Topeka, Kan. – Washburn University is celebrating the continued success of our first-generation students and National First-Generation Day, nationally recognized as Nov. 8, with activities from Friday, Nov. 3 to Thursday, Nov. 9. These events are free and open to the Washburn community.

      The Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) and the Center for First-Generation Student Success launched the inaugural First-Generation College Celebration Nov. 8, 2017. Given the continued success of this event, COE and the Center for First-Generation Student Success now partner to make this celebration an annual event. Nov. 8 was selected as the date for the annual National First-Generation College Celebration to honor the anniversary of the signing of the Higher Education Act of 1965.

      “In a lot of ways, the first-generation college experience is the quintessential American experience,” said Jenny Lieurance, first-generation specialist and lecturer for Washburn University. “These students are paving a pathway to their dreams with a postsecondary education. I’m so proud to be part of the work Washburn University does to help support their efforts and to take time to help them celebrate all they achieve every day.” 

      Washburn considers a student first-generation if their parents nor their legal guardians completed a bachelor’s degree, regardless of whether siblings or other relatives have earned degrees. The university has multiple programs in place specifically to integrate first-generation students and their families into Washburn University and the college experience and has been recognized nationally for their work on behalf of first-generation students.

First-Generation Friday, Featuring Mayor Padilla 

When: 12 -1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3

Where: Mabee Library, Washburn University 

Details: Topeka Mayor Mike Padilla will share his first-generation college story.


First-Generation Coffee Chat

When: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday, Nov. 6

Where: Memorial Union Underground in the Memorial Union, Washburn University

Details: Free coffee, tea and cake will be provided to students, faculty and staff who gather to discuss their first-generation experiences.

We Are F1rst Generation Celebration Reception

When: 4-5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 8 

Where: Bradbury Thompson Alumni Center, Washburn University

Details: We Are F1rst, student organization, is having a social for students, faculty and staff to officially celebrate First-Generation Day. Free dessert bars will be provided.

Aim and Toss Tournament

When: 7 - 9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9

Where: Washburn Rooms A and B in the Memorial Union, Washburn University 

Details: Students can compete in teams of two in the cornhole or cup pong tournaments. There is free food for all participants and prizes for the winners.

      We Are F1rst, student organization, will be tabling all week in the Memorial Union. Students can enter for a chance to win a $1,500 scholarship by visiting any of the tabling events or participating in any of the events during the week. Two $1,500 scholarships for the fall 2024 semester will be given away.

      “An Art for Thought” display highlighting the first-generation experience and accomplishments will be on display in the Memorial Union throughout November.


For further information, contact:
Joy Bailes
Assistant Director of Public Relations
Telephone: (785) 670-2153
Cell: (785) 230-1648
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