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National First-Generation College Celebration

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.

How to Participate

Virtual backgrounds for Students, Faculty & Staff

UW students, faculty & staff on all three campuses who are the first in their families to attend college and supporters are invited to download & display First-Gen Celebration digital backgrounds in virtual meetings and classes to show their pride.

Virtual Backgrounds

Share on Social Media

Show your first-gen pride or share support for classmates and colleagues on social media using the hashtags #CelebrateFirstGen, #BeTheFirst, #UWFirstGenGrads or #UWFirstGen.

Social Media Toolkit

Events & Activities

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

Schedule & Info

More Highlights

First-Gen Stories

Read more about the experiences of first-generation students, faculty, staff and alumni.


Tri-Campus Resources

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

Tri-Campus Resources

2022 Leadership Message

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

UDO Hall