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Colorado Mesa University joins national organizations to celebrate first-generation students

Grand Junction—On November 8, 2018, Colorado Mesa University will join Council for Opportunity in Education, the Center for First-Generation Student Success and the Suder Foundation to celebrate the accomplishments of first-generation college students. University leaders believe first-generation students are an important part in preserving the national ideals of upward mobility and for achieving socio-economic equality — both of which are integral to the mission of higher education.

“Founders of the nation’s first institutions of higher education, including Benjamin Franklin, spoke about education being the key to closing inequities and creating upward mobility in a democratic society,” said CMU President Tim Foster. “Helping to create opportunities for first-generation students to gain an education post high school is deeply ingrained in the DNA of CMU. This celebration is really about who we are as a university and how our community is going to mature and succeed in the future.”

The university joins a national campaign bringing awareness to the academic potential and intellectual creativity within talented people whose background and family culture may not usually include college. Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs for Student and Faculty Success Dr. Aparna Palmer sees the value in the national celebration of first-generation students, and said CMU offers support for these students every day.

 “The TRiO Student Support Services program at CMU is an important resource for first-generation students that helps them complete their academic journeys,” said Palmer. “TRiO provides academic support, financial planning, and professional and personal development for first-generation students to help them achieve their goals in college and beyond.”

The United States Department of Education provides $1.1 million over five years to the CMU TRiO program. This program also supports students that meet low-income guidelines and students with documented disabilities. During the last decade, CMU retention and graduation rates among all students continue to increase including those who identify as first-generation.

The “Fearless First” barbecue will be held on November 8 at 12pm to celebrate the importance of first-generation students. The campus-wide celebration will be at The Plaza.

Alongside the CMU Fearless First barbecue, the national first-generation celebration on November 8, by the Council for Opportunity in Education, the Center for First-generation Student Success and the Suder Foundation, will mark the 53rd anniversary of the signing of the 1965 Higher Education Act. This act has helped millions of underrepresented students become the first members of their families to earn college degrees.