“INSPIRE” collection features 217 tokens created by artist and Mills alumna Megan Pumpelly

Five alumnae of Mills College are raising funds for their alma mater the old-fashioned way – with a bake sale. But the fundraising campaign comes with a modern twist – the fortune cookies up for sale are actually non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, created by artist and Mills alumna Megan Pumpelly (’05) to honor beloved Mills College art professor Hung Liu, who passed away on August 7.

The campaign is designed to capitalize on the exploding market for NFTs, with Beeple setting a record at Christie’s with a $69.3 million sale in March (42,329 ETH, worth $138 million at today’s price). Mills College also recently set a record at Christies, selling a Shakespeare First Folio last October for just under $10 million. Only 217 of the fortune cookie tokens in the “INSPIRE” collection will be minted, in honor of Hung Liu’s Feb 17 birthday. The tokens are available in all colors of the rainbow, symbolizing the importance of Mills College to the LGBTQ community. There are also 7 ultra-rare “full rainbow” tokens.

“Mills College is an important pipeline of future leaders for traditionally under-served communities like Latinx, BIPOC and LGBTQ students. For 169 years Mills College has provided a safe haven for women’s education, and this collection is designed to honor the qualities that make the College a treasure worth saving and supporting,” said artist Pumpelly.

Among those leading the fundraising campaign is also Rob Pumpelly ’04, a graduate of the Center for Contemporary Music, who said: “Mills College is a cultural icon in Oakland and over its 169-year history has played an enormous part in the history and evolution of American music and dance. I am pleased to contribute original compositions to this project. NFTs offer the potential to unlock the value of Mills’ archives which include the SF Tape Music Center, and also more than 12,000 paintings, sculptures, rare books and manuscripts in the Mills College Art Museum.”

“When you support the Mills College NFT Bake Sale, you’re not just giving. You’re getting something too. In exchange for your contribution you receive a unique token that has value and can be traded in the future. We hope that many people want to support the education of women, minorities and LGBTQ+ students,” said Claudia Mercado, ’07. “At a time when the future of our College is shrouded in secrecy, Blockchain’s strengths of combating corruption and advancing transparency, trust, governance and liquidity are critically now more than ever. So are the skills of critical thinking we learn from a liberal arts education, which Steve Jobs identified as crucial to the success of Apple”

Janice Thomas ’05 said “Hung Liu painted many Buddhist images. Part of the Buddhist tradition of honoring the dead is remembering their good deeds and performing good deeds that bring them merit. Hung Liu used the fortune cookie, a California creation, so powerfully in her work. We hope this bake sale brings good fortune to all who participate. Buying a cookie is doing a good deed to support women’s education and preserve this university that so many of us treasure.”

Tara Singh ’07, a former alumna trustee, added “Mills College and its 169-year legacy of educating women faces a critical juncture. It needs the advocacy and support of those who understand that women deserve a place to learn and thrive that is designed especially for them. The attempted shuttering of Mills, a majority minority institution with one third of the student population representative of the Latinx community, should be sounding the alarm for our political representatives and community organizations who believe that diversity, inclusion and women leaders are valuable to our society.”

Hung Liu joined the Mills College faculty in 1990 and served as tenured professor of art until her recent passing. She was one of the first Chinese artists to find success in the United States and “valorized everyday immigrants in monumental portraits.” She passed right before her first major exhibition of her works (including 200,000 fortune cookies) at the De Young museum in San Francisco and another major exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

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Read zMint’s White Paper How NFTs Can Help Save Mills College (And Other Asset-Rich, Cash-Poor Institutions)

Buying these Fortune Cookies supports women’s education and the preservation of 169-year old Mills College, a crucial on-ramp to success on the world stage for students from all walks of life. Many pathways, one destination.

INSPIRE is the first batch of cookies in the Mills College bake sale. Created by Mills College alumnae: artist Megan Pumpelly ’05, Rob Pumpelly ’04, Janice Thomas ’05, Claudia Mercado ’07, and former Trustee Tara Singh ’07.

A tribute to Mills College beloved professor Hung Liu, who joined the faculty in 1990 and served as tenured professor of art until her recent passing. Hung Liu was one of the first Chinese artists to find success in the United States.

Only 217 of these tokens will ever be minted, in honor of Hung Liu’s birthday. The tokens are offered in all colors of the rainbow as well as 7 ultra-rare full rainbow tokens. The Fortune Cookies will be released in 6 batches, each batch has 5 of each color plus one rainbow token.

Hung Liu “valorized everyday immigrants in monumental portraits”. She recently passed the evening before her first major exhibition of her works (including 200,000 fortune cookies) at the De Young museum in San Francisco, and right before another major exhibition of her work is on display at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

We hope the beauty of Hung Liu’s work and the joy she generated in her students will flow as magical energy into this NFT bake sale to help Mills train many generations of artists and first generation college students for centuries to come. We make this cookie in love, respect and reverence, and we pray that our bold statement will help Mills College retain its independence.

Hung Liu Fortune Cookie debut at intersection in San Jose, 1995

Jiu Jin Shan (Old Gold Mountain) 1994. 225,000 fortune cookies with support structure and train tracks.

The Art World Remembers Hung Liu

Hung Liu bio

Mills College Embodies The Spirit Of Cultural Expression Through Art

When Fortune Cookies were first debuted to an American audience in 1894 at San Francisco’s Japanese Tea Garden, Mills College was already 42 years old.

San Jose Mercury News “In 1894 San Francisco’s Japanese Tea Garden introduced the fortune cookie to America”

This is a digital version of the Fortune Cookie updated for the 21st century. Buying this NFT will bring you good luck because you will be supporting 26,000 Alumnae save our beloved school! Help us use the power of NFTs and blockchain to preserve Mills College’s 169-year heritage as a women’s college with your interest in this world-first philanthropic token listing.


Mills was the first women’s college west of the Rockies and was founded at the same time as the city of Oakland and the State of California. It was the first women’s college to offer a computer science major (1974) and the first to accept trans students (2014). The Mills College music department played an historic role in the birth of the Sixties and San Francisco’s Summer of Love.

The student population of Mills is majority minority. Mills College’s magical campus and unique educational experience has produced many future world leaders. The school’s motto is Una Destinatio, Viae Diversae – many paths to a single destination.

Proceeds from the Mills College NFT Bake Sale will be donated to the Alumnae Association of Mills College to help Mills remain an independent women’s college.


White Paper

The Daily Beast “The Fight To Save Women’s Colleges From Extinction”

New York Times “Is The Music Over At Mills College?”

KQED Judge Puts Another Pause on Mills College Merger, Allows Financial Document Review

Bay Area Reporter “Mills College Alumnae Rally To Support Lawsuit”

East Bay Times “Alumnae Fighting To Save Oakland’s Mills College”

Tennessee Tribune “Top California Clergy Support Alumnae Association of Mills College In Calling For Truth & Transparency”

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