Merger Coverage

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A repository for original articles and reposted content about Mills College’s merger with Northeastern University. Visit mills.edu/merger for more.

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Frequently Asked Questions from Alumnae

What will happen to Mills alumnae, the Alumnae Association of Mills College (AAMC), Reinhardt Alumnae House, and the Mills endowment as a result of this merger?

Mills alums will continue to be valued and welcomed as part of the Mills College community, including to the campus and Reinhardt Alumnae House, and will also have access to the benefits that Northeastern offers its graduates such as tuition discounts for additional degrees. The Mills College endowment will continue to be used for the purposes for which the gifts were intended and to support activities on the Mills campus. The College has continued to support the AAMC and is now in conversation with the AAMC about our future relationship. Reunions are already being planned for 2022 and beyond, and the Mills Quarterly will continue to publish.

Mills College at Northeastern University will continue to engage with Mills alumnae.

Is Mills selling or releasing ownership of the campus property to Northeastern?

Mills College and Northeastern University are merging and will work collaboratively to maintain and renovate the Oakland campus. Upon completion of the merger, Northeastern University will own the property and assume responsibility for maintaining and enhancing the campus.

Will the entire campus be utilized in the new institution, or will there still be other partners?

Before establishing a master plan for the campus, we must develop curricular offerings and design ongoing and new programs. Assessments are underway to identify renovation needs and new construction options.

Do you know if there will be any guarantee/commitment to the preservation of the physical structures on the campus by Northeastern?

Northeastern will continue the current names of the buildings, structures, and spaces of the Mills campus.

Do you anticipate renovating outdated residence halls and building new ones for more students?

Yes, we anticipate residential renovations and new residential buildings, over time, and will conduct a review of the current buildings to make those decisions. The review will help determine if the buildings need extensive or minor renovation, as well as set out a plan for future growth.

What are the plans for the endowments of Mills College, and how will they be spent post-merger?

Endowments of Mills College will continue to be used for the purposes for which they were given to the College. They will support activities on the Mills campus. No changes will be made in the uses of any endowed fund without communication with the donor or other legally required steps. The investments of the College’s endowments will be managed by Northeastern University and will be spent in accordance with Northeastern’s spending policies.

While all the details of the merger are being worked out, I hesitate to donate to Mills College. What information can you share to set my mind at ease?

Your gift to Mills will continue to support the students, staff, and faculty that you know and have supported at Mills throughout the years. The designation you select when you make your gift will be honored as it always has been. It is our responsibility to ensure that the intent behind your gift is respected and honored and that the purpose you select receives the full benefit of your generosity. For example, should you select Mills’ Greatest Need, your gift will directly support operations on the campus that you love and will benefit the students who are studying here. Gifts to the new Mills Legacy Scholarship Fund will support women and gender nonbinary students well into Mills’ new future and partnership with Northeastern University.

How do we continue to donate to Mills when it formally becomes Mills College at Northeastern University? Will gifts to Mills be retained by Mills or go into a general Northeastern fund?

Your gift will go exactly where you have designated it to be placed. There will continue to be opportunities to support the Mills campus and its programs, students, staff, and faculty. Gifts to Mills’ Greatest Need will be essential to the campus, and undergraduate scholarships will always be a top priority. You can select the program or student scholarship that you want to support with your gift and rest assured that your gift will be used for the purpose that you have intended.

Board of Trustees Statement

The following statement from the Board of Trustees was first published on the Mills website on April 15. Until July 1, you can view the original at mills.edu.

We, the Board of Trustees of Mills College, care deeply for Mills and share the sense of loss that Mills College cannot survive in its current form. We decided to merge with Northeastern University with full knowledge that it was the best way to support our students, faculty, staff, and the broader community. We believe with great conviction that Mills College at Northeastern University and the Mills Institute are the best opportunities for continuing the Mills legacy.

We have every confidence in the leadership and dedication of President Elizabeth L. Hillman, and we support her leadership of Mills College at Northeastern University, which will continue the legacy of Mills and create the Mills Institute. She has the best interests of our entire community at heart and is bringing strategic thinking and innovation at a most difficult time.

With the same deep care the board brings to all of its fiduciary responsibilities, our deliberations to forge a new path for Mills were conducted methodically, with careful and diligent attention to detail, in consideration of the importance of Mills’ legacy, with an understanding of the higher education landscape, and with knowledge of Mills’ enrollment and operational challenges throughout decades. Those challenges and persistent liquidity difficulties compelled the College to declare a financial emergency in 2017 and to sell valuable campus assets since then. Even with those extreme measures, the College does not have a sustainable financial model.

Throughout the entire process of evaluating the College’s financial situation and selecting a path forward for Mills to sustain its educational purpose, the Board of Trustees was provided with extensive information, the opportunity to meet with key institutional leaders, and the ability to ask relevant questions and receive clarifying information. After an exhaustive review of options, and many years of dedicated efforts by multiple administrations to create a sustainable model, we chose to take the very significant step of merging with another institution.

We want Mills to continue to be the best it can be. We looked at many possibilities and several opportunities. We found in Northeastern University a partner that will value our Mills students, our Mills faculty, and our Mills campus. The merger with Northeastern University means students will continue to study with Mills faculty on the Mills campus and obtain degrees and access to broader opportunities for study and experiential learning, including career preparation. The merger preserves the jobs of Mills’ faculty and staff, many of whom have served Mills for their entire careers. The signing of the merger agreement with Northeastern allowed Mills to provide the faculty and Mills employees with their first cost-of-living increase in more than a decade. The merger will also bring more jobs, more investment, and deeper community involvement to Oakland, especially East Oakland, and the Bay Area at large.

We are dismayed that funds are being expended to fight this merger that could better serve existing students as they make their transitions to complete their degrees at Mills this spring or become students at the new Mills College at Northeastern University, on the Mills campus, in Oakland. We care deeply for Mills’ students and are disturbed by the efforts to disrupt and mislead them with misinformation during a time when they are navigating changes in the institution at which they chose to study. We also find the efforts to malign President Hillman through misinformation campaigns and personal attacks to be shameful.

While our decisions have been difficult, we as trustees know that we were adequately informed and had ample opportunity to voice our opinions. President Hillman and her team’s knowledge and transparency enabled us to make thoughtful, reasoned decisions.

Without this transformative opportunity, the future of our treasured institution was in jeopardy. Now, with renewed confidence and excitement for the opportunities before us, we will expand our reach and amplify the impact of Mills globally. We ask the Mills community to embrace this necessary change with openness and optimism.

Summer 2022 Quarterly stories

Spring 2022 Quarterly stories

  • Northeastern Students Learn Mills Traditions: In her role as director of orientation and family programs, Jillian Mosley ’18 took seriously the responsibility of teaching Northeastern’s Leading Social Change spring cohort about the Mills community.
  • Student Services: How the Northeastern merger is affecting the academic experience.
  • Campus Refreshments: The work to prepare the Mills campus for an estimated 1,000 Mills and Northeastern students this fall will be a “fine-tuned ballet” in the months ahead.

Winter 2022 Quarterly stories

  • The Transition Process: Merging two institutions that carry more than a century of history apiece is no small task. At Mills, Vice President for Strategic Communications and Operations Renee Jadushlever is overseeing the project.
  • Facts About the Merger: While there are many details that are being worked out about the impending merger of Mills College and Northeastern University, a number of core tenets are already in place.
  • Northeastern Pilots Spring Social Justice Program at Mills: While the merger between Mills and Northeastern University won’t be complete until later this year, a new academic program at the College this spring will get the ball rolling.
  • Exchange Students: Almost immediately after the merger agreement between Mills and Northeastern was signed on September 14, 2021, officials from both schools started a series of cross-continental visits to bring the two institutions together on a more personal level.
  • The Mills Institute Comes to Life: What is an Institute? In the weeks and months following President Hillman’s March announcement that Mills College would transition into a non-degree-granting institute, this question was asked many times.