In an Aug. 27 email, President Alecia DeCoudreaux announced the retirement of Eloise Stiglitz, Vice President for student life and dean of students. Stiglitz has been at Mills since February 2013 and will leave on October 31. Stiglitz filled this position after it was held by interim Dean of Students, Dr. Kathleen Rice, following the departure of Dr. Joi Lewis.
Stiglitz came to Mills from California State University, San Marcos, where she served as the Vice President of student affairs since 2010. In the past Stiglitz has worked at San Jose State University, Rutgers University and Georgia State University, among other universities; during her career in higher education, she has held several positions including vice president of student affairs, associate vice president of student services and counseling center director.
Stiglitz will be leaving Mills with many memories—one of her favorites is attending the candle-lighting ceremony during orientation. During this event, new students light candles in a circle and write goals or wishes on cards which are then tied to tree branches.
“Being connected to the years of history of Mills through this beautiful tradition while the new students added their hopes to the trees was a profound experience,” Stiglitz said in an email. “Every student’s hope is anchored in the years of history.”
Having come to Mills with a history of working at state colleges, Stiglitz enjoyed the intimacy that she found at a small women’s college.
“I loved the opportunity to have students over for dinner, to get to know students more personally,” Stiglitz said, noting that there are several other major differences between the two types of colleges. “State schools, by virtue of their size, have significantly more resources which allows for more and different programs and services for students. I would also say our students tend to be, on the whole, more committed to academics….”
Stiglitz’s decision to retire came after much deliberation.
“I spent time over the summer thinking about my values and what is important to me,” Stiglitz said. “I came to the conclusion that at this time in my life, I needed to reshuffle my priorities.”
For Stiglitz retirement does not mean a life of total leisure; instead, she describes it as a “sabbatical to refocus [her] energy.” She hopes to travel, spend time with her family and is considering training her dog to be a therapy animal for nursing homes, among other endeavors.
“I started a book years ago about women who transformed their lives,” Stiglitz said. “Work has gotten in the way of completing it, and now I will have the time. I owe it to the women I interviewed to get the book published.”
Stiglitz said that her time at Mills has given her a stronger understanding of the issues facing a women’s college today.
“Mills has been an amazing place. I admire the student gumption, the pride and strong voices,” Stiglitz said. “I feel honored to have spent the last couple years of my higher ed career here.”
According to President DeCoudreaux’s email, an event thanking Dean Stiglitz will be held later this semester. The College has hired a firm to assist in a nation-wide search for a replacement and is in the process of assembling a search committee made up of faculty, staff and students, which will be chaired by President DeCoudreaux. According to the Aug. 27 email, the position should be filled by January.