Loyola celebrates first-generation college students
| By Andrew Aldrich
Loyola University Maryland will recognize its first-generation students, whose parents did not graduate from college, as part of the national First-generation College Celebration on Nov. 8. The celebration is one of a series of initiatives, which also includes peer support, allyship and other special events, that Loyola offers to support first-generation students.
Loyola’s Class of 2026 has the highest number of first-generation students in University history with more than 20% identifying as the first in their families to attend college.
“Without the advantages of having family familiar with college, first-generation students can face a host of academic, financial, and social challenges when they start school,” said Mary Beth Mudric, Ph.D., assistant dean of undergraduate studies and chair of Loyola’s First-generation Student Success Committee. “That’s why we’re giving special attention to our first-generation students. They bring so much to Loyola — creativity, resiliency, differing perspectives — and we want to help them succeed.”
The First-generation Student Success Committee, convened by the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies, includes faculty and administrators, and coordinates Loyola’s initiatives supporting first-generation students:
- First-Gen Hounds is a student organization committed to enriching the first-generation student experience by welcoming students into the Loyola community and providing education about the resources Loyola offers for students and student development.
- First-Gen Allies connects allies with new first-generation students to offer them guidance and information about resources at Loyola. Allies may have been first-generation college students themselves and understand the unique challenges first-generation students often face.
- Educational and social events throughout the year give first-generation students at Loyola a chance to meet their peers and learn about the financial aid process, scholarships and fellowships, personal finance, budgeting, and career development, for example.
In recognition of the University’s efforts, the Center for First-generation Student Success named Loyola one of only 277 First-gen Forward institutions. First-gen Forward is the nation’s first recognition program acknowledging higher education institutions for their commitment to first-generation student success.
The national First-generation College Celebration Nov. 8, established by the Center for First-generation Student Success and Council for Opportunity in Education, honors the anniversary of the signing of the Higher Education Act of 1965. The act provided millions of low- and middle-income Americans the opportunity to secure need-based grants, federal loans, and work-study positions, opening the door to higher education for students across the country.
Last year, Loyola recognized the First-generation College Celebration on campus with T-shirts, bookmarks, stickers, and cupcakes followed by a candlelight celebration on the Quad. This year, Terrence M. Sawyer, J.D., president of Loyola, and his wife Courtney are inviting Loyola’s first-generation undergraduate students to a lawn party at their home Nov. 8 with pizza, s’mores, pumpkin pie, games, and music.