History of Mills College

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

1969: Mills' Black Student Union occupies the office of President Wert to demand greater diversity in the faculty and curriculum

Mills becomes the first independent college in the nation to offer an ethnic studies program

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

1994: Mills endowment passes $100 million mark

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 School of Business and Public Policy 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

SAT and ACT scores are no longer required for admission to Mills, removing a barrier to college access

Mills joins Oakland Promise, a community collaboration to ensure that every Oakland child graduates from high school and has the opportunity to attend college

2017: Mills establishes a formal collaboration with the University of California, Berkeley, to offer undergraduate and graduate student opportunities at both campuses

Mills achieves status as an Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) with more than 25% of the student body identifying as Hispanic

2018: Mills reduces undergraduate tuition by 36% to provide access and opportunity to a diverse population of students

Oakland Promise scholarships—totalling more than $150,000—are awarded to 23 girls from the Oakland Unified School District as part of Mills commitment to access, affordability, and community

MPOWER, a signature academic experience for all undergraduate students, debuts across all majors

A bachelor's degree completion program is introduced to help working women complete their degrees