Giving another large financial boost to Mills, Lorry Lokey has again shown his dedication to the college.
Lokey, father of Mills alumna Ann Lokey and trustee of the college, announced at a Mills College trustees meeting in February that he would be donating another $5 million to Mills College.
The company he founded, Business Wire, will also donate $5 million in a program that will match the funds contributed by other donors. Lokey’s donations to Mills total over $15 million and will go toward Mills’ growing MBA program.
“Lokey is the dream donor. Not just because of his generosity, but he really thinks clearly on societal and educational needs, especially for women,” President Janet Holmgren said.
Lokey and Holmgren agreed that it’s important for Mills to improve its graduate programs. The money that he is donating to Mills will be used to strengthen the 4+1 MBA program, and will help fund construction for a new MBA facility.
The program and the new building will help to strengthen both the undergraduate experience and enhance women’s opportunities in business, according to Holmgren.
Lokey’s dedication to the advancement of women has consistently been strong. Business Wire, in business for over three decades, was honored in 2003 with the Ruth Weyand Award, an award given to companies with policies and hiring practices that support women in the workplace.
In 2003, 16 of the 26 regions and districts of Business Wire’s U.S. offices were headed by women. Lokey’s continued support of women in the workplace is shown in Business Wire’s in-house child-care center — one of the first of its kind in San Francisco.
In an interview with the Association for Women in Communications, Lokey said, “Women are the heart of the business because they joined us and they stayed with us.”
Lokey feels that education, more than anything else, is the key to advancement; he has a history of making large contributions to support education and music programs in colleges on the West Coast.
He turns down any requests for donations that are not education related and feels that it’s his duty to pick up where the government has failed.
“The government is shortchanging education,” Lokey said. “What they’re not doing for education is going to undermine the whole country.”
He has donated more than $15 million to Mills. His other contributions include donating funds to build a new music building at the University of Oregon and over $20 million each to Santa Clara and Stanford universities.
Lokey plans to help build a new building for The Stanford Daily, where he was an editor in 1949 and realized he had a future in journalism.
“Journalism has created the basis for a business that paid,” he said.
Lokey has worked for the United Press, he was a beat reporter for The Longview Daily News in Washington state, and worked for the news bureau at General Electric. During a business trip for General Electric, Lokey saw a Teletype machine ticking away instant news updates and he was struck with a plan that created his company Business Wire.
Lokey’s daughter, Ann Lokey, who graduated from Mills in 1985 with a degree in Child Development, also took an interest in journalism. She wrote for The Weekly during her senior year at Mills. “Mills is very near and dear to my heart,” she said.
She shares her father’s feeling that Mills needs to strengthen their graduate programs. She said she had to take more classes when she went to school for her MBA because those classes hadn’t been offered at Mills when she went.
Lokey’s contributions haven’t been limited to higher education. Having never forgotten how Alameda Elementary School in Portland, OR helped foster his early education, he donated money to build a new library for the school.
“Teachers those days were something an exceptional bunch of teachers,” Lokey said.
He has also donated over $10 million to a high school in Israel where children from Russia and Ethiopia have immigrated.
“My father is very into donating, especially for education,” Ann Lokey said. “I was thrilled when he began to donate to Mills.”