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Shirley Weishaar takes a leave of absence from Mills

Dr. Hilda Hernández-Gravelle
was officially appointed to the position of Senior Advisor to the
President of the College and Acting Vice President for Student
Affairs on Tuesday, Sept. 27 after Shirley Weishaar took a
voluntary leave of absence from her position as Dean of

A member of the Mills community for
21 years, Weishaar first worked as the head of the Career Center on
campus, followed by a brief position as the Sophomore Dean during
the 2002-2003 school year. In late spring of 2003, she stepped in
as the Dean of Students when Myrt Whitcomb left the position to run
the undergraduate admissions program.

Office of Student Life staff
Moiré Bruin and Kennedy Golden and Mills College President
Janet Holmgren would not comment on reasons for Weishaar’s

In her new position,
Hernández-Gravelle will report to Holmgren as a College
officer and oversee the Office of Student Life. According to
Holmgren, Hernández-Gravelle has “a fine

This background includes a
doctorate degree from Harvard, employment as the acting Dean of
Students at Simmons College, Assistant Dean of the College at
Harvard, and work with the Irvine Foundation, a group that makes
grants to private organizations with a focus on higher

Hernández-Gravelle came to
Mills last April as the Senior Advisor to the President on
Retention and Diversity to support one of Mills’ larger goals,
according to Holmgren.

“I felt very much that issues of
student retention and diversity should have a high priority in the
institution,” Holmgren said. In her new position,
Hernández-Gravelle will undertake a comprehensive review of
the Office of Student Life and provide the office with guidance
throughout its changes.

Holmgren said that students should
not expect to notice a significant difference on campus due to the
change of personnel.

“Dr. Hernández-Gravelle is
very student oriented,” she said. “She is a wise woman who brings
great experience to Mills.”

As a Latina woman in a senior role,
Hernández-Gravelle will help to promote some of the values
of the College, according to Holmgren.

“Here we value competence and we
also value diversity,” Holmgren said. “We want to have an
administration that reflects this.”

While Hernández-Gravelle’s
position is not permanent, Weishaar will not return to the role of
Dean of Students, according to Holmgren. Weishaar said that she is
on leave until the end of the semester, but that she is still at
Mills “in spirit.”

“Shirley has been an incredible
colleague for the fifteen years that I have been in the Office of
Student Life. Everyone at Mills supports her taking the time she
needs,” said Golden, Assistant Dean of Students.

Holmgren said, “We are certainly
very sad not to have Shirley’s presence, and we hope we will regain