Holy Cross Receives First-Gen Forward Designation

The national honor recognizes the College's commitment to first-generation student success

Holy Cross has been designated a First-gen Forward institution by the Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA–Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and The Suder Foundation. The First-gen Forward designation recognizes higher education institutions that demonstrate a commitment to improving experiences and advancing outcomes of first-generation college students.

"Joining First-gen Forward both honors the work we have been doing to support first-generation students at Holy Cross to achieve their greatest goals, and gives us access to additional tools and resources to improve our efforts. I am grateful to NASPA and The Suder Foundation for this opportunity to join this community of learners and serve our students better," said Michele Murray, vice president for student affairs and dean of students at Holy Cross.

The College of the Holy Cross has had a long-standing commitment to promoting success and retention of first-generation students. The recently launched data dashboard shows that first-generation college students are typically graduating at very high rates (over 90%). In-depth advising, faculty and staff support, peer mentor programs and a recently launched first-gen website have been essential for the success of first-generation students. The College also recently joined the American Talent Initiative to fortify its commitments and contributions to increasing the number of first-generation college students by 50,000 nationally.

"The Center is so pleased to welcome College of the Holy Cross into the 2021-22 First-gen Forward cohort. Through the application process, it was evident that Holy Cross is not only taking steps to serve first-generation students, but is prepared to make a long-term commitment and employ strategies that foster an environment of success for this important population," said Dr. Sarah E. Whitley, assistant vice president at the Center for First-generation Student Success.

As a First-gen Forward Institution, interested faculty and staff will have multiple opportunities to engage with peer institutions who are also creating environments that improve the experiences and outcomes of first-generation students. Selected institutions will send representatives to the First-gen Forward Workshop slated for early June and will participate in monthly phone calls, virtual professional development, goal setting, blog development, annual reporting and more. After two successful years in the program, institutions are eligible to apply for the Advisory leadership designation.

"I feel privileged to be a part of so many brilliant students' journeys here at Holy Cross and in particular those who are blazing a new trail for their families in being the first to attend college," said Amie Archambault, assistant director in the Office of Multicultural Education at Holy Cross and the lead for the FirstGen Forward cohort at the College.

To learn more about first-generation efforts at College of the Holy Cross, visit holycross.edu/first-generation-students. To learn more about the Center for First-generation Student Success, visit firstgen.naspa.org.

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