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State of the College Reports Mills in Good Shape

The College is going strong, with a growing endowment, new degrees offered, new campus construction and a decision to enter the bond market, the president said in her annual State of the College Address.

About 100 people, mostly staff members and alumni, attended Thursday’s speech in the Student Union that Holmgren titled, “High Marks for Mills” _” borrowing the headline of a recent San Francisco Chronicle editorial.

Mills has kept a strong balanced budget for the third fiscal year in a row, she said, and since the 2004_”2005 school year, the endowment has grown to $178 million from $155 million, making the college a “strong institution.” The bond, borrowing $28 million, will leverage the college’s financial stability, Holmgren said.

Portions of the loan will go to building new graduate and upper-division undergraduate housing, as well as the new two-story Natural Sciences building for the Life Sciences department.

The new building, for which Convocation speaker Sally Ride helped to break ground on Sept. 30, will be an environmentally certified “green building.” Green buildings are built using environmentally friendly construction practices and materials.

Other construction projects are also underway. Alumna Jeannik Littlefield donated $4 million toward the renovation of the concert hall. When the project is finished the hall will be renamed the Littlefield Concert Hall.

The colleges’ participation in UC Berkeley’s $19 million National Science Foundation technology grant is also a move toward securing the future of the college, Holmgren said. Mills’ students are “intense users” of technology, she said, and Mills is only one of two women’s colleges participating in the NSF grant.

In addition to technology, Holmgren stressed the importance of women making inroads in the sciences as well. For the first time in history, the College is offering a Bachelor of Sciences degree in the areas of biology, biological psychology, chemistry, environmental sciences, biochemistry and molecular biology. Holmgren said she envisions Mills as a “pipeline for women to advance in the sciences.”

When Holmgren turned over the floor for questions and announcements, the news that the position of Director of Services for Students with Disabilities had been filled drew applause from the audience. Mills has been trying to fill the position for over a year. The college is waiting to make an official announcement to release the applicant’s name.

Holmgren said she attributed the success of the college to “hard work” and thanked the entire Mills community for “thinking boldly and going the extra distance.”