Next semester, Mills College will welcome more than 140 middle
school aged girls as the Julia Morgan School for Girls will move
locations and permanently reside within the campus in Alderwood
The Julia Morgan School for Girls has invested 2.5 million
dollars to renovate and retrofit the 20,000 square foot
Mediterranean style building, which they will be leasing from Mills
for at least 25 years. Along with the adjoining Geranium Cottage,
the school will have plenty of space for computer centers, science
labs, and fine arts classes.
Julia Morgan students will be attending school weekdays from
8:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and have an afterschool program that ends at
Currently, Alderwood Hall is used as a guest house and
conference center. Historically, Alderwood was built to be a
Chinese orphanage for girls until Mills bought the building in
1936. Up until 1969, the building was used for student
According to the director of the Julia Morgan School for Girls
Ann Clark, Mills College is the ideal location to expand their
private, all-girls school. The school’s new home, Alderwood Hall,
was designed by the school’s namesake Julia Morgan in 1924. The
space is twice the size as the space they are using now at Holy
Names College in Oakland. Also, the school will have access to the
Mills art galleries, soccer fields, and Haas pavilion.
The students at the Julia Morgan School for Girls will benefit
from being a part of the Mills community, according to Clark.
“Being on a women’s college campus…in a building designed by our
namesake, is an inspiration to our girls,” said Clark.
In addition to having access to parts of the college, Clark said
she envisions linking up with different departments including
athletics and education. “Mills has the Cyclones; we have the
Hurricanes,” said Clark. “We have so much in sync; even our team
names are similar.”
Clark said the school will also be looking for Mills students
interested in volunteer as well as paid positions. She said she is
looking for substitutes, office help and afterschool
Karen Maggio, Mills Assistant Vice President for Business
Affairs, said the inclusion of Julia Morgan School for Girls is a
great synergy of schools who share such similar goals and
interests. “[The school] was built to educate young girls from the
very beginning,” she said. “Their admissions are similar to ours.
Educating women is a high priority. We are lucky to have them
The Julia Morgan School for Girls shares many of the same values
as Mills such as maintaining a diverse academic environment that
creates empowered women. Almost half of the student body are young
women of color whose goals include growing intellectually,
celebrating their strong identities, and realizing their dreams,
according to their philosophy statement.
Denise Harrington’s 12-year-old daughter Rachel will be
attending the Julia Morgan School for Girls next fall. Currently,
Rachel’s babysitter Aeron Miller, is a sophomore at Mills.
Harrington said she hopes her daughter will have plenty of
interaction with Mills women. “I’m hoping the first hand experience
before high school will help them to know what to expect from a
college education and give them something to look forward to,” said
The Board President of the Julia Morgan School for Girls Ilana
DeBare understands the value of same sex education. The former
Chronicle reporter recently released Where Girls Come First: The
Rise, Fall, and Surprising Revival of Girls’ Schools. This book
traces the history of girls only schools over a 200 year period
across the country.
The current status of all-female education is far removed from
the period in which Mills College was a finishing school where
Mills students walked around the campus oval for fresh air and
exercise, and were graded for character traits such as neatness and