viae diversae. (Latin)
Motto in English
|Type||Liberal arts women's college with graduate programs for women and men.|
|Endowment||$189.3 million (2014)|
|President||Alecia A. DeCoudreaux|
|Campus||Urban, 135 acres|
Mills College is an independent liberal arts and sciences college in the San Francisco Bay Area. Mills began as a seminary school known as the Young Ladies' Seminary, founded in 1852 and located in Benicia, California. It moved to its current Oakland location in 1871, and Mills became the first women's college west of the Rockies. Currently, Mills is an Undergraduate Women's College, with graduate programs for women and men. The college offers more than 40 undergraduate majors and 33 minors, and over 25 graduate degrees, certificates, and credentials. The college is the also home to the Mills College School of Education and the Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business.
The college's mission statement is:
Mills is an independent liberal arts college for women and men. The College educates students to think critically and communicate responsibly and effectively, to accept the challenges of their creative visions, and to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to effect thoughtful changes in a global, multicultural society.
Mills encourages openness to experimentation in the context of established academic disciplines. Programs are designed to reflect the importance of global issues, provide an understanding of the natural world, and enhance opportunities for women in their developing roles throughout society. The curriculum combines traditional liberal arts with new educational initiatives that recognize the value of cultural, racial, and ethnic diversity.
Inspired by a teaching philosophy that grows out of its longstanding dedication to women’s education, Mills provides a dynamic learning environment that encourages intellectual exploration. The faculty of nationally and internationally respected scholars and artists is dedicated to developing the strengths of every student, preparing them for lifelong intellectual, personal, and professional growth.
In 2013, U.S. News & World Report ranked Mills fifth overall among colleges and universities in the Western U.S. and one of the top colleges and universities in the Western U.S. in "Great Schools, Great Prices," which evaluated the quality of institutions' academics against the cost of attendance. The Princeton Review ranks Mills as one of the Best 378 Colleges and one of the top "green" colleges in the U.S. Washington Monthly ranks Mills as one of the top 10 master's universities in the U.S.
Mills College was initially founded as the Young Ladies Seminary at Benicia in 1852. It was under the leadership of Mary Atkins, a graduate of Oberlin College. In 1865, Susan Tolman Mills, a graduate of Mount Holyoke College (then Mount Holyoke Female Seminary), and her husband, Cyrus Mills, bought the Young Ladies Seminary renaming it Mills Seminary. In 1871, the school was moved to Oakland, California and the school was incorporated in 1877. The school became Mills College in 1885. In 1890, after serving for decades as principal (under two presidents as well), Susan Mills became the president of the college and held the position for 19 years. Beginning in 1906 the seminary classes were progressively eliminated. In 1921, Mills granted its first master's degrees. From 1945-1947, the college sponsored an ambitious literary magazine, Pacific, which published work from established and emerging writers (including students) in its ten issues.
On May 3, 1990, the Trustees announced that they had voted to admit male students. This decision led to a two-week student and staff strike, accompanied by numerous displays of non-violent protests by the students. At one point, nearly 300 students blockaded the administrative offices and boycotted classes. On May 18, the Trustees met again to reconsider the decision, leading finally to a reversal of the vote.
In 2014, Mills became the first single-sex college in the U.S. to adopt a policy explicitly welcoming transgender students.  The policy states that applicants not assigned to the female sex at birth but who self-identify as women are welcome, as are applicants who identify as neither male nor female if they were assigned to the female sex at birth.  It also states that students assigned to the female sex at birth who have legally become male prior to applying are not eligible unless they apply to the graduate program, which is coeducational, although female students who become male after enrolling may stay and graduate. 
Mills offers over 40 undergraduate majors and more than 30 minors across the arts and sciences. Students have the option to design their own college major (with faculty assistance and approval). Mills also provides the first two years of courses leading to a bachelor of science in nursing degree from Samuel Merritt University, an engineering program in conjunction with the University of Southern California, and pre-professional programs in both law and medicine and health sciences.
Undergraduate students can participate in one of seven bachelor's to master's accelerated degree programs, which allow students to earn an undergraduate and a graduate degree in less time. The programs include BA/MBA Business Administration, BA/MA Early Childhood Education, BA/MA Infant Mental Health, BA/MA Interdisciplinary Computer Science, BA/MA Mathematics, BA/MPP, and BA/MA/Credential Teacher Education.
Mills is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). The college follows a semester system.
Rankings and student body
In 2013, U.S. News & World Report ranked Mills fifth overall among colleges and universities in the Western U.S. and one of the top colleges and universities in the Western U.S. in "Great Schools, Great Prices," which evaluated the quality of institutions' academics against the cost of attendance. The Princeton Review ranks Mills as one of the Best 378 Colleges in the U.S. in 2013. Washington Monthly ranks Mills as one of the top 10 master's universities in the U.S. based on research, service, and social mobility.
In recent years, Mills College has been recognized for its sustainability efforts on campus. The Princeton Review has ranked it one of the top "green" colleges in the U.S. four years in a row. Sierra, the Sierra Club magazine, also ranked the college as one of "America's Coolest" green schools.
For the 2013–14 academic year, Mills student body totaled 1,608 students, with 997 undergraduate women and 611 graduate men and women. Forty-one states are represented in the student body, and international students from 6 different countries attend the college. Fifty percent of the undergraduate students and 40% of the graduate students self-identify as students of color. Sixteen percent of the undergraduate population are "resumer" students who are 23 years or older and returning to college.
The Music Program at Mills is noted for being at the forefront of experimental music study and composition. Well-known composer Luciano Berio was on the music faculty of Mills in 1962-1964, and in 1966 Pauline Oliveros became the first director of the Tape Music Center (later the Center for Contemporary Music), where she composed her electronic works "Alien Bog" and "Beautiful Soop". Morton Subotnick, later a member of the faculty, received his master's degree from Mills, studying composition with Leon Kirchner and Darius Milhaud. Laurie Anderson, Dave Brubeck, Joanna Newsom, Phil Lesh, Noah Georgeson, and Steve Reich attended the program, as well as the famous synthesizer designer Don Buchla. Terry Riley taught at Mills starting in the early 1970s. Avant-garde jazz pioneer Anthony Braxton has taught at Mills on an intermittent basis since the 1970s. Lou Harrison, Pandit Pran Nath, Iannis Xenakis, Alvin Curran, Gordon Mumma, Maggi Payne, Pauline Oliveros, Frederic Rzewski, Zeena Parkins, Fred Frith, and many others have all taught music at Mills.
Since 1966, the Center for Contemporary Music (CCM, formerly the San Francisco Tape Music Center) has emphasized experimental methods in contemporary music and its allied arts and sciences. CCM maintains a variety of electronic equipment, instruments and studios, provides instruction and technical assistance, and archives audio recordings. The Center also performs a wide variety of community services in the arts, including public concerts and lecture series, informational and technical assistance, and artist residencies. Maggi Payne and Chris Brown are presently co-directors of CCM. Payne is a composer, performer, interdisciplinary artist, and recording engineer. Brown is an instrument builder, a pianist, and a composer.
Public Policy Program
Mills College offers a BA in Public Policy, an MPP, a BA/MPP accelerated degree program, and an MPP/MBA to students dedicated to social justice issues and policy analysis. Mills Public Policy students are focused on "assessing public problems, developing creative solutions, and implementing policies that are efficient, equitable, and feasible."
The school's first student-run policy journal, The Policy Forum at Mills', was successfully launched in 2013, and provides a forum for policy solutions and analysis to its students, as well as allowing for discourse on published issues.
The campus is described in alumna Jade Snow Wong's book Fifth Chinese Daughter, first published in 1945.
Julia Morgan buildings
In 1904, Mills president Susan Mills became interested in architect Julia Morgan because she wished to further the career of a female architect and because Morgan, just beginning her career, charged less than her male counterparts.
Morgan designed six buildings for the Mills campus, including El Campanil, believed to be the first bell tower on a United States college campus. Morgan's reputation grew when the tower was unscathed by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. The bells in the tower "were cast for the World's Columbian Exposition (Chicago-1893), and given to Mills by a trustee". The Margaret Carnegie Library (1906), which was named after Andrew Carnegie's daughter. The Ming Quong Home for Chinese girls, built in 1924 and purchased by Mills in 1936, which was renamed Alderwood Hall and now houses the Julia Morgan School for Girls (independent of the College). She designed the Student Union in 1916. Kapiolani Cottage, which has served as an infirmary, faculty housing, and administration offices. And finally, Mills's original gymnasium and pool, which have been replaced by the Tea Shop and Suzanne Adams Plaza.
|Architect||S.C. Bugbee & Son|
|NRHP Reference #||71000132|
|Added to NRHP||October 14, 1971|
Designed in 1869 by S. C. Bugbee & Son, Mills Hall became the College's new home when it moved from Benicia to Oakland in 1871. Mills Hall is "a long, four-story building with a high central observatory. The mansarded structure, which provided homes for faculty and students as well as classrooms and dining halls, long was considered the most beautiful educational building in the state". Mills Hall is a California Historical Landmark and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Ten different on-campus living options are available at Mills, including traditional residence halls, a housing cooperative, family housing, and apartment living.
Mills College teams participate as a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III. The Cyclones are a member of the Association of Division III Independents. Women's sports include cross country, rowing, soccer, swimming, tennis, and volleyball.
- Mills College honorary degree recipients
- William Joseph McInnes Botanic Garden and Campus Arboretum
- Women's colleges in the United States#20th century history
- Mills College Mission & History
- Horowitz, Helen Lefkowitz. Alma Mater: Design and Experience in the Women's Colleges from Their Nineteenth-Century Beginnings to the 1930s. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1993 (2nd edition).
- "Facts About Mills College". Mills College official website. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
- As of June 30, 2014. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2013 to FY 2014" (PDF). National Association of College and University Business Officers and Commonfund Institute. 2015.
- "Mills College Cyclones website". Mills College Athletics & Recreation Department. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
- "Mills College Undergraduate Catalog". Retrieved 7 December 2013.
- "Mills College Graduate Programs". Retrieved 7 December 2013.
- "Mills College - Mission and History". Mills College - Mission and History. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
- "U.S. News Best Colleges Rankings - Mills College". U.S. News College Compass: Best Colleges 2014. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
- "The Best 378 Colleges - 2014". The Princeton Review. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
- "The Princeton Review's Guide to 322 Green Colleges - 2013 (presented in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council)". The Princeton Review. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
- "Washington Monthly College Guide Rankings - 2012 Master's Universitites". Washington Monthly. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
- "Susan Lincoln Tolman Mills". Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
- "Venerable School for Women Is Going Co-ed". nytimes.com.com. 1990-05-04.
- "Mills Students Protesting Admission of Men". nytimes.com.com. 1990-05-05.
- Bishop, Katherine (1990-05-06). "Disbelieving and Defiant, Students Vow: No Men". nytimes.com.com. Retrieved 2010-05-12.
- "Protest Continues at College Over Decision to Admit Men". nytimes.com.com. 1990-05-08.
- "College to Reconsider Decision to Admit Men". nytimes.com.com. 1990-05-12.
- Bishop, Katherine (1990-05-19). "Women's College Rescinds Its Decision to Admit Men". nytimes.com.com. Retrieved 2010-05-12.
- "Mills College: Special Undergraduate Programs". Retrieved 26 February 2014.
- "Mills College: Bachelor's to Master's Degree Programs". Retrieved 26 February 2014.
- "Mills College academic calendar". Retrieved 27 February 2012.
- "America's Coolest 'Green' Schools - 2011". Sierra Magazine. Sierra Club. Retrieved 27 February 2012.
- Bernstein, David W. (2008). The San Francisco Tape Music Center: 1960s counterculture and the avant-garde. University of California Press. p. 34. ISBN 0-520-24892-9.
- Holmes, Thomas B.; Holmes, Thom (2002). Electronic and experimental music: pioneers in technology and composition (2 ed.). Psychology Press. p. 192. ISBN 0-415-93644-6.
- Ito, Susan (Winter 2004). "Julia Morgan at Mills" (PDF). Mills Quarterly (Mills College). p. 14. Retrieved 2008-02-27.
- Mills College 2007/2008 Undergraduate Student Handbook (PDF). School Datebooks. 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-27.
- "Mills Hall". Office of Historic Preservation, California State Parks. Retrieved 2012-03-30.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009. Retrieved September 14, 2012.
- Thompson, Daniella (2006-11-17). "East Bay Then and Now: This West Berkeley Landmark Is a Proud Survivor". The Berkeley Daily Planet. Retrieved 2008-02-27.
- "CERES: State Historical Landmarks for Alameda County". Retrieved 2008-02-28.
- "Mills College Housing - Residential Options". Retrieved 27 February 2012.
- "NCAA Members by Division". Retrieved 2012-02-29.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mills College.|
- Mills College official website
- Historic American Buildings Survey, January 1993. Mills Hall. Photographs, description, history
- Photographs of Mills College, ca. 1940, The Bancroft Library
- Index to the ten issues of Pacific, the literary magazine of Mills, 1945-47