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What they’re saying about the Northeastern University-Mills College merger

Mills student Marie-Christ Tunda watches birds from a hammock for a biology assignment in Holmgren Meadow at Mills College. Photo by Ruby Wallau for Northeastern University

The merger of Northeastern University and Mills College became official on Thursday. In the fall, over 800 new and returning students are expected to fill the Mills College at Northeastern University campus in East Oakland, California.

Here’s what university leaders, elected officials, faculty and staff, alumnae, and higher education pundits are saying about the historic partnership.

Joseph E. Aoun, Northeastern president,
and Elizabeth L. Hillman, Mills College president

Northeastern Mills Merger Brings Something Truly Unique

“The merger secures Mills’ future as part of an innovative educational institution, establishes the Mills Institute, and ensures that Mills’ 170-year legacy and commitment to social justice, gender equity, and women’s leadership will endure for generations to come.”

“This is an important milestone for our university and for higher education more broadly. This new partnership will allow us to build the only university in the United States with comprehensive campuses on both coasts—campuses that include undergraduate and graduate learning, residential life, recreation, and research.”

Loren Taylor
Loren Taylor, Oakland city councilor, poses for a portrait at Mills College. Photo by Alyssa Stone/Northeastern University

Loren Taylor, Oakland city councilor

Bay Area leaders optimistic about future of Mills College at Northeastern University

“I’ve gone through a few corporate mergers and integrations. And I know that whenever you blend cultures, institutions and histories there’s always some trepidation about what’s to come—how do we preserve the past while moving forward?”

“I think a lot of people who were resistant to the merger were afraid of what was being taken away, what was being lost. But it’s all about growth. It’s all about expanding the potential and the opportunity.”

Libby Schaaf, Oakland mayor

Bay Area leaders optimistic about future of Mills College at Northeastern University

“Mills College holds a special place in Oaklanders’ hearts, as it’s always served as a beacon for speaking truth to power and elevating our highest values of social justice. Now, as we continue to watch this transition and relationship with Northeastern develop, we’ll be rooting for all students and future alumnae to revitalize these proud traditions, create new ones, and develop the next generation of young, proud, fierce leaders from the East Bay.”

Mary Ludden, Northeastern’s senior vice president for global network and strategic initiatives

Bay Area leaders optimistic about future of Mills College at Northeastern University

“We want to be part of that community and build up those relationships that have existed and thrived for so many years.”

Helen Walter, visiting associate professor of biology, at Mills College at Northeastern. Photo by Ruby Wallau for Northeastern University

Helen Walter, visiting associate professor of biology at Mills

Mills faculty and staff look forward to experiential learning, being part of global university system

“We do see the benefit of putting students in our own research labs and working with them one-on-one. But having those opportunities in a different lab away from us (as part of the Northeastern co-op program). That’s going to be really powerful.”

Ryan Craig, managing director of Achieve Partners

Northeastern-Mills merger is official, creates ‘something truly unique in higher education’

“As students increasingly opt for higher education options that provide greater certainty of employment outcomes, employer-centric universities like Northeastern will continue to grow–in enrollment, online and in new geographies. Northeastern’s merger with Mills College provides one of America’s most innovative universities with a beachhead in its most innovative economy.”

Constance M. Yowell, Northeastern’s senior vice chancellor for educational innovation

Mills faculty and staff look forward to experiential learning, being part of global university system

“We know from our employer partners that Northeastern students are highly coveted because they have so much experience and are ready to contribute from day one. We look forward to offering all our students on the Mills campus amazing co-op experiences in the Bay Area and around the globe.”

Kate Karniouchina, dean of the Lokey School of Business and Public Policy, at Mills College at Northeastern. Photo by Ruby Wallau for Northeastern University

Kate Karniouchina, dean of the Lokey School of Business and Public Policy, at Mills

Mills faculty and staff look forward to experiential learning, being part of global university system

“I was blown away by the research support I’ve already received from Northeastern. We didn’t even officially merge yet, but we’ve already filed for a couple of grants. And we’re exploring all kinds of collaboration.”

Melissa Stevenson Diaz, city manager of Redwood City

Bay Area leaders optimistic about future of Mills College at Northeastern University

“Northeastern’s background, its real strengths are in the areas that I felt Mills were simply not going to be able to manufacture on its own. Things like supporting students in having work experiences.”

Michael B. Horn, higher education author public speaker

Northeastern Mills Merger Brings Something Truly Unique

“The merger of Mills College into Northeastern combines two powerful brands to transcend the trend that college mergers are among geographically neighboring institutions. [It] showcases that powerful strategic opportunities can be realized by leaning into each campuses’ strengths and offering programming and a living experience in two of the most important cities in the world on opposite coasts of the country.”

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