'Not a Roadblock, But a Strength'
Many people shape and influence our lives. But the occasions are rare when we can assemble those people together in one room and thank them for inspiring us.
Stacy Mills, BSBA ’87, got that chance on November 1 when her classmates, mentors, teachers, colleagues, family, and friends gathered to celebrate her accomplishments, career, and generosity.
Her many fans convened for the naming and dedication of the Mills Family Lounge on the fifth floor of Sargent Hall, one of Suffolk University's main academic buildings. The lounge is a popular gathering space for students, staff, and faculty, and its dedication formally recognized Mills for sharing her time, expertise, and financial support so generously with the Suffolk community.
As global controller and chief accounting officer for Marsh McLennan, a Fortune 200 corporation headquartered in New York City, Mills has made philanthropic support of Suffolk a priority, funding scholarships and providing travel and mentorship opportunities for accounting students. She also serves on the Suffolk University Board of Trustees.
For students who attended the ceremony, Mills conjured her humble roots: commuting with her electrician father to Suffolk from her home in Billerica each day; discovering her talent for accounting and pursuing it; and using her status as a first-generation college student and her gender to fuel her drive for success.
"Look at this very shy, introverted young woman who ended up the chief accounting officer at Marsh McLennan," said Mills. "Don't let being first-gen be a roadblock. Let it be your strength. It's who you are."
A giant in the Suffolk community
Suffolk President Marisa Kelly told Mills that the Mills Family Lounge will be "an enduring tribute to you and your family. We are so proud of you for your many accomplishments and so grateful for your generous spirit."
Bob Lamb, chair of the Suffolk Board of Trustees, cited Mills for her tireless service, including chairing the board’s audit compliance and risk management committee and serving on the compensation committee. “She is a giant in our community," Lamb said.
Amy Zeng, dean of the Sawyer Business School, said the school’s “growing reputation and global reach are due in part to distinguished alumni like Stacy. She’s a wonderful example of the thousands of students who have benefited from their education here and graduated to achieve amazing professional success”—thanks, she added, to the Business School’s emphasis on innovative programs, high-quality teaching, and experiential learning integrated into the curriculum.
Associate Dean Tracey Riley praised Mills for not only her generosity, but also her warmth and deep concern for students. Last spring, Riley approached Mills to ask if she might bring a group of accounting majors by the Marsh McLennan offices for a quick visit during a planned trip to New York. Mills responded by creating a full-day program for the students, including a case study exercise, meetings with senior executives, and a visit to the 9/11 Memorial Museum. She even provided funding for the students’ travel.
"Stacy’s dedication to her alma mater is making an impact on students every day," Riley said.
One of those students—senior Boston Emmanuel, Class of 2023, an accounting major and the first member of her family to attend college—seconded that observation. "Your experiences and your achievements are representative of first-generation students' fervent desire to succeed,” she told Mills. “You inspire me to do well.”
And, as she often does with alumni and friends, Mills used the occasion to invite them to join her cause.
"Find your way to help this next generation too," she said. "Suffolk is a great place to invest your time and resources, because you'll meet students like these and change someone's life."