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Mills College To Discontinue Degree Programmes
Christian Eede , March 18th, 2021 18:02

The Oakland institution counts Laurie Anderson, Steve Reich and Holly Herndon among its alumni

Mills College President Elizabeth L. Hillman has announced that the Oakland, California school is ceasing its degree programmes in 2023.

In an open letter, Hillman said the decision has been made to close the institution's degree programmes due to the "economic burdens of the COVID-19 pandemic, structural changes across higher education, and Mills' declining enrolment and budget deficits." She added that the college will continue, however, in its mission "to foster women's leadership and student success, advance gender and racial equity, and cultivate innovative pedagogy, research and critical thinking."

Mills' music degree programmes have made a significant impact across the experimental and electronic music scenes, counting the likes of Laurie Anderson, Steve Reich, Holly Herndon, Sarah Davachi and Ana Roxanne among its alumni. John Cage, Terry Riley and Anthony Braxton have also served roles as faculty members in recent decades, with the college playing a key role in drawing musicians towards Oakland's local music scene.

Writing on Twitter, Seth Horvitz (Rrose), who is an alumni of Mills, said: "I can't even begin to describe the importance of Mills College in shaping and expanding my creative vision and the vision of countless others over the course of 169 years. There would be no Rrose without Mills."

Describing the decision to end degree programme as "heartbreaking," Sarah Davachi said: "The music department at Mills has brought so many incredible people together and created an incomparable musical community that makes the Bay Area so special. I'm honoured to have been a part of that, and am deeply saddened by this."