Welcome back to the start of a new academic year. The campus seems vibrant and filled with exciting expectations of students, faculty, and staff. The beginning of an academic year is an exciting time for all of our students. For some, they come to CSU continuing a long tradition within their family. For others, they are the first generation of their family to pursue a college degree.
This latter group is of special interest to our university as it represents an important aspect of our access mission, a historical area of emphasis and pride, and a growing demographic group which we must serve more effectively if we are to fulfill our mission as a land grant university. You may know that Colorado State University is one of the first major universities in the country to recognize the needs of first generation students. In 1984, CSU created the First Generation Award that has, through a competitive process, been awarded to hundreds of students who have successfully completed their education and have moved on to become leaders in every aspect of society. CSU’s commitment continues as we work with schools across the state that educate large numbers of first generation students.
One of the challenges faced by first generation students is the lack of role models who can help provide both inspiration and confidence that success is possible, despite a sometimes new and daunting environment. For these students, the role models will, by definition, need to come from outside the family. Among our faculty are many who were the first in their family to receive a college education. As first generation graduates, these individuals can be role models for our first generation students. Yet, I am sorry to say, we have no record of who you are. We are asking those of you who are first generation college graduates to consider identifying yourselves and sharing your story of success with our first generation students. Your story may also serve as inspiration to students who have yet to consider the pursuit of education beyond high school.
If you are a first generation college graduate and you’re willing to share your story, simply contact Mary Ontiveros and she’ll make arrangements for you to tell your story. It is our hope that your accomplishments can serve as a springboard to many others and I thank you in advance for your help on this important project.