On Friday, Jan. 13, the University’s first Renée Crown Professors in the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) were formally recognized. Heidi Hehnly, associate professor of biology, is the Renée Crown Honors Professor in the Sciences and Mathematics, and Karin…
University Celebrates First-Generation College Students on Nov. 8
The campus community is invited to participate in this year’s National First-Generation College Celebration on Nov. 8.
This event is celebrated annually on Nov. 8 to mark the anniversary of the signing of the Higher Education Act of 1965. The act provides equal opportunity for those from low-income and minority backgrounds. The legislation creates grants and loan programs, invests in higher education institutions and started the Federal TRIO Programs (TRIO) to facilitate the academic success of first-generation college students.
Giving a keynote speech and facilitating a fireside chat and Q&A is Evingerlean D.B. Hudson, known as “Dr. Eve,” who has dedicated her career to empowering first-generation students by paving the way for social mobility and fighting against generational poverty. The night will close with a reception and giveaway items.
“We are looking forward to hosting an engaging event with Dr. Eve for this year’s National First-Generation College Celebration,” says Huey Hsiao, associate director of Multicultural Affairs and the Kessler Scholars Program. “We know she will help amplify the work that we are doing on campus to support first-generation college students and truly uplift our students’ voices and experiences.”
To complement the celebration, the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) and Student Support Services (SSS) will be recording a podcast called “The First Gen Experience” with help from the Studying an Environment that Nurtures Self-Exploration in Students (SENSES) Project. First-generation graduate and undergraduate students from HEOP, SSS and the Kessler Program will be participating, with a possible appearance from Dr. Eve. The podcast was produced and edited by Amy Horan Messersmith, associate director of the Office of Supportive Services.
“We are hopeful that the conversation shared through this podcast and the Syracuse University participation in the National First-Generation Celebration Day will empower and elevate the voices of first-generation students, give students the opportunity to connect with each other and campus resources, and foster allyship within the campus community,” says Marieke Davis, associate director of HEOP.
Kessler Scholar Samantha Beltran ’25, a student in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and College of Arts and Sciences, is particularly looking forward to the connections and friendships the event will provide.
“Being a part of the National First-Gen Celebration gives me a great joy to be a part of a community because I know I am not alone,” Beltran says. “I will be able to experience this celebration with many other first-gen students and celebrate who we are and the many accomplishments we have done so far.”
In honor of the celebration, New Student and Family Programs has also launched the First-Generation Faculty and Staff List for staff and faculty who self-identified as first-generation college students. They are invited to add their name to the First-Generation Faculty and Staff List, which serves as a visual representation of their dedication to helping current first-generation college students build their personal success networks and their eagerness to help grow a campus of support. Students are encouraged to connect with faculty and staff members, who can then share their personal journeys, insight and support throughout this unique student experience.
The Kessler Program, HEOP, TRIO SSS, the Syracuse University Libraries, New Student and Family Programs and Intercultural Collective are working together to co-sponsor and host the celebration. Contact Hsiao at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or to request accommodations.
This story was written by Madison Manczko ’24, Student Experience communications intern