New Initiative Connects First Generation Faculty, Alumni & Students

    Dyson College is launching a new initiative to help students who are first in their families to successfully graduate from college.

Navigating college life can be a daunting experience and even more so for students who are the first in their families to attend. Dyson College is connecting its first-generation students with first-generation faculty, staff and alumni/ae.

“We want to foster meaningful relationships for the students as well as the alumni/ae, staff, and faculty who can serve as role models and mentors since they have successfully bridged their academic and professional lives,” explained Nira Herrmann, PhD, Dean of Dyson College, who is spearheading the initiative.

Students whose parents did not attend college are more likely than their non first-generation peers to be less prepared for college, have less knowledge about applying to college and for financial assistance, and experience more difficulty becoming part of the social and intellectual college community, studies have shown. However, this research also indicates that targeted intervention beginning with enrollment and continuing throughout the undergraduate years can enhance the success of these students.

At least 30 percent of Pace University students will be the first in their families to attend college this year. This initiative will build upon Pace’s commitment to recruit first-generation students which can be seen in the success of its 14-year old and ongoing federal TRIO-Upward Bound Program and its 22-year old and ongoing New York State Liberty Partnerships Program. Each of these programs serves low-income, first-generation, “college-bound” high school students.

If you would like to get involved in the Dyson College First-Generation Initiative, please send an e-mail to