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Top Lilly attorney leaving to become college president

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Alecia DeCoudreaux, the top attorney for Eli Lilly and Co.’s U.S. unit, will leave to become president of Mills College, the Oakland, Calif.-based school announced Thursday.

DeCoudreaux, 55, has worked at Indianapolis-based Lilly for 30 years after earning her law degree from Indiana University Maurer School of Law. As general counsel for its U.S. business, DeCoudreaux guided Lilly through all U.S. regulations, including its applications with the Food and Drug Administration to launch new drugs.

She has been prominent in the Indianapolis area through volunteer work, including serving on the boards of the Indiana University Foundation, the Economic Club of Indiana, Indianapolis Downtown Inc., the Capital Improvement Board, the Women’s Fund of Central Indiana and the women’s leadership council of the United Way of America.

DeCoudreaux also chairs the board of trustees at Massachusetts-based Wellesley College, her alma mater. She will step down from that position, but remain on the Wellesley board, before taking the helm at Mills. Like Wellesley, Mills is a  women’s college, but it also operates a co-ed graduate school. Its total enrollment is nearly 1,600 students.

“It has been my stated long-term ambition to fill a leadership role in women’s education,” DeCoudreaux said in a statement, adding “ever since my college years at Wellesley, I’ve maintained my passion for women’s education. I’m ready now to follow my passion, and that passion is what carries me into the academic world.”

DeCoudreaux will start at Mills on July 1, replacing Janet L. Holmgren. She will be the 13th president in Mills' 159-year history.

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