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Operation First Generation

First Generation Celebration 2021

First-Generation College Celebration

Message from President Kyle Marrero

First Generation T-shirt Sale

Wednesday, October 4 – Thursday, October 25

First-Gen Celebration Day Schedule of Events

Tuesday, November 2 – Monday, November 8

First Gen Faculty/Staff & Students wear first-gen buttons

First-Gen Achievers will be posted on the university’s social media pages

Monday, November 1

  • Kickoff
  • First-Gen Day banners, yard signs and flyers will be up all over campus
  • Social Media Takeover, start using #CelebrateFirstGen & #GSFirstGen this week whenever you post about being first-gen and tag our departments!

True Blue Table Talk

Thursday, November 4

Table talk with First-Gen Faculty, Staff, and Students

Issac Taylor
Janel Smith
Jazmine Roberts

Friday, November 5

  • Rep your alma mater!
  • Faculty and staff wear apparel from your undergrad institutions and
  • Post on social media using #CelebrateFirstGen & #GSFirstGen and tag our departments!


First Gen T-shirt pick up at your campus bookstore!

Monday, November 8 (National First-Gen Day)

  • First Gen Networking Reception / Resource, 11 a.m.
  • Armstrong – Student Union Lobby/Porch (FREE giveaways)
  • Statesboro – Russell Union Ballroom
  • Post on social media #CelebrateFirstGen & #GSFirstGen and tag our departments!

Hear our First-Generation Stories

Corine Ackerson-Jones made it through college with the support of her big sister.

Wanda Lyons, through determination and perseverance, received her bachelors degree at age 62.

Vivian Bynoe‘s family instilled the value of education in her from a young age.

Keri Man loved school ever since Kindergarten, she considers herself lucky to come to school every day.

Ms. Leslie Harris talks about how first generations students shouldn’t be too prideful to ask for help.

Dr. Nathan Palmer had a hard time navigating higher education but now works as an assistant professor of sociology.

First Generation Celebration History

The Higher Education Act of 1965 (“HEA”) emerged out of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty. Much like other hallmark legislation of that era, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, HEA was intended to help level a playing field that for too long had been weighed against Americans from minority and low-income backgrounds. In addition to creating federal grants and loan programs to help students finance their educations, the legislation made key investments in institutions of higher education. Additionally, HEA ushered in a set of programs designed to provide academic tutoring, personal counseling, mentoring, financial guidance and other supports necessary for postsecondary access, retention, and completion for low-income, potential first-generation college graduates.

The first such program in HEA – Talent Search – was united with another program – Upward Bound – that had been authorized as part of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. A few years later, a third such program, Special Services for Disadvantaged Students (later known as Student Support Services), was launched in 1968. Together, this “trio” of federally-funded programs encouraged access to higher education for low-income students.  In the subsequent decades, the “Federal TRIO Programs” emerged as a vital pipeline to opportunity, serving traditional-age students, displaced workers, students with disabilities, and military veterans. The original three programs eventually grew to include seven student programs, adding Educational Opportunity Centers and Veterans Upward Bound in 1972, the Ronald E. McNair Post baccalaureate Achievement Program in 1986, and Upward Bound Math-Science in 1990. Today, TRIO serves more than 800,000 students at more than 2,300 institutions of higher education and community-based agencies across the United States and in several U.S. territories. Through TRIO, more than 5 million Americans have become the first members of their families to earn baccalaureate degrees.

On November 8, in honor of the 55th anniversary of the signing of the 1965 Higher Education Act (HEA),  Georgia Southern University’s TRIO programs at the Armstrong/Liberty and Statesboro campuses will join institutions around the country to celebrate the presence and experiences of first-generation college students, faculty, and staff at our campus.

It’s been 54 years yet, even today, campuses and communities are too often blind to the academic capabilities and gifts that lie dormant within so many first-generation students. TRIO educators continue to be called upon to highlight the return on investment our country receives from providing first-generation students with an opportunity to reach their full potential through college. #CelebrateFirstGen

Last updated: 3/28/2022