Mills College Athletic Director Themy-Jo Adachi will be inducted into the Alameda County Annual Women’s Hall of Fame this month for her leadership in sports and athletics, and formation of an athletics program that improves Mills and its surrounding community.
“Themy’s influence is not confined to the athletic field, but outreaches and embraces the entire county,” read the nomination letter submitted last December by Sharon Chiong and contributed to by all staff members of the Mills College Athletics, Recreation and Physical Education Depart-ment.
“I’m very touched and honored especially because this came from my staff. It really means a lot to me that they would go through the work to honor me,” said Adachi.
Adachi is especially proud of her staff, because the daily work that they do in community outreach makes Mills Athletics a program worthy of recognition. “This award talks about acknowledging and recognizing really what Mills College has contributed to its community,” she said.
Adachi has worked as director of athletics for four years but has been serving the county in her many leadership capacities for over 22 years. According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s recent statistics, she is part of 17 percent of female athletic directors in the U.S. Of this small number, she is one of only 6 directors of color, and one of only 3 female Asian Americans to serve in the position nation wide.
“Gender and ethnicity aside, what most distinguishes Themy from her peers is her philosophical approach to sport that informs her administrative decisions,” wrote Chiong.
Adachi is responsible for the planning and construction of the Trefethen Aquatic Center, the hiring of a head tennis coach whose goal is to establish a youth outreach program, and the development of the NCAA’s “Challenging Athletes Minds for Personal Success” program at Mills.
She most recently made the decision to authorize 100 percent of net proceeds from this year’s Lunafest Film Festival to go directly to the Breast Cancer Fund.
“How often do you get to find out that you’ve made a difference? That’s a gift,” said Adachi. “But getting all this attention is just killing me,” she added with a laugh.