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#FirstGen Proud: Gannon Honors First-Generation College Students

Published: 11/08/2022

Graduates celebrate at Gannon University

Graduates celebrate at Gannon University

On Tuesday, November 8, and throughout the week, Gannon University is celebrating National First-Generation College Celebration Day, recognizing the students attending or planning to attend college who will be the first members of their families to earn college degrees. 

First-generation students have repeatedly demonstrated that supporting and encouraging promising students, often low-income, whose parents never went to college, is one of the great investments our country can make,” said COE President Maureen Hoyler

Your success stories are worth celebrating. 

Who is a First Generation College Student: student whose parents/guardians did not complete a four-year college or university degree. 

Look for signs around campus and on social media all week to learn more about what it means to be #FirstGen, and look for opportunities to share what it means to you. Sign the banner on the first floor of the Waldron Campus Center, and make plans to join the First-Generation Day Celebration on Friday, November 11 in Waldron 219 between 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. All first-generation college students and those wishing to celebrate are welcome. #IAmFirst 


The first national First-Generation College Celebration Day occurred in 2017 when the nonprofit Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) encouraged institutions nationwide on or around November 8 to celebrate first-generation college students or graduates. 

Learn more about National First-Generation Day: 

First-generation students who enroll in college do so against the odds and should be commended for their efforts. Research shows that students whose parents do not have a college degree are far less likely to enroll than those whose parents graduated from college, according to the Indicators of Higher Education Equity in the U.S.: 2022 Historical Trend Report

The report showed that 93 percent of the children of college graduates enroll in college within eight years of high school graduation, while just 72 percent of students from families in which neither parent holds a college degree enroll within eight years of high school graduation.

Many well-known and successful Americans across professions and industries were once first-generation students, among them Academy Award-winning actress Viola Davis, best-selling author Sarah Smarsh, journalist Wil Haygood, and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Many of them are alumni of the Federal TRIO programs

For more information about First-Generation College Celebration Day, click here.

All media inquiries can be made by contacting Haley Figurski, Media Relations and Marketing Manager, at 814-823-1886.