Allegheny College Receives First-gen Forward Designation

National Honor for Commitment to First-generation Student Success

First-gen Forward logoThe Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and The Suder Foundation, recently announced their 2020-21 cohort of First-gen Forward Institutions, which include Allegheny College. The First-gen Forward designation recognizes institutions of higher education who have demonstrated a commitment to improving experiences and advancing outcomes of first-generation college students. Selected institutions receive professional development, community-building experiences, and a first look at the Center’s research and resources.

“The Center is so pleased to welcome Allegheny College into the 2020-21 cohort of First-gen Forward institutions. Through the application process, it was evident that Allegheny is not only taking steps to serve first-generation students but is prepared to make a long-term commitment and employ strategies for significant scaling and important advances in the future,” said Dr. Sarah E. Whitley, senior director of the Center for First-generation Student Success.

Allegheny College has implemented a wide range of initiatives to support the success of first-generation college students, including the Allegheny Bound new student orientation program held each summer. Among many other efforts, Allegheny offers a series of courses designed to help first-generation students share experiences and receive guidance in their first year. Throughout the academic year, first-generation faculty, staff and students also participate in panel discussions and social gatherings designed to create community and opportunities for mentoring.

In addition, Allegheny joins the annual National First-Generation College Celebration through on-campus and social media publicity, along with several events, including a first-generation student conference focused on the college experience, financial literacy and post-graduation planning. During Commencement weekend this May, the college will host its inaugural First-generation Pinning Ceremony to recognize graduating first-generation students.

“We are very honored to be recognized by the Center for First-generation Student Success for our commitment to supporting first-generation students,” said Dr. Kristin Dukes, Allegheny’s dean for institutional diversity. “The resources and experiences provided through the First-gen Forward Designation will be of tremendous benefit as we build on existing strengths and enhance the work we do across campus every day to empower not only our first-generation students, but all of our students.”

As a First-gen Forward Institution, select faculty and staff will be afforded multiple opportunities to engage with peer and aspirational 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 to be held in Baltimore in 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.

“First-gen Forward is an exciting opportunity for Allegheny College to join an elite community of professionals prepared to share evidence-based practices and resources, troubleshoot challenges, generate knowledge, and continue to advance the success of first-generation students across the country. We are excited to see a groundswell of activity from the First-gen Forward cohort and know Allegheny College will be a significant contributor,” offered Dr. Kevin Kruger, president and CEO of NASPA.


NASPA—Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education is the leading association for the advancement, health, and sustainability of the student affairs profession. Its work provides high-quality professional development, advocacy, and research for 15,000 members in all 50 states, 25 countries, and 8 U.S. territories. Visit naspa.org for more information.

 The Center for First-generation Student Success is the premier source of evidence-based practices, professional development, and knowledge creation for the higher education community to advance the success of first-generation students. Through four strategic priority areas, the Center drives higher education innovation and advocacy for first-generation student success.