Office of the President

Elizabeth L. Hillman


Mills College President Elizabeth L. Hillman
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Elizabeth L. Hillman

President of Mills College

Dr. Elizabeth L. Hillman is the 14th President of Mills College. When she arrived at Mills in 2016, she brought a passion for independent, student-centered education and gender and racial justice along with the grit, courage, and resolve to help Mills envision its future.

During her first year, the College articulated MillsNext, a new standard for accessible, transformative education through three pillars: academic excellence in the arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences, and technology; applied learning, global understanding, and real-world skills development; and gender and racial justice in academic programs and community engagement. In September of 2017, she led a tuition reset effort to translate the value of a Mills education to prospective students and their families, resulting in a historic 36 percent (or $16,000) reduction in undergraduate tuition, confirming Mills’ commitment to access and affordability for all students. Her leadership team has relied on Mills’ illustrious faculty and enterprising students to elevate student success, building new pathways to degrees, new academic structures and programs, and stronger partnerships.

Under President Hillman, Mills has formalized partnerships with UC Berkeley, the Peralta Community College District, and the Oakland Unified School District to maximize the resources and offerings of each institution to the benefit of students, and to provide seamless pathways to a transformative education. Hillman sees a broad-based, liberal arts education as creating the potential for growth, understanding, and progress, has an innate understanding of how to unite passionate people around a mission, and has been a national leader in promoting gender and racial equity, especially in the US armed forces.

A scholar of history and law, President Hillman frequently speaks and publishes on issues of sexual violence and gender equity and teaches courses at Mills. Her expertise in sexual violence and gender issues in the military has won national and international recognition. She has been an expert witness for Congress and national commissions, most recently at a Congressional Women’s Caucus hearing to address nonconsensual pornography in the US Military (Marines United), and served on the Response Systems to Adult Sexual Assault Crimes Panel (RSP), an independent panel chartered by the US Congress to study and make recommendations about sexual assault in the US military. A veteran of the US Air Force who taught history and law at the US Air Force Academy, Yale University, Rutgers, and the University of California Hastings College of the Law, she was president of the National Institute of Military Justice and reporter for the two Cox Commission reports, which recommended improvements to the US military justice system.

President Hillman has also engaged nationally in higher education leadership. She serves on the board of the Women’s College Coalition, as a member of the NCAA Division III Chancellors and Presidents Advisory Group, and is a founding member of the President's Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, which seeks to influence the policy-making process on immigration, especially the policies that affect undocumented students. She was appointed to serve on a blue-ribbon study group, the  National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Committee Addressing Sexual Harassment in the Science, Engineering, and Medical Workplaces, that released a path-breaking report in 2018.