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Mills, meet president elect Hillman

(Courtesy of Mills College)
(Courtesy of Mills College)

I’ve been covering the numerous academic debacles at Mills for almost four years, so it was an odd sort of farewell/senior moment when I wrote my recent article on incoming President Elizabeth Hillman.

It was really nice to be able to write an article about Mills’ state of academic affairs (albeit future affairs) and feel like I could be positive, or at least cautiously optimistic.

I talked to and interviewed at least a dozen people regarding my article on incoming President Hillman and no one had anything bad to say about her, which, the skeptic journalist and realist in me started to be worried about. However, with writing this article and everything that comes along with it  — interviews, research and editing, I found my cautious optimism more and more founded.

The work that Hillman has done at UC Hastings, the Air Force and Rutgers all point to a person who is a dedicated teacher, historian and defender of women’s rights. Hearing my interviewees, which ranged from folks who have worked with Hillman, students at Mills, staff, and those on the committee that selected her, talk about Hillman in really high regards was really comforting, that maybe I am not missing something and I’m not writing some fluff piece on the new president of Mills. I am writing about a truly genuine and dedicated educator.

Which is almost hard for me to come to face with because a lot of the more in depth reporting pieces I have done have been looking at the more dire situations at Mills, be it the $3 million being cut from the academic budget, to adjuncts needing to unionize in order to protect themselves and their livelihoods.

I honestly think that Beth Hillman is working really hard to be putting her best foot forward in her introductions to Mills, such as at her welcoming ceremony on March 2 where she asked those in attendance to stop her when they see her and tell her their favorite things about Mills, so that she can share in that love of Mills. I’m hopeful for what is coming down the pipe for Mills, and even though I’ll be graduating in May, best know that I will be keeping a critical eye on the college.