Gertrude Cornish Milliken (1880-1969) was born in Worcester, Massachusetts and graduated from Middlebury in 1901.
She taught science and mathematics across New England and completed graduate work at Clark University. In 1911, she founded House-in-the-Pines, a private school for girls in Norton, Massachusetts.
She was invited to serve as a member of the Middlebury College Advisory Board of the Women’s College (yes, there was a separate Women’s and Men’s College back then, with single-sex, separate governing boards). She served in this role for 34 years.
In 1947, Milliken wrote to Middlebury’s President Stratton and asked him “to consider the possibility and the appropriateness of appointing one or more women to serve on the Board of Trustees.”
The Board of Trustees listened, and on June 14, 1947, voted to add women to its membership.
Milliken became Middlebury’s first woman trustee in 1948. The Advisory Board of the Women’s College was discontinued in June 1949, and Milliken served on the newly integrated Board of Trustees until her death in 1969.