National First-Generation College Student Day

On November 8, colleges and universities across the country recognize first-generation students, as well as faculty and staff who were first-generation. This date also commemorates the day Congress approved the Higher Education Act (HEA) in 1965. The HEA was intended to ensure equal opportunities for underprivileged students to attend college by providing federal grants and loans to help finance the cost of a college education. This legislation made critical investments in institutions and funded programs to increase the access, retention, and graduation of first-generation, low-income students.

November 8, 2020 marks the 55th anniversary of the signing of the HEA. Since its passage, millions of first-generation, low-income/under-resources students have been helped along their path to completing college degrees by programs created by the act.

2020 Celebration

First-Gen students from across the nation will join DJ Faro and your first-generation peers and champions for this pre-celebration of National First-Generation College Celebration Day. Sponsored by the Council for Opportunity in Education and the NASPA Center for First-Generation Student Success, this will be a fun-filled hour of music, trivia, and prizes. Participants are encouraged to engage on social media using hashtags #CelebrateFirstGen and #UofMFirstGen to join forces with and show love to your first-gen community.


This joint celebration will kick-off with opening remarks from Sarah E. Whitley, Ph.D., assistant vice president, Center for First-generation Student Success and Maureen Hoyler, J.D., president, Council for Opportunity in Education, as well as feature a panel discussion about the history of the first-generation student definition, utilizing an asset-based lens. You do not want to miss this virtual celebration.

To sign up, CLICK HERE!

NOTE: To successfully register for this event, you must possess a NASPA profile. If you do not have one, simply select "Don't have an account" below the login credential fields and follow the steps to create one.

Join us on Instagram (@uofmfirstgen) as the OFGSS Peer Educators takeover the office's account to celebrate first-gen students at the UofM! Show First-gen Tigers some love by posting on your social media using hashtags #CelebrateFirstGen and #UofMFirstGen!

Join OFGSS for an Instagram Live (@uofmfirstgen) session with Summer Owens (BBA '01) who currently serves as president of the UofM Alumni Association's National Executive Board of Directors. Her book Life After Birth-A Memoir of Survival and Success as a Teenage Mother details her journey as an insecure young girl, a scared teen mother, and a successful young woman who surpassed everyone's expectations. At the UofM, she was an Emerging Leader and was highly engaged on campus. She graduated magna cum laude in four years and was named Miss University of Memphis. After a 15-year corporate career, Summer discovered her purpose and realized her power to inspire youth, young adults, and many others through the formation of S.O. What! LLC and the S.O. What! Foundation.

Join on Instagram Live (@uofmfirstgen) to hear Summer's amazing story of survival and success as a First-Gen Tiger!

The UofM First Scholars Program's Faces of First-Gen Photo Project is a series of First-Gen faces and student quotes used to reflect the stories and different backgrounds of First-Gen students at the university. Through the project, our First Scholars seek to reach out to other first-gen students and their families to empower them not see obstacles, but opportunities and to also recognize that at no time, no matter how hard it gets, they are never alone as they navigate college. #WeAreFirst-Gen #WeAreFirstScholars #WeAreMemphis #WeAreHereForYou

Check out the daily posts on First Scholars' Instagram (@umfirstscholars)!

The following options are available:

  • Proud to be a first generation tiger!
  • Proud to be a first generation college graduate!
  • I support our first generation tigers!

To request a First-Gen Face Covering be sent to you, complete this REQUEST FORM.

Note: There are a limited number of face coverings available. They will be disbursed on first-come, first-served basis until they have all been given away.