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First-Generation Graduation Cords

First-Gen Graduate

Available for December
First-Gen Graduates!

December 4 - 15, 2023
^IMU Welcome Desk

Monday – *Friday
7:30 am to 9:00 pm

Saturday – Sunday
10:00 am to 5:00 pm

^If you stop by the Welcome Desk during normal business hours
(M-F, 8:00 am - 5:00 pm) and it's closed,
you may check with IMU Event Services,
Room 159; limited availability.

*IMU Welcome Desk closing at 6:00 pm on Friday, Dec. 15

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? Can I pick up a grad cord in December?
A: Due to limited availability, December cord pick up is reserved for December graduates. Cords for students graduating in May will be made available in the spring 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. 


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 to students is one of our final opportunities to communicate how proud we are of all they have accomplished as a Hawkeye and all they will accomplish as they begin their next chapter as a UI alum. 

Class of 2023

Class of 2022

Class of 2021

Class of 2020