​​ASU First-Generation Students Celebrated

News Date
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By Hazel Scott/ASU

Alabama State University joins other institutions of higher education from around the nation to celebrate the successes of First-Generation students and professionals on Sunday, Nov. 8.

This date marks the 55th anniversary of the signing of the 1965 Higher Education Act (HEA), which has helped millions of first-generation, low-income/under-resourced students persist to degree completion.

“Alabama State University has had a rich history in educating those students who are underserved over its 150 plus years. The University has produced first-generation students who are doing awesome things in their community, such as Actor Marcus Henderson, Dr. Gwen Boyd, and most recently two of our 50 under 50 candidates, Dr. Rolanda Horn and Monica Lee Ridgeway, to name a few,” said Dr. Acquanetta M. Pinkard, director of ASU’s TRIO Programs. 

Pinkard noted that a large portion of ASU’s current student body is considered first generation. 

“It’s befitting that O’ Mother Dear receives the designation as a First GEN institution through NASPA (National Association for Student Personnel Administrators), which was designated earlier this year, “ Pinkard said. 

Dr. Rolanda Horn, Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) Coordinator, remarked that the celebration is a way to recommit to supporting, nurturing and encouraging the outstanding potential that exists within so many first-generation students.

“We are excited to join NASPA…in celebrating this national event.  As it relates to the Quality Enhancement Plan, this gives us another opportunity to highlight and celebrate our first-time students, a high percentage of them who are first-generation students.  We want our students to develop a sense of belonging here at ASU so they can encourage the next generation not only to pursue higher education, but also to attend ASU,” Horn explained 


On Tuesday, Nov. 3, ASU’s QEP, TRIO, and First-Year Experience Programs hosted the First GEN Vote Campaign, where they used hashtags to encourage and highlight the first-generation’s vote. 

On Wednesday, Nov. 4, at 10 a.m. ET, there will be a virtual panel discussion on Facebook with faculty and staff who will share their experiences as first-generation students and as professionals. The discussion will be facilitated by WVAS news anchor Melanie Hogan. 

On Thursday, Nov. 5, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET., there will be a National First-Generation College STUDENT Celebration, sponsored by the Council on Education and the Center for First-Generation Student Success. This will be a fun-filled hour of music trivia, and prizes. Students may register here.  

The events will culminate with a Joint Virtual First-Generation College Celebration on Friday, Nov. 6, from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET.  This virtual event will feature opening remarks by Dr. Sarah E. Whitley, assistant vice president of the Center for First-generation Student Success, and Maureen Hoyler, J.D., president of the Council for Opportunity in Education. The event will feature a panel discussion about the history of the first-generation student definition, utilizing an asset-based lens. Individuals may register here.

​         To join all the events, go to Facebook/ASU.