St. Mary’s College of Maryland is committed to providing an opportunity for all students who have the potential to thrive in a rigorous yet supportive academic environment.
The world is changing – increasingly diverse and interconnected. Creating an inclusive environment is not only the right thing to do, it is necessary to ensure the institution continues to fulfill its vision as the college of choice. Its mission as Maryland’s public honors college. Its core values of access and respect for self and others. First-generation students are an important part of the vibrancy that, as a whole, constitutes the best of St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
Sum Primus: “I am first.”
Established in 2017 by President Tuajuanda Jordan, the first-generation student initiative enables students who are the first in their families to attend college to be part of a network of support from their parents and other first-generation students and faculty. This cohort holds a special place in President Jordan’s heart since she was the first in her family to attend college and, therefore, understands the challenges and opportunities associated with such a status.
Sum Exemplar: “I am an exemplar.”
As part of the initiative, students are introduced to first-generation faculty who serve as advisors and mentors. During orientation, students and parents meet with first-generation faculty to discuss various topics, including the importance of out-of-class experiences, how to identify/apply/afford college, work-life balance, and career paths.
Tuajuanda C. Jordan
President of St. Mary’s College of Maryland
Perhaps what I’ve realized most throughout my journey as a first-generation college student is the importance of mentors and role models. The purpose of my new initiative “I am first. I am an exemplar.” is to do just that. To serve as a model, a guiding light for first-generation families to navigate through the excitement and challenges of the college experience.
Professor of Biochemistry
I am excited about the opportunities provided to students through the first-generation student initiative. I wish a program like this had existed when I was a college student to provide support and role models.
Visiting Assistant Professor of English
I make a point of doing what I can to help demystify the college experience for students who are first-generation. I think it would’ve made an enormous difference for me to have had such a network to go to during my own time in college.
First-Generation Initiative Programming
New Parent Orientation
Acclimating to college life is just as important for parents as it is for students. As part of new student orientation, President Jordan hosts a special orientation event exclusively for first-generation parents.
- Have specific questions about your student’s experience?
- Want to be part of a community of first-generation parents, faculty, and staff?
- Want to seek insider tips on how to navigate the ins and outs of supporting your student’s journey into adulthood?
Second Semester Meet-Up
You had a successful first semester, and you can see a change in how you view the world and each individual’s role in it. This event provides an opportunity for first-generation students and parents to reconnect with President Jordan and first-generation faculty and staff.
- Learn the steps you need to position yourself for success.
- Plan for engagement in activities over the summer and during breaks.
- Ensure you are prepared for life after college.