What is the National First-Generation College Celebration?

In November 2017, the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) partnered with the Center for First-Generation Student Success, which is an initiative of NASPA and the Suder Foundation, to launch the inaugural First-Generation College Celebration. The now annual event, which is held each year on November 8 to commemorate the anniversary of the Higher Education Act of 1965, encourages colleges and universities across the country to celebrate the successes of the institution's first-generation faculty, staff, and students.

2019 National First-Generation College Celebration
University of Iowa Plans for November 3 - 8, 2019

In 2018, the University of Iowa’s inaugural participation in the National First-Generation College Celebration was marked by an entire week of activities across campus. Examples of events included: two screenings of the First Generation film, departmental trainings and data-sharing sessions, FAFSA and financial literacy workshops, opportunities for students to share their experiences via wall postings, multiple coffee breaks or luncheons with college deans, graduate student socials, panel discussions, an open mic gathering, social media postings, university counseling discussions designed specifically for first-generation students, and TA trainings. In addition, the celebration was featured in University of Iowa media outlets and institutional leaders, including President Harreld, expressed enthusiastic support through campus-wide emails. In 2019, we hope to expand on the 2018 schedule and host even more events- again for students as well as faculty and staff.

While we plan to continue the tradition of a week-long celebration, in 2019 the University will host its first annual First-Generation Student Awards and Recognition Ceremony. Held on November 8, this event will recognize four University of Iowa individuals’ first-generation related accomplishments. The Award for Outstanding First-Generation Student Advocacy will honor one faculty member and one staff member who support first-generation students’ education and serve as an exemplary advocate for first-generation students at the University of Iowa. In addition, the First-Generation Student Achievement Award will honor one first-generation undergraduate student and one first-generation graduate or professional student who has pursued and met ambitious educational goals and demonstrated commitment to academic excellence. The ceremony will be hosted in the Stanley Café in Hancher Auditorium.

This year's celebration will open with the UI Student Government's annual "I'm the First" First-Generation Summit, scheduled for November 3rd and conclude with the 1stGen@Iowa Awards ceremony on November 8th.

2019 First-Generation College Celebration Information:

Events can be scheduled for faculty, staff, students...anyone!


2018 National First-Generation College Celebration at the University of Iowa

While the official celebration day is November 8th, the University of Iowa chose to participate in the 2018 First-Generation College Celebration during the entire week of November 5-9. 

See President Harreld’s invitation to participate in the National First-Generation College Celebration (Iowa Now)
Read more about UI Plans to Commemorate First-Generation Student Success (Daily Iowan)