President's Message: Celebrating First-Generation Gators
Today, I’d like to recognize the achievements of an important segment of our University of Houston-Downtown population: First-Generation Students. These valued members of our campus community are defined by being among the first in their immediate families to attend college.
The Center for First-Generation Success honors these students nationwide during the national First-Generation College Celebration. Here on campus, you can recognize First-Generation Gators with a social media acknowledgment using the hashtag #UHDFirstGen. If you are (or were) a First-Generation Student, let people know using the same hashtag. Likewise, view a selection of our outstanding First-Generation Students all week on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
For some, the uncertainty and pressure of being the first in one's family to attend college can be overwhelming, but UHD takes extra measures to offer support. The Center for Diversity and Inclusion hosted an event earlier today to engage with students interested in a First-Generation Student Support Organization. Through this group, students can develop peer-to-peer relationships that support overall success.
Another initiative, based within University College but available to all Gators, is UHD First-Gen. The UHD First-Gen program offers resources including academic support, social opportunities, campus involvement and career readiness – all in an effort to help First-Generation Students reach the goal of graduating.
I understand the importance of this type of support because I, too, was a First-Generation Student and realize the struggles and opportunities of being among the “First.” I know some of the finest First-Generation Students can be found here at UHD. Your accomplishments make your families and all of us at UHD proud, and it is an honor to salute your efforts during the national First-Generation College Celebration.
Loren J. Blanchard, Ph.D.
President, University of Houston-Downtown