First-Generation College Celebration Day

Join us in advancing an asset-based national narrative on first-generation student experiences and outcomes. Use November 8 to encourage your communities to understand better the systemic barriers plaguing higher education and the support necessary for this critical and resilient population to continue thriving.

Join us in advancing an asset-based national narrative on first-generation student experiences and outcomes

In 2017, COE and the Center for First-generation Student Success launched the inaugural First-Generation College Celebration! Given the continued success of this event, COE and the Center now partner to make this celebration an annual event.

On November 8, we encourage colleges, universities, corporations, non-profits, and K-12 schools to celebrate the success of first-generation college students, faculty, staff, and alumni in every possible way. Get creative! In previous years, institutions and organizations have invited speakers and offered programming on first-generation student success, hosted lunch and learn events, kicked off mentoring programs, distributed first-gen swag, featured first-generation students on websites, and more! Consider building relationships with colleagues, involving leadership, and using Celebration Day as a galvanizing force across your institution or organization. If sharing information about your event on social platforms, tag @COEtalk, and @FirstgenCenter and use the #CelebrateFirstGen!

Access Media Kit Here

National Event

Add this virtual panel discussion to your First-Generation College Celebration plans

To complement your First-Generation College Celebration Day plans tune into this panel discussion on how to create an environment conducive to first-generation adult learners. Brenda Dann-Messier moderates. Dann-Messier is a senior advisor with the Education Strategy Group; former Post-Secondary Commissioner of Higher Education in Rhode Island; and past assistant secretary for Career, Technology, & Adult Education with the Obama Administration. Joining Dann-Messier is:

  • Kelly Brochu, assistant to the president for special projects at Regis College.
  • Matt Donovan, director of educational access programs at Morehead State University, and
  • Vanessa Sheared, president, board of directors at the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education


We hope you are planning a celebration for 2022!

COE and the NASPA Center for First-generation Student Success would love for you to share the activities you have planned for National First-Generation College Celebration Day. This national celebration occurs every year on or around November 8 to acknowledge and elevate first-generation college student and alumni identities and contributions. As we continue to establish a national narrative on first-generation student experiences and outcomes, we request your help gathering information by sharing your efforts to engage your campus or local community. Your assistance is greatly appreciated.

Please do not forget to share your celebrations on social media platforms at @COEtalk and @FirstgenCenter and use #CelebrateFirstGen!

Share your plans

Ways to Participate

There are myriad ways to participate in the celebration — even virtually.

At many institutions, November 8 events have grown to week-long, or even month-long celebrations. For the past four years institutions across the nation celebrated first-generation students, faculty, and staff on November 8 and highlighted the important contributions made within those communities. From keynote speakers and brown bag lunches to launching awareness campaigns and new strategic plans, the opportunities for celebrations are endless.

  • Webinars featuring notable first-generation alumni and other speakers,
  •  Virtual panel discussions and forums featuring remarks by first-generation college students and faculty who were first-generation about their college experiences,
  •  Inclusion of first-generation faculty experiences into classroom discussions,
  •  Virtual listening sessions by administration and faculty about first-generation students’ experiences and needs on campus,
  •  Creation of multimedia materials (including video messages) of first-generation students for use in admissions and faculty development sessions,
  • Interviews with trustees, administrators, and faculty who are first-generation.
Resources for TRIO

Media Toolkit

Publicize your #CelebrateFirstGen plans using digital media

To support your institution’s #CelebrateFirstGen social promotion, we created this digital media toolkit. What is included?

  • The revamped First-Generation College Celebration logo: We welcome you to download and apply the logo to your shareable.
  • Social Shareable templates to use across social media: We included three different sizes and welcome you to update them with your school colors, logo, photo, and specific text.

When posting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn, be sure to include #CelebrateFirstGen and tag @FirstgenCenter and @COETalk.



Congratulations to the 2022 Grant Opportunity Recipients

In support of the 2022 First-Generation College Celebration, the Council and the Center for First-Generation Student Success are pleased to award Grant Opportunity funds to 50 institutions and organizations! These funds extend an institution’s or an organization’s ability to reach more first-generation students, engage more members of their community, launch new programs or events, or provide additional services surrounding the First-Generation College Celebration. Eligible institutions and organizations received up to $500.00 in unrestricted funds. Please join us in congratulating these outstanding recipients!

view the 2022 Grant Recipients Here

Upcoming Events

Enhance the services you provide low-income, first-generation students and students with disabilities to increase their changes of success.