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The Mills Institute at Northeastern

Advancing women’s leadership. Championing gender equity and racial justice.

students with laptops sitting outside in discussion


Preserving and advancing the legacy of Mills College

The Mills Institute at Northeastern University preserves and advances the legacy of Mills College by supporting female and nonbinary leaders and helping BIPOC and first-generation students become agents of change in a global, multicultural society.

Launched with $30 million in seed funding, the institute’s programs and partnerships will support transformative learning, advocacy, and research, with a focus on career development for women, gender nonbinary individuals, and communities that historically have been marginalized because of race or ethnicity.

Housed in Mills Hall, the institute will be led by an executive director who will collaborate with an advisory board and leadership council. The institute will engage Oakland and Bay Area leaders as well as national experts in women’s leadership and gender and racial justice to become a force for impact.

student sitting outside smiling at laptop screen
two students in discussion outside campus building

local impact, global reach

Sharing new knowledge and experience

As the newest of Northeastern’s multidisciplinary institutes, the Mills Institute extends new kinds of opportunities to our students and partners. Institute leaders and faculty will work with Northeastern’s Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion and Bay Area community organizations to forge learning programs, research, and policy initiatives across our global university system.

By providing our community and partners unique opportunities to advance social justice across a vast range of geographic, political, and cultural contexts, our global university system serves as a platform for scaling ideas, partners, talent, and solutions, making the work of our students, faculty, and collaborators richer and more consequential.

what we do

Areas of focus


Expand on the successful legacy of the Mills College summer bridge programs, which support first-generation and transfer students transitioning to college.


Be a home to undergraduate research programs that provide one-of-a-kind experiential learning opportunities that help address underrepresentation by women and BIPOC individuals, particularly in STEM fields.


Build partnerships with community groups and other institutions of learning—in Oakland and beyond—that have a proven history of addressing the roots of racial and gender inequities.


Host conferences that convene experts from the local, national, and global levels, including students, faculty, alumni, and community organizations.

our history

Carrying on the Mills College legacy

1852Mills College is founded as the Young Ladies’ Seminary in Benicia, California.
1865Missionaries Susan and Cyrus Mills buy the seminary and rename it Mills College. 
1871The seminary is moved to the Oakland foothills, where a new campus has been purchased and Mills Hall is built.
1885Mills is chartered as the first women’s college west of the Rockies.
1920The Graduate Division opens, offering programs to both women and men.
1926Mills launches the first laboratory school west of the Mississippi for aspiring teachers.
1974Mills becomes the first women’s college to offer a computer science major.
1990The trustees reaffirm their commitment to educating women following a campus-wide strike to remain all-women at the undergraduate level.
2001Mills becomes the first women’s college to offer a bachelors-to-master’s BA/MBA accelerated degree program.
2014Mills launches the first transgender and nonbinary admissions policy in the country at a women’s college.
2022Mills merges with Northeastern University; the Mills Institute is established.



The Mills Institute is led by Interim Executive Director Christie Chung, PhD who will collaborate with an advisory board and a leadership council including leaders in Oakland and the Bay Area, as well as national experts in women’s leadership and gender and racial justice.

For more information about the Mills Institute, please call 510.430.3232 or email


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