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Historical Timeline

1852: Young Ladies' Seminary opens in Benicia, which becomes the state capital of California
1865: Cyrus and Susan Mills, Christian missionaries returning from the Sandwich Islands (present-day Hawaii), purchase the Seminary from Oberlin graduate Mary Atkins
1871: Cyrus and Susan Mills move the Seminary to the Oakland foothills where a new campus had been purchased and Mills Hall is built
1879: Mills Alumnae Association is founded
1885: Mills is chartered as the first women's college west of the Rockies
1889: Mills grants first bachelor's degrees
1904: Bell Tower constructed, the first of six buildings designed by famed architect Julia Morgan
1917: Mills is admitted to the Association of American Universities and Colleges
1920: Graduate Division opens, offering programs to both women and men
1921: Mills confers first master's degrees
1926: Education Department establishes the Children's School, the first laboratory school west of the Mississippi
1941: Mills becomes one of the nation's first liberal arts colleges to grant a degree in modern dance
1974: Mills becomes the first women's college to offer a computer science major
1990: Trustees reaffirm commitment to educating women following campus-wide strike to remain all-women at undergraduate level
1993: Women's Leadership Institute and its Center for Visiting Women Scholars is established
1994: Mills hosts Women in Science Summit which releases national report to advance women's leadership in scientific disciplines

Mills endowment passes $100 million mark

Mills Hall is renovated following near-destruction in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake

1999: Mills' first doctoral degree, an EdD in educational leadership, is accredited
2002: Mills celebrates its Sesquicentennial as the oldest women's college west of the Rockies
2006: Mills endowment passes $200 million mark
2007: Betty Irene Moore Natural Sciences Building earns a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, becoming the first building in Oakland to earn this distinction
2008: Groundbreaking begins on the Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business building to house the Mills MBA Program, the first in the West designed to advance women in business
2009: An extensive renovation and restoration of the historic concert hall is completed; the hall is renamed the Jeannik Méquet Littlefield Concert Hall
2010: 94-year-old Hazel Soares graduates from Mills with a bachelor's degree in art history, which makes her the second-oldest person ever to graduate from any college or university

The Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business Building becomes the first business school in the state of California to earn a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council

2011: Alecia A. DeCoudreaux named the 13th president of Mills College
2014: Mills launches the first transgender admission policy in the country at a women’s college
2016: Elizabeth L. Hillman named the 14th President of Mills College


Last Updated: 1/15/16