LMU recognizes First-Generation College Celebration

Published 3:05 am Sunday, December 23, 2018

HARROGATE, Tenn. — Lincoln Memorial University’s (LMU) Student Support Services (SSS) office joined the nation in recognizing first-generation college students with a First-Generation College Celebrationin November. The date marked the 53rd anniversary of the signing of the 1965 Higher Education Act (HEA), which has helped millions of students become the first members of their families to earn college degrees.

SSS is a federally funded program that provides qualified students with advising, tutoring, career planning, freshman mentoring and cultural activities, such as trips to Biltmore House in Asheville, North Carolina, Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and Clarence Brown Theater in Knoxville, Tennessee. SSS peer mentors assist new students in acclimating to a college environment.

The Council for Opportunity for Education (COE), in partnership with the Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) and The Suder Foundation, created First-Generation College Celebration in 2017.

“Millions of students who have benefited from the programs created by the Higher Education Act have subsequently helped shape our country as astronauts, judges, scientists, politicians, scholars, writers, business leaders and more,” said Maureen Hoyler, COE President. “We saw great success with the 2017 celebration and it’s especially important to continue recognizing these accomplishments because, even in 2018, campuses and communities can overlook the academic capabilities that lie dormant within so many first-generation students.”

In addition to celebrating first-generation students, this event was intended to bring campus and community awareness to the prevalence of first-generation students currently enrolled in higher education and the outstanding contributions these students are making to society. Institutions are encouraged to recognize first-generation faculty and staff as well as those who serve as outstanding advocates for the first-generation community.

“Celebrating the accomplishments of our first-generation students across the country not only sheds light upon their vast abilities but fosters an environment of asset-based approaches to serving this student population,” said Sarah E. Whitley, Ph.D., senior director, Center for First-generation Student Success.

COE is a nonprofit organization, established in 1981, dedicated to furthering the expansion of college opportunities for low-income, first-generation students and students with disabilities. Through its numerous membership services, the Council works in conjunction with colleges, universities and agencies that host Federal TRIO Programs that help approximately 828,000 low-income students and students with disabilities each year receive college access and retention services. The Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA and The Suder Foundation, serves as the premier source of evidence-based practice, professional development and knowledge creation for the higher education community while advancing innovation and advocacy for the success of first-generation college students.