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First-Generation Graduation Cords

First-Gen Graduate

December 2024 First-Gen 
Graduation Cord Distribution

December 2024
First-Gen Graduates 

Dates TBA
(late November/early December)
IMU Welcome Desk
Monday - *Friday, 7:30am - 9:00pm
Saturday - Sunday, 10:00am - 5:00pm



First-Gen Graduate

Once a Hawkeye,
Always a Hawkeye

Graduation cords have long been worn by graduates during commencement ceremonies as a symbol of personal and academic achievement. At the University of Iowa, we are proud to provide graduation cords to first-generation undergraduate and grad/professional students, to help them mark the significant accomplishment of reaching graduation day. 

The colors, gold and teal or blue carry significance for graduates. Gold represents the University of Iowa, while blue is often associated with the field of education. This color combination reminds graduates of the significant academic achievements they accomplished as a Hawkeye. 

As graduates walk across the stage wearing their first-gen cords, we hope they feel the presence of the many faculty and staff, family members, friends, and teachers who have been supporting and cheering for them during their entire educational journey. 

First-Gen Grad Cords

You have questions? 
We have answers!

Q: What if I'm graduating in May 2025? Can I pick up a grad cord this December?
A: Due to limited availability, December graduation cord pick up is reserved for December graduates. Cords for students graduating in Spring/Summer 2025 will be made available in the Spring 2025 semester.

Q: What if I'm not walking in a ceremony? Can I still have a first-gen grad cord?
A: Yes! Participation in a ceremony is not required.

Q: Who qualifies as first-gen?
A: Undergrads, graduate, professional students... see our "About" page for a comprehensive definition of first-gen. You do NOT have to be registered as first-gen to qualify for a first-gen grad cord. 

Q: Can I pick one up for my friend?
A: Yes! If your first-gen grad friend is not available, you are welcome to grab a cord for them. 

Q: I'm also in TRIO SSS and they have grad cords too. Are these the same as first-gen grad cords?
A: No! If you're also in TRIO SSS, be sure to grab both first-gen and TRIO SSS grad cords!


Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Angie Lamb in advance at 319-335-2062.

Special Message to First-Gen Graduates

Since May 2020, we have honored first-gen graduates with a special congratulatory video. This gift is one of our final opportunities to communicate how proud we are of everything you have accomplished and wish you all the best as you begin a new chapter as a UI alum. 

Congratulations Class of 2024 Graduates!

Class of 2023

Class of 2022

Class of 2021

Class of 2020