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CMU Fearless First-Generation Celebration 

CMU celebrates first-generation students with the Fearless First Film Festival   

CMU first-generation college students will host a film festival media conference to celebrate the important contributions of CMU students who are first in their family to attend college. The event will also mark the 55th anniversary of the signing of the Higher Education Act. The legislation was created decades ago and has helped millions of first-generation, low income and/or under-resourced students acquire a college degree.   

CMU President Tim Foster will join students who are first in their family to attend university on Thursday, November 5 at 3:30pm at The PointStudents will give short testimonials prior to the screening of their unique stories. These testimonials highlight their journey to higher education.   

“This annual celebration is important because serving first-generation students is central to our identity as a university,” said President Foster. “They are also central to our future and this day reinforces why we are so committed to serving these incredible young people.”  

While CMU students are hosting the media conference and film festival on Thursday, the nation will also be celebrating on November 8 with college campuses holding rallies, panel discussions, listening sessions and more in recognition of first-generation students. Across social platforms, institutions can use #CelebrateFirstGen to share their events and join in the conversation.  

Students will be showing three short films that tell the story of CMU first-generation students, one of which is Associated Student Government President Angel Bautista.   

“One of the reasons I ran for elected office is to use this platform to share with others what can happen when one person in a family makes the choice to attend college,” said Bautista. “My family immigrated following their agriculture heritage, and one generation later here I am, the student body president of a university. That upward mobility is the story of higher education.” 

Also featured in a short video is Carla Hernandez Chacon, who, like Bautista, is a student leader.  

“I wanted to be part of this project to share with others who might be considering making the leap to a truly transformative educational experience, which not only alters the course of one's family and life but enriches both country and culture," said Chacon. "Students need to know that no matter their background or personal story they can always achieve their goals.  

After short remarks and interviews, the students will show the Academy Aware-winning film Goodwill Hunting starring Robin Williams and Matt Damon. The film showcases the struggle of a young person with unfulfilled potential that is recognized by a professor who believes in the student and helps him manifest his educational destiny.

The professor to student ratio at CMU results in a campus culture where first-generation and low-income students have direct access to their instructors in a way that isn’t possible at many universities.   

CMU’s efforts to support first-generation students is being noticed beyond campus and throughout Colorado. In 2020, CMU Trustee Ron Davis donated one million dollars, in large part because of the university’s long-time support of low income, minority and underserved students. Also, in 2020, CMU and Metro State University of Denver teamed up to host a first-gen day at the Colorado state capitol where dozens of first-generation Mavericks traveled to advocate for a more equitable state funding mechanism. Both Mavericks and Metro Roadrunners asked policy makers to take into consideration the extra support required by universities who specialize in educating first-generation students.  

Members of the media are encouraged to attend the event and hear firsthand about the lives, stories and potential of CMU’s Fearless First Mavericks. 


Written by David Ludlam