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First-Generation College Students at Gannon Gather in Honor and Support

Published: 11/11/2022

First-Gen students were welcomed throughout the week to sign the #ImFirst banner that will be proudly displayed each year during this celebration.

First-Gen students were welcomed throughout the week to sign the #ImFirst banner that will be proudly displayed each year during this celebration.

Did you know more than 61% of first-generation students choose careers that give back to their community? Or that nearly one-third of U.S. graduates are first-generation? 

More than 100 students, faculty and staff from across the Gannon community gathered today to honor #FirstGenDay, the recognition of students who are the first in their families to pursue or obtain a degree in higher education. 

Watch a video and see more from this week's celebration here.

Beginning with event chair and director of Gannon’s McNair Scholars Program Charmaine Wilson, attendees found support in one another while speaking to their journeys and experiences in discovering mentors and resources, the differences between finding those who are accountable versus those who are high performing, goal-setting, “reading and dreaming,” finding support for what comes after college, overcoming negativity, and not being so hard on yourself. 

“Whatever your timeline - I’m really proud of where I am right now,” shared Lily Zheng ’22, who earned her undergraduate degree from Gannon and is pursuing a career in optometry. “And I want you all to be proud of yourselves for where you are too.” 

Volunteers helping to make this event possible include Sreelakshmi Pillai, Adian Al-Bayati, Mary Parker, Josna Susan and Jenna Sins, with contributions from the McNair Scholars Program, Student Success Center, and Student Government Association. 

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