13th President of Mills College

Alecia A DeCoudreaux

Mills College inducted their thirteenth, and first African-American President, Alecia A. DeCoudreaux, in July of this year, a milestone event that brought more than 1,200 people together to the College with a 159-year history of providing educational excellence exclusively for women.

“Since my college years at Wellesley, I’ve maintained my passion for women’s education,” said DeCoudreaux. “I’m now ready to follow that passion.”

Mills College, founded in 1852 as a young ladies seminary in Benicia, is historic in its milestones regarding women’s education.  In 1885, Mills College was the first women’s college chartered west of the Rockies, and in 1990, a campus-wide strike ignited.

Students demanded that Mills remain an all women campus at the undergraduate level.  In 2008, the Lorrey T. Lokey Graduate School of Business was built to house Mills’ MBA program, becoming the first in the west designed to advance women in business.

Currently there are 950 undergraduate students at Mills, while 600 graduate students attain further enhancement of their education.  President DeCoudreaux looks forward to the challenge of upholding Mills’ rich legacy, and according to her credentials she is well suited.  Her accomplishments include her position as General Counsel for Eli Lilly USA in Indiana, and chairman of the Board of Trustees at Wellesley College where she graduated in 1976.

DeCoudreaux believes she can improve Mills College’s visibility among national and international students, as well as uplift campus technology and the school’s study-abroad programs. DeCoudreaux feels that these are necessary components towards building a better institution.  Her tenacity for success and helping others is the reason the college lured the former attorney to Mills. On January 24, 2011, DeCoudreaux was honored with a lifetime achievement “Inspire” award.


Written by: Malaika Bobino