Mills to Merge with Northeastern University 

Oakland, CA—September 14, 2021
A Message from Mills President Elizabeth L. Hillman

Dear Mills Community Members,

Today, the Mills College Board of Trustees approved the merger of Mills College with Northeastern University, ensuring that the educational mission of Mills and its commitment to social justice, gender equity, and cultivating women’s leadership will live on. The merger is expected to take effect on or about July 1, 2022, subject to regulatory and other approvals. When completed, Mills will become Mills College at Northeastern University, and our campus will be gender inclusive.

The merger with Northeastern offers concrete and meaningful opportunities for our students, faculty, staff, and alumnae—opportunities that Mills could not offer on its own. Aligning with Northeastern means that Mills will remain a vibrant center of learning with deep connections to the broader Oakland community.

At the same time, Mills will be setting off on a new path, different from what we have known. The moment invites us to reunite as one Mills community and, working alongside our Northeastern colleagues, create a future that honors the legacy of Mills and brings vital elements of a Mills education to new audiences here and throughout Northeastern’s global network of campuses. Now is the time to explore and pursue opportunities, pushing open doors that we could not open on our own.

Most immediately, however, I know that many of you have questions about what this change means for you. In the months ahead, transition teams will work out the many details that need to be addressed and will provide regular updates to the Mills community. The transition process at Mills will be led by Renée Jadushlever, vice president for strategic communications and operations.

The following are confirmed agreements at this early point in the merger process, assuming the merger happens on or about July 1, 2022: 

  • Students: Students who complete their studies before June 30, 2022, will graduate with a degree from Mills College. Students who complete their studies after June 30, 2022, will graduate with a degree from Mills College at Northeastern University. Mills and Northeastern will provide transition counseling and financial support to help each student evaluate options for continuing, and funding, their degree work. That support will enable currently enrolled students to complete their degrees without increases in anticipated costs.
  • Faculty: Northeastern will honor and abide by the terms of tenure of Mills faculty who hold a tenured position or a continuous contract and will offer tenure-track faculty and adjunct faculty opportunities for employment.
  • Staff: Staff who are employees of Mills on July 1, 2022, will become employees of Northeastern. Mills Employee Services will provide details in the coming weeks regarding employee salary increases and a reinstatement of the employer match of the Mills 403(b) retirement program.
  • Alumnae: Northeastern will support Mills alumnae to engage with their alma mater through reunions and campus events. Northeastern will also continue to support the Reinhardt Alumnae House. Alumnae of Mills will be eligible for benefits available to Northeastern graduates, including a 25 percent tuition discount on degree programs in the Northeastern campus network.
  • Community: Northeastern will oversee the creation of formal procurement policies at the Mills campus to support local, women-, and minority-owned businesses. Mills College at Northeastern University will continue to foster mutually beneficial relationships with communities and institutions around the Mills campus, including with the City of Oakland.

A key next step in the transition process is for Mills and Northeastern faculty and staff to work jointly to develop the undergraduate and graduate degree programs that Northeastern will offer on the Oakland campus through Mills College at Northeastern University and otherwise. Degree programs will leverage the strengths of both Mills and Northeastern and will be relevant to both students and the employer community.

Also, faculty and staff from both Mills and Northeastern will collaborate to further develop a Mills Institute to carry on the Mills legacy of advancing women’s leadership and empowering BIPOC and first-generation students. Northeastern has committed seed money to launch and fund the Institute.

Until the merger is completed, Mills will continue to operate as an accredited degree-granting institution and be led by the current administration. Mills and Northeastern will also work together to address Mills’ operating expenses and financial needs through the completion of the merger.

I want to thank every member of the Mills community for your engagement and your passionate support for Mills. The last 18 months have tested us on multiple levels. It is our singular dedication to the mission and values of Mills College that brings us to where we stand today and that will provide the strength and vision to help us shape tomorrow.

All best,

Elizabeth L. Hillman
President, Mills College

About Mills College

Located in Oakland, California, Mills is a nationally renowned independent liberal arts college for women and gender nonbinary students, with graduate programs for all genders. Ranked one of the top-ten regional universities in the West by U.S. News & World Report, Mills is also recognized as the #1 Best Value College in the West. As one of the most diverse liberal arts colleges in the country, Mills has a strong record of academic success with first-generation students, students of color, Latinx students, LGBTQ+ students, and other underrepresented students. The Mills experience is distinguished by small, interactive classes, one-on-one attention from exceptional faculty, a culture of creative experimentation, and cutting-edge interdisciplinary learning opportunities which empower students to make a statement in their careers and communities.

Media Contact

Tami Kelly

For More Information

Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for general questions about the transition plan at Mills. Visit our Community Support page to view messages from our community supporting the College's pursuit of an alliance with Northeastern University. We are committed to sharing information on an ongoing basis as it becomes available.

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