group of joyful Mills College graduates in traditional caps and gowns

Congratulations to the Class of 2021!

Commencement | Commencement FAQs | Drive-Thru "Carmencement"

2021 Mills College Commencement

Virtual Ceremony
Saturday, May 15, 2021
9:45 am–12:00 pm Pacific

The day you've been waiting for is here! Today—Saturday, May 15, 2021—Mills College celebrates our incredible, unstoppable Class of 2021 with a virtual Commencement ceremony followed by an in-person campus drive-thru event. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, these ceremonies are replacing our traditional in-person Commencement gathering. The 2021 Commencement ceremony will be streamed on our virtual Commencement broadcast web page.

At our 133rd Commencement, the College recognizes the achievements of our students and confers upon them the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of a Mills degree. The dignity and customs of this historic ceremony are rooted in medieval times, when colleges and universities developed methods and standards for marking progress in knowledge and professionalism.

In keeping with this tradition, the virtual Mills Commencement ceremony will begin streaming promptly at 9:45 am Pacific and end at approximately 12:00 pm. Addressing the Class of 2021 will be President Elizabeth L. Hillman, Chair of the Board of Trustees Katie Sanborn ’83, Provost and Dean of the Faculty Chinyere Oparah, and this year's Commencement speaker, Alicia Garza.

2021 Commencement Speaker

Alicia Garza Mills College 2021 Commencement SpeakerMills College is pleased to welcome Alicia Garza, principal at Black Futures Lab, author of The Purpose of Power, and co-creator of #BlackLivesMatter, as this year's Commencement speaker.

Alicia believes that Black communities deserve what all communities deserve—to be powerful in every aspect of their lives. An author, political strategist, organizer, and cheeseburger enthusiast, Alicia founded the Black Futures Lab to make Black communities powerful in politics. In 2018, the Black Futures Lab conducted the Black Census Project—the largest survey of Black communities in over 150 years.

Alicia is the co-creator of #BlackLivesMatter and the Black Lives Matter Global Network, an international organizing project to end state violence and oppression against Black people. The Black Lives Matter Global Network now has 40 chapters in four countries. She also serves as the strategy and partnerships director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the nation’s premier voice for millions of domestic workers in the United States. Additionally, Alicia is the co-founder of Supermajority, a new home for women’s activism.

Alicia has become a powerful voice in the media and frequently contributes thoughtful opinion pieces and expert commentary on politics, race, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Her work is featured in TIME, MSNBC, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Guardian, Elle, and Essence.

In addition, Alicia has received numerous accolades and recognitions, including being on the cover of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the World issue (September 2020), named to TIME’s 100 Women of the Year list (March 2020), Bloomberg;50 (2020), BBC’s 100 Women 2020, Fortune's 40 Under 40, Fast Company’s Queer 50 list, Politico 50, and 3x recipient of The Root’s list of 100 African American achievers and influencers. Alicia has received the Sydney Peace Prize, Adweek Beacon Award, Glamour’s Women of the Year Award, Marie Claire’s New Guard Award, and was honored as the Community Change Agent at BET’s Black Girls Rock Awards.

Commencement Frequently Asked Questions

Drive-Thru Event

To celebrate our Class of 2021 and our Class of 2020, Mills is holding in-person, drive-thru events on campus in May. The Class of 2021 Carmencement will take place in the afternoon immediately following the virtual Commencement ceremony. The Class of 2020's event will be held the next Saturday. For detailed information and to sign up for an arrival time, visit our "Carmencement" web page.