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Northeastern University and Mills College finalize historic merger

Following months of in-depth discussions and consultation with key stakeholders, today the presidents of Northeastern University and Mills College announced that the two institutions have reached a definitive agreement to merge and establish Mills College at Northeastern University. Photo by Ruby Wallau for Mills College

Following months of in-depth discussions and consultation with key stakeholders, today the presidents of Northeastern University and Mills College announced that the two institutions have reached a definitive agreement to merge and establish Mills College at Northeastern University. The agreement has been signed by both presidents and approved by the governing boards of both institutions. 

The merger will bring Mills College and its distinctive mission focused on access, equity, social justice, and women’s leadership into Northeastern’s global network, which includes campuses across North America and in London, England. Mills College at Northeastern will take its place alongside Northeastern’s existing colleges, and its educational programs will become gender inclusive. President Elizabeth L. Hillman will remain the leader of the college and retain her title as president. 

“The merger with Northeastern offers concrete and meaningful opportunities for our students, faculty, staff, and alumnae—opportunities that Mills could not offer on its own,” Hillman wrote in a message to the Mills community. “Aligning with Northeastern means that Mills will remain a vibrant center of learning with deep connections to the broader Oakland community.” 

All current Mills students will have the option of completing their degree programs at Mills or transferring to Northeastern at no additional cost, and all existing financial aid commitments made to Mills students will be honored by Northeastern. Mills students will have access to the university’s breadth of experiential, lifelong learning, and student life opportunities. Today, Mills has 613 undergraduates and 348 graduate students.

“Together we have an opportunity to create something truly unique in higher education.” President Aoun wrote in a message to the Northeastern community. “We aspire to build a comprehensive, bicoastal university that leverages the complementary strengths of Mills and Northeastern for the benefit of students and society.”

In addition to Mills College at Northeastern University, the merger will establish the Mills Institute, dedicated to advancing women’s leadership and to empowering BIPOC and first-generation students. Northeastern will provide seed funding for the Institute, along with support and infrastructure provided to Northeastern’s existing interdisciplinary centers and institutes.  

All tenured faculty at Mills will remain tenured in Mills College at Northeastern University and be subject to Northeastern’s post-tenure review processes. Tenure-track faculty will pursue the tenure process in accordance with existing academic standards at Northeastern. Currently, Mills has approximately 80 faculty members, about half of whom are tenured.

Mills alumnae will join Northeastern’s global network of graduates and be eligible for the benefits and opportunities available as lifelong members of the Northeastern community. Additionally, Mills graduates will continue to have access to the Mills Alumnae House located on the Oakland campus.

Under the terms of the definitive agreement, Northeastern will assume all of Mills’ financial assets, liabilities, and contractual obligations. The merger will take full effect on July 1, 2022, after all regulatory approvals are secured. Upon closure, Mills’ faculty and staff will become employees of Northeastern. 

The Mills campus will join Northeastern’s global network as its newest location for the advancement of experiential education, lifelong learning, and use-inspired research. The Mills Institute and Mills College at Northeastern will be headquartered at the campus, as they continue to advance the legacy of Mills from within Northeastern.

Hillman and Aoun have appointed senior administrators from Mills and Northeastern to lead extensive integration efforts, ranging from the development of academic programs to the integration of technology and infrastructure. 

“Our world is in desperate need of what great colleges and universities provide: knowledge, discovery, innovation, inclusion, and service,” Aoun said. “By joining together, Mills and Northeastern can reach new heights and have broader impacts on our world. This is our collective mission, our calling, our guiding star.”

For media inquiries, please contact media@northeastern.edu

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