The 2020 First Generation Celebration will be a campus-wide tribute to the often-unsung contributions and achievements of students, faculty, staff, and alumni who were the first in their families to enter higher education.

“As more and more First-generation students, faculty, and staff, continue to flood college campuses, we must celebrate our cultural and social capital,” said Dr. Shatoya Black, coordinator of the TRIO/Student Success program, which oversees the celebration. “Academic and student affairs professionals and faculty play a vital role in shaping and developing students and each other.”

Poster for the First Generation Celebration with the text: First Generation Celebration Virtual Experience, Hidden Figures. Day 1, Monday, 11/2, The Generation Kick off, Lunch with LEGACY, Wear Your ISU Gear. Day 2, Tuesday, 11/3, First generation Vote: Post a picture on social media with the hashtag #ISUFirstGenVote. Day 3, Wednesday, 11/4, Lead with LEGACY workshops, first generation and ISU professionals only. Day 4, Thursday, 11/5, Lead with LEGACY Mixer, first gen students only. Day 5, Friday, 11/3, First generation CommUNITY open forum. Register here (website). More details on Redbird Life.

Poster for First Generation Celebration 2020

Under the theme, Hidden Figures–Power of LEGACY (Leadership, Education, Growth, Advocacy, Community, Yielding), the virtual celebration will be from November 2-6. Hosted by the University College TRIO program, the event is sponsored by University College and Enrollment Management and Academic Services (EMAS).

“In many ways, first-generation students and professionals are hidden due to lack of access and inequalities, yet they bring so much social and cultural capital to campus,” said Black. “We want to find a way to create spaces for first-generation students and professionals to share resources, insights, strategies, and support in building commUNITY.”

Registration is open now. Those wishing to highlight a first-generation professional at Illinois State or in the community can fill out the nomination form.

More details regarding access to the First Generation Celebration events are available on Redbird Life.

Highlights include:

November 2: Hidden Figures
The celebration will kick off with a welcome from University College TRIO, followed by a presentation from Illinois TRIO President DeAndre Butler. Presenters will then highlight first-generation professionals around the Illinois State campus.

November 3: First Generation Vote
November 3 is a statewide holiday for the elections. All students are encouraged to take part in the democratic process. Information on voting, including early voting on campus (October 26-30), can be found on the Voter Guide.

First-generation students are encouraged to wear their Illinois State gear, and post pictures of themselves after voting with the hashtag #ISUFirstGenVote.

November 4: Lead with LEGACY–ISU Professionals
Workshops through the day will be hosted by first-generation campus professionals. A Legacy Lunch via zoom will celebrate Illinois State professionals who are first-generation in higher education.

November 5: Lead with LEGACY–ISU First Generation Students
A Lunch with Leadership will be from noon-1 p.m. via Zoom. Students will have the chance to connect with first-generation professionals in leadership and have conversations in different breakout rooms led by the leader.

The Dean of Students Office LEAD team will facilitate a mixer for ISU and TRIO first-generation students from 4-6 p.m. Breakout sessions will focus on “How your identity is an identity of leadership.”

November 6: LEGACY and Community
November 6 will mark the unveiling of the implementation of a new TRIO First-Gen Podcast and the launch of a new combined affinity group to connect first-generation professionals and alumni.

There will also be a workshop for first-generation students on “The Impact of Owning Your Narrative” facilitated by Phoebe McLean, an academic advisor for the TRIO program. Pre-college, college, professionals, and community members are welcome.

Registration for all activities is available on Redbird Life. Those with questions can contact Dr. Black, program coordinator of TRIO, at