Mills is Named 2021 Hispanic-Serving Institution Leader by Fulbright Program

Mills College named Fulbright Hispanic-Serving Institution LeaderOakland, CA—October 27, 2021

Mills College has been recognized as one of the first 35 colleges in the United States to be named a Fulbright Hispanic-Serving Institution Leader. In an announcement today, the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) recognized a select number of Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) for their outstanding participation in the Fulbright Program, the US government's flagship international educational exchange program. Mills College is honored to be included in this inaugural distinction for its status as both a Hispanic-Serving Institution and a top producer of Fulbright students.

Designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution in 2017, Mills’ Latinx students represented more than 25% of the student body, demonstrating the College’s longstanding commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive learning environment. Today, more than 65% of Mills undergraduates identify as students of color with 33% identifying as Latinx. According to Mills Professor and Fulbright Program Advisor Martha Johnson, “Mills College faculty and staff have helped generations of talented, globally-minded students and graduates secure Fulbright fellowships to pursue English teaching, advanced degrees, and independent research around the world. Through their work, these alums have enriched their host communities, diversified their professions, and raised Mills College’s profile as an internationally recognized institution.”

As a top-producer of Fulbright students according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, Mills celebrated the achievements of three students in 2019-20 who received awards enabling them to teach, learn, and further their cultural understanding in Latin America. Mills Fulbright Committee members—Professor Nalini Ghuman, Professor Lisa Urry, and Program Advisor Professor Martha Johnson—were pleased to recognize the work of Coco Kennedy ’18 who traveled to Bogotá to teach English and worked with local beekeepers; Robert Lopez, MFA ’13, who pursued his musical studies in Candomblé drumming in Brazil; and Cory Gray, MFA ’15, who explored the local dance styles of Salvador and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Read the full news story.

“Many Mills College awardees have returned to share their work with current students, encouraging students from all backgrounds to consider international study and research as a part of their future and providing invaluable mentoring,” noted Professor Johnson. "Fulbright has also provided amazing opportunities for Mills faculty to conduct research and teach abroad, allowing them to incorporate new international perspectives into their Mills courses.”

Active in more than 160 countries worldwide and funded by an annual appropriation made by the US Congress, the Fulbright Program was created in 1946 to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Over 2,200 US students are awarded Fulbright grants annually through a selective application process. Since 1949, Mills has sent 60 students to participate in this premiere exchange program in countries spanning nearly every continent and in fields ranging from ethnomusicology to public health.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Academic Programs Ethan Rosenzweig praises the institutions that comprise the 35 Fulbright HSI Leaders: “Thank you for creating a campus culture that celebrates the mission of Fulbright and international exchanges. Thank you for epitomizing the principle that mutual understanding between peoples of the United States and other countries will lead to a more just and peaceful society at home.”

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. Consistently ranked one of the top-ten regional universities in the West by U.S. News & World Report, Mills has again earned the #1 Best Value College in the West for 2022. 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.