To all members of the Northeastern community:

I am writing to share with you exciting news about a transformational opportunity that has the potential to shape our community for generations to come. Earlier today, the Board of Trustees of Mills College in Oakland, California voted to explore a first-of-its-kind strategic partnership with Northeastern. This new alliance would bring Mills College and its powerful mission into Northeastern’s global network.

Together with our colleagues at Mills, we are seeking to create something truly unique in higher education. Several factors make the promise of this partnership compelling:

Alignment: Renowned for its preeminence in women’s leadership, access, equity, and social justice, Mills College has been a pillar of educational opportunity for more than a century. Founded in 1852, Mills is home to a community of students, faculty, staff, and alumnae who have a deep passion for impactful social change through learning and innovation. Northeastern’s history and enduring focus on inclusion and empowering people from all backgrounds to realize educational and lifelong success is in perfect congruence with Mills and its ideals.

A Once-in-a-Generation Opportunity: In March, the leadership of Mills announced that they would no longer enroll students for future graduating classes. It soon became clear to many of us that a strategic partnership would open up exciting new possibilities that would strengthen both Mills and Northeastern. Not only are our missions aligned, but by combining our signature strengths we can create new and distinctive opportunities that extend and enhance our collective priorities.

Mills College and the Mills Institute: We recognize and share a mutual commitment to maintaining the excellence Mills has achieved in its educational programs. Through our proposed alliance, we will sustain the granting of degrees on the Mills campus under the name Mills College at Northeastern University. All students currently enrolled at Mills College will have the option to continue and graduate from Mills, or apply to transfer to Northeastern at no additional cost. All existing financial aid commitments made to current Mills’ students will be honored by Northeastern. We will also establish together the Mills Institute, a hub for research and advocacy that will advance women’s leadership, equity, inclusion, and social justice.

In a message sent this afternoon to the Mills community, President Beth Hillman wrote: “The College is pursuing negotiations with Northeastern because its leaders understand and support the vital contributions Mills offers, and because we share a vision of what education can and must be in the coming decades. The missions of Mills and Northeastern are aligned through our shared commitment to access, social justice, and urban engagement.”

In the weeks ahead, we will work together to shape a shared vision that will elevate our academic communities and ultimately society as a whole. I look forward to sharing updates with you as we make progress on this exciting collaboration.


Joseph E. Aoun