New Beginnings FAQ

Find something unclear on this page? Let us know at Thank you for helping us keep this page relevant!

What is New Beginnings?

New Beginnings is our name for the transition into the next chapter of our school’s history. In the spring of 2019, we began a series of steps designed to ensure a sustainable future for our beloved school. These steps included, but were not limited to, selling our building, leaving the GTU, and staff/faculty reductions.

Why did Starr King leave Mills College?

Mills College made the decision to merge with Northeastern University in fall 2021. In early 2022, we learned that we would need to leave our new campus at Mills this Fall as Mills @ Northeastern University charts its own new path.

Where is Starr King's new home?

In the summer of 2022, Starr King moved to our new home – 414 13th Street, Suite 700, in Oakland.

Our new home sits in the heart of downtown Oakland. The building is directly across from the historic Oakland Tribune building, with an urban courtyard just outside its doors. There is a coffee shop across the street and delicious food within walking distance of the building. Our neighbors in the building and in the area include several nonprofits and community organizations that we are excited to get to know better. The building is also next to a parking garage and around the corner from the 12th St. BART station, making it very convenient for our students, staff, and faculty to travel to. And we are only minutes away from the First Unitarian Church of Oakland—our original home and a longtime partner with our school.

We’ll be residing on the 7th floor, which spans nearly 3,000 square feet. The floor includes a reception area, a kitchen, two ensuite bathrooms, eight enclosed office spaces, and one large, flexible workspace ideal for classes, faculty workstations, chapel services or other uses. It’s a fully accessible elevator building and features a beautiful mix of exposed brick and natural light from its many windows, reminiscent of our previous home in Berkeley. You can see photos and take a virtual tour of our new space here.

Why did Starr King rebrand?

At Starr King, we have used this New Beginnings process to reflect on where we are now and to envision the future we seek to create together. In that vein, we recognized that we needed a refresh our school’s logo and branding to better embody how far we have come and where we intend to go, without losing the ethos of who we are. We also recognized a need for a brand refresh to better live out our counter oppressive values, specifically by increasing the accessibility of our color palette to those with visual impairments. Learn more about our rebrand here.

Why did Starr King leave the GTU?

The Starr King Board of Trustees voted to leave the GTU in the April 2020 meeting. This decision was a difficult one; there is a deep commitment at Starr King to what our late provost Ibrahim Farajaje named as “organic multireligiosity.” For many years, our membership in the GTU made this commitment easy to fulfill. Yet we had to face the reality that the cost of supporting consortial membership — $311,000 in the 2020-2021 school year alone — was frankly unsustainable. In addition, as much as our students value a multi-theological education, we also had to acknowledge that only a minority of our students take courses at other GTU schools; the total number of credits taken at the other schools amounts to less than 20% of total credits taken by our students. These two pieces of information were important drivers of our decision. Yet we remain committed to finding less expensive ways to provide education in a variety of religious traditions and practices, including through our new Center for Multi-Religious Studies, so that our graduates are fully prepared to embrace the multi-religious realities of the 21st century.

What library services are available to Starr King students?

Starr King is now a member institution of the Digital Theological Library 2 (DTL2), a co-owned online library for theology and graduate religious studies. DTL2 offers tens of thousands of journals and hundreds of thousands of books across multiple disciplines, extending beyond religious studies to include other fields in the humanities as well as the sciences. DTL2 provides the online access that our many distance learners require.

Why did Starr King decide to sell its building in Berkeley?

Maintaining our previous building was expensive; it cost $100,000 to run each year if nothing needed to be fixed. In addition, the building was not fully accessible, and the space no longer worked for the number of staff and students we have. We’d hoped to lease the building, but there were no appropriate offers. Therefore, after much reflection, the Board of Trustees made the difficult decision to sell the property.

What happened to our former building?

Our former property is being transformed into new market-rate student housing. We know from personal experience that creating more student housing is very much needed in Berkeley. We are heartened that our campus will be used to fill this vital community need.

Is this the end of the New Beginnings process?

Simply put: No. Our New Beginnings process is designed help Starr King to grow stronger and more sustainable as we continue to prepare our students for the work of 21st century religious leadership. Each decision is just one part of a larger process. There are many more decisions to be made and more steps to take to reach our goals.

But as this process continues, we are committed to being transparent and accountable to our Starr King community. We will continue keeping you informed as we continue our work. And we are deeply appreciative of all the support and ideas we have received thus far.

How has the school worked to ensure that its decisions align with the values of the school?

Starr King remains steadfast in its values and our commitment to educating to counter oppressions and create just and sustainable communities (ECO). One of our values is to teach by who we are and what we do. Throughout this process, we’ve aimed to model that value.

We are committed to keeping our ECO commitment at the heart of what we do, to retain our Unitarian Universalist identity while embracing our multi-religious character, and to keep the school going strong.

We will continue to be transparent about the decisions we make and what those decisions will mean for our community.

Is Starr King preparing to shut its doors?

Absolutely not! For well over 100 years, Starr King has been educating our students for the practical realities of progressive religious leadership. We have no intention of stopping now.

How can I stay informed about the New Beginnings process?

You can stay informed by checking our New Beginnings page for updates as news develops or follow us on social media @SKSMsocial.

You can also email us with your ideas and suggestions at . We read every email and have received many engaging ideas from our community.