University Celebrates First-Gen Students

    The University of Scranton joined the National First-Generation College Celebration with an event on campus Nov. 8.
    November 12, 2019

    The University of Scranton joined the National First-Generation College Celebration with an event on campus Nov. 8 to recognize the University’s first-generation students, faculty, staff and alumni. The celebration was organized by the University’s THR1VE Program, which launched in July 2019 to celebrate and support Scranton students whose parents have not completed a four-year college degree.

    The event included an ongoing networking opportunity for first-generation students to connect with first-generation alumni mentors in various professions. The celebration also included trivia about famous first-gen students and the THR1VE program, a photo booth and social media campaign, a hot chocolate bar and a selection of fall foods.

    “As the first member of the Pilarz family to graduate from college, I know firsthand the ways that graduation can be particularly life-changing for students, their families, and future generations,” said Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., president, in a letter to the University community about the celebration. “Since our founding as St. Thomas College, educating and forming those who are the first in their families to earn a college degree has been and will continue to be a special part of our mission.”

    The National First-Generation College Celebration was established in 2017 to honor the anniversary of the signing of the Higher Education Act of 1965, which helped students from minority and low-income backgrounds. For the last two years, institutions from across the nation have organized their own celebrations in support of their first-generation students.

    The THR1VE program was developed from a needs assessment survey and other input from first-generation students attending the University. Based on this information, the THR1VE program has focused on three primary areas of support: financial wellness, academic planning and career development. At the University, 23 percent of the undergraduate population identifies as first-generation.

    This marks the first year that the University has participated in the National First-Generation College Celebration.

    Helping to organize the National First-Generation College Celebration at Scranton are, from left: Jenny Kim ’20, Horsham; Robert McGowan, coordinator of the THR1VE program; Nathalie Cespedes ’21, New Hyde Park, New York; and Caitlin Gallagher ’21, Drums.

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