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USD to Celebrate First-Generation Student Week Nov. 4-8

Drone photo of Old Main with a sunset in the background. The University of South Dakota will celebrate first-generation students with a week of events Nov. 4-8.

VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota will celebrate first-generation college students Nov. 4-8 with a variety of activities and events. The celebration is in conjunction with the anniversary of the signing of the Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965, the hallmark legislation that created federal grant and loan programs to increase access to higher education.

Events this week include:

Monday, Nov. 4, 11 a.m.

Motivation Monday in the MUC Pit celebrating first-gen students

Tuesday, Nov. 5, 3 p.m.

First-gen cookie decorating in the North Complex Commons 102 with TRIO Student Support Services

Wednesday, Nov. 6, 10 a.m.

Go Away Wednesday, with the Gallagher Center for Experiential Learning and Education Abroad, features study away opportunities and resources for first-gen students in the MUC Pit.

Thursday, Nov. 7, 5 p.m.

First-gen celebration pizza dinner, in the Center for Diversity & Community (MUC 219), provides first-gen students the opportunity to network with faculty and staff who support first-generation students. Featured speakers include Kim Grieve, Ph.D., vice president and dean of students, and Michael Kruger, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.

Friday, Nov. 8

On First-Gen Day, faculty and staff will participate in an interactive webinar with Amelia Gamel, the author of “Compassionate Teaching: Unlocking the Potential of First-Generation Marginalized Students” and a scholar in the area of first-generation college students. The workshop, sponsored by the Office for Diversity and division of Student Services, is from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the MUC Ballroom. This event is by RSVP only and those wishing to join the waitlist may email

The First-Generation Student Week at USD is a cross collaboration between TRIO Student Support Services, the Academic and Career Planning Center, the Gallagher Center for Experiential Learning and Education Abroad, the Honors Program, Center for Diversity and Community, Office for Diversity and the division of Student Services.

According to the Center for First-Generation Student Success, roughly 33% of college students are the first in their family to attend, and they bring with them experiences and ties to different regions, languages, religions, and community and household stores of knowledge. First-generation students benefit from support in navigating university processes, considering enriching experiences outside the classroom and obtaining financial aid for college. 


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News