The Sesquicentennial Campaign began in 1997 and has raised
$109.5 million for important new facilities and programs at Mills
The campaign’s goal was to raise $100 million by Dec. 31, 2004
but through the efforts of the president, who worked closely with
the Board of Trustees, the Office of Institutional Advancement and
the Alumnae Association, they have surpassed goals already.
“Fundraising is a group effort,” said Adam Blum, the acting
associate vice president of Institutional Advancement. “We weren’t
sure, but did not expect to exceed [our goals] so far.”
Many large donations to the college were made within the last
“You can’t raise a hundred million unless you have multi-million
dollar gifts,” said Blum.
The largest gift was $10 million from Lorry Lokey, the father of
a Mills alumna, which will go to the Master of Business
The second largest gift was $4 million from Mary and Dick
Holland of Omaha, Neb., which went to a professorship in Early
Childhood Education as well as financial aid for students studying
Early Childhood Education. One million dollars of the gift will
also be used to endow summer bridge programs such as the Summer
Academic Workshop, which helps high school students transition to
“Almost eleven million went to financial aid, which was the most
important and most popular priority among the donors,” Blum
About 60 percent of the campaign’s money came from alumnae.
“Mills alumnae are amazingly generous,” Blum said. “One thing
I’ve noticed in talking to so many graduates from every generation
is that Mills women are strong and feisty women whether from the
class of 1935 to 1985.”
Effective fundraising requires being able to push through
cultural fears about talking about money, according to Blum.
“You don’t raise this kind of money without asking for gifts,”
Blum said. “Fortunately Mills has volunteers and [an]
administration who are willing to ask for these gifts.”
The president, Board of Trustees, faculty and administration
decide what programs need funding, while the Office of Student Life
represents student interests and priorities for the campaign.
Renovation and improvement of the facilities at Mills is also a
concern. One priority is the renovation of the music building,
which would cost $18 million, although almost $5 million has
already been raised. The expansion of the Life Science building is
also on the list, which would cost $10 million, while $3 million
has been raised thus far.
Another priority is endowment for undergraduate research. This
allows students the opportunity to do independent research under
the supervision of a faculty member in their area of interest and
to receive money for supplies or be paid for work in the
“The college is in a good financial situation,” Blum said. “As
long as fundraising and enrollment remain strong, Mills has a
strong financial future.”
The college will continue raising money for new college
priorities after the campaign ends in December.
“We are going to shoot as far as we can, so we can get as far as
possible above [our] goal,” Blum said.