in the workplace.
“We are very proud of the composition of our board,” Holmgren
The Board meets three times a year, but individual committees
often meet more frequently when important issues arise.
The Board has raised almost $110 million through a
Sesquicentennial Campaign, which began in 2001, according to
Holmgren. The goal at the start of the campaign was to raise $100
million, but after 9,000 donors contributed to the financial
stability of Mills, Holmgren estimated the total will reach $120
million by December.
The Sesquicentennial Campaign is one of the many topics that
arise in the board meetings. Issues such as curriculum development
and the future success of Mills are constantly topics of
At each meeting, the board is given the chance to hold
discussions that can result in the change of the college’s tactics
for recruiting, tuition, or hiring new professors and
administrators and nominating new Board members.
“We have a wonderful Board, with progressive thinking
individuals, so there’s not a lot of dissention,” said Robin
Isenberg, legal counselor and Board secretary at Mills.
“Coming to a consensus isn’t usually a problem,” Isenberg said.
“[It’s] not as if [the Board is] so locked into their opinions that
they can’t be persuaded to see things in a new way.”
The Board isn’t only diverse in terms of points-of-view.
Twenty-eight percent of the members are people of color and 35 of
the 47 members are women.
“There is a wealth of experience and professional knowledge in
the areas of law, academic matters, investment, corporate business
practices, non-profit management, and fundraising,” reads the
profile of the 2004-2005 Mills College Board of Trustees.
Individual trustees also have experience in government,
technology, teaching, corporate interactions and real estate.
According to the board’s profile, 90 percent of the trustees
donated to Mills in the past year.
“Part of my job is to build a board with the best positive
guidance and support,” said Holmgren. “With the launch of a new
school year and new ideas in the mix for the Board of Trustees,
decisions regarding the state of the college seem to be in good