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Retiring & Remembered | Kennedy Golden: Jane of All Trades

Kennedy Golden in her office. (Photo courtesy of Kennedy Golden)
Kennedy Golden in her office. (Photo courtesy of Kennedy Golden)

Kennedy Golden, currently the associate dean of students, has taken on a lot of roles ranging from faculty wife to acting dean during her time at Mills College since July 15th, 1969. Golden has also raised her son on the Mills campus and has gotten a B.A. in theatre management and an M.A. in counseling psychology while working at Mills. After many memorable years at Mills, Golden has decided that it is time to move on and retire.

At first, Golden was a faculty wife, which was popular during the 1960’s and 70’s when the wives of faculty members were expected to perform unofficial duties for the college such as hosting dinner parties. At the time, Golden’s then husband was a professor in the theatre (dramatic arts) department. Golden also taught students how to build scenery and helped expose a lot of students to all kinds of aspects of theatre in the Bay Area.

After being a faculty wife, Golden was then the voice of Mills College on the switchboard, a system used to connect phone calls from multiple lines, for many years. She has also worked at the bookstore where she has seen many opening and closing semesters at Mills.

Golden acted in various jobs because of changes in staff that required someone else to cover the work. In some cases, Golden took on the jobs to help balance paying the bills while still working in theatre, such as backing up computer tape.

“I had just gotten a divorce, and I had to pay my rent,” Golden said. “I am always up for a challenge I guess. I can even say in hindsight that I did pretty well in each but they did stretch me.”

“Forty-five years is a lot of fabulous

—Kennedy Golden

Golden has also worked in student life and has worked with a total of nine deans. She also became interim dean.

“I call it my five months of hell just because it’s really-really hard work,” Golden said. “An incredibly challenging job, especially when you’re between deans, the needs don’t stop.”

Golden has been lobbying for Mills to bring back the theatre department since its demise in 2004. She feels the partnership with the American Conservatory Theater (ACT) will provide students with adequate training and exposure for the profession.

“I will be watching,” Golden said.

Because of the flexibility of Golden’s job at Mills, it has allowed her to take time off to get joint replacement surgery on both of her knees, her hip and her shoulder.  

While Golden would not discuss her reason for retirement, she said she will miss participating in the amazing journeys, seeing the growth and change of Mills and the people who come through her door.

“I’ll just miss coming to work every day,” Golden said. “I have literally watched trees grow at Mills.”

Golden will also miss the students of Mills as they keep her young and energized. She also has great hopes for Mills in the future as it is not easy for a liberal arts women’s college such as Mills to be surviving in this economy

As for post-retirement plans, Golden has many projects planned. One of her plans includes revisiting her and her husband’s childhood places throughout the world. Golden also wants to help the elderly.

“It is my goal, hopefully within the next two years, to be volunteering and working with senior citizens in transition, either from home to a facility, or one level of care to another or being alive to not being alive,” Golden said.

Golden is also thankful for the longevity of her time at Mills. 

“45 years is a lot of fabulous memories,” Golden said.

For more graduation-related posts, check out The Campanil‘s designated 2014 Commencement webpage here or click on the “Commencement” link in the upper right hand corner of the header.