UC Santa Cruz recognizes first-generation students graduating in 2018

Wear your swag to recognize the first-gen students graduating in June.
Wear your swag to recognize the first-gen students graduating in June.
Friday, May 25, 2018


"Being first-generation and completing my BA means everything! It means we are paving the way for future generations to be able to see that we can and have been able to accomplish this, and that we do belong here..."   -- a 2018 graduating first-gen student

More than 1,400 UC Santa Cruz first-generation students will be graduating this June 2018. They are earning degrees  in the humanities, arts, social sciences, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), and come from different states, countries, and backgrounds. In fact, more than 40 percent UC Santa Cruz undergraduates are first-generation college students.

To recognize the significant accomplishment of these scholars, the UC Santa Cruz First Generation Initiative is distributing #FirstGen College Grad/UC Santa Cruz T-shirts to our soon-to-be first-generation college graduates. 

"This is a critical time of transition for our first-generation students and their families that warrants deep celebration," notes Rebecca Covarrubias, social psychologist and faculty lead for the First Generation Initiative. "Our first-gen students work hard to get into college and to navigate new cultural spaces in order to learn and grow as scholars.  It isn't always easy, but they are resilient, dedicated, and highly motivated. Our first-gen students are a force on this campus and they will go on to do amazing things in this world. I have no doubt."

The first-gen website hosts a number of compelling profiles of first-generation faculty, staff, undergraduate and graduate students who share their stories, suggestions, and tips for first-generation students. Alumni are also featured, including actress Adilah Barnes (Cowell '72, individual major in black theater, Theater Arts Department), and educator Adolfo Mercado (Kresge ’98, anthropology). Both Chancellor George Blumenthal and Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Marlene Tromp are the first in their family to complete a four-year college degree. Both talk about their journeys, what motivated them to go college, and how being a first-generation student has influenced their work.

“Finding my own path meant recognizing that the things that challenged me the most were the things that helped me grow,” notes CP/EVC Tromp. “Being first-gen, for me, meant navigating uncharted territory, finding my voice, building my network, doing my part so that I could give back and, in my way, help make a difference in the world."

During Student Achievement Week (June 4-8), the First Generation Initiative is inviting the UC Santa Cruz campus community to wear their first-gen college grad T-shirts or supporter buttons. Undergraduates can pick up first-gen college student stickers and buttons. If you haven’t signed up yet, please complete this form. For more information, contact firstgen@ucsc.edu.