Today@Sam Article

Celebrating First-Gen Success

Oct. 31, 2022
SHSU Media Contact: Emily Binetti

we-are-first-gen-buttonsIn honor of the signing of the Higher Education Act of 1965 that expanded college opportunities for low-income and first-generation populations, Nov. 8 is observed as National First-Generation Day.

Sam Houston State University is proud to participate in this day of recognizing the success of first-generation students, faculty, staff and alumni. All eight of SHSU's colleges, along with the Graduate School, are celebrating its first-generation students by hosting events during the weeklong celebration.  

A student is considered first-generation if neither parent nor guardian earned a bachelor’s degree in the United States. At SHSU, approximately 50 percent of undergraduate students are first-generation.

Jaime F. Peña Jr. and Joe Contreras

The university recently debuted SHSU’s First-Generation Center, providing the space for all those around campus who are dedicated to first-gen student success to be at the table together to share ideas, achievements, research and best practices.

Jaime F. Peña Jr., assistant director of the First-Generation Center, believes celebrating this national day is important to help spread the positive image of being a first-generation student.  

“As a first-gen student myself, I understand how hard it is to go to college, but with the support of faculty, staff and mentors I was able to navigate the challenges along the way. We are a university that provides our students with a supportive college experience,” Peña said. “This weeklong celebration is possible thanks to partnerships with all the colleges and programs on campus. Let's build a positive community together, where we support one another and encourage a sense of belonging. I hope to see everyone there.”

The university’s First-Generation Center, along with the SHSU colleges, will participate in the national celebration with several special events.

Upcoming SHSU First-Gen Events:

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