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National First-Generation College Celebration

image credit: UW Tacoma First Generation Initiatives

The University of Washington proudly supports the experiences of first-generation students. For the sixth-straight year, the UW Bothell, Seattle and Tacoma campuses are joining colleges and universities throughout the nation to participate in the National First-Generation College Celebration on November 8, 2023.

Led by the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) and the NASPA Center for First-Generation Student Success, the day is intended to celebrate the success and presence of first-generation college students, faculty and staff on campuses across the country.


Accessible Accordion

National first-generation day is a call to celebrate students, faculty and staff who are the first in their family to pursue a four-year undergraduate degree in the United States. November 8 was identified as the date for the annual National First-Generation College Celebration to honor the anniversary of the signing of the Higher Education Act of 1965.

  • An individual, neither of whose parents completed a baccalaureate degree.
  • An individual who, prior to the age of 18, regularly resided with and received support from only one parent and whose supporting parent did not complete a baccalaureate degree.
  • An individual who, prior to the age of 18, did not regularly reside with or receive support from a natural or adoptive parent.
  • If your parent(s) and/or guardian(s) attended college but do not have a bachelor’s degree (i.e., did not graduate), you are first-generation.

Events & Activities

Various activities and events will take place throughout the campuses for our first-gen communities.

Schedule & Info

2023 Leadership Message

University Diversity Officer Rickey Hall shared a message with our campus communities about the significance of the celebration.

Read Message

Featured Stories

The Raap Approach

Melissa Raap manages the University of Washington’s Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity Champions program. Learn how Melissa’s first-generation college student experience shapes her work today.

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Honoring the College of Arts & Sciences First Generation Community

Honoring first-generation students who are central to the life and richness of the College of Arts & Sciences community.

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We Are First Generation

UW Tacoma celebrates stories of first generation students, faculty, and staff, highlighting their diverse experiences and unique strengths they each bring to the community.

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Sharing my journey, from first-gen to provost

Provost Tricia Serio shares the inspiring story of how she found her passion for science as a first-gen student and how mentorship shaped her journey.

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Read More Stories

Read a collection of stories from across the UW community about what it means to be “the first.”

Read More

Social Media Toolkit and Virtual Backgrounds

Show your first-gen pride or share support for classmates and colleagues on social media. Download and display First-Gen Celebration digital backgrounds in virtual meetings and classes to show your pride.

View Toolkit & Backgrounds

Tri-Campus Resources

Many outstanding efforts are underway to support and elevate our first-generation undergraduate and graduate students on all three campuses.

Access Resources