Cal State San Bernardino recognized the successes of first-generation college students and graduates at its First-Generation College Celebration Nov. 9.

During the event, first-generation students, staff and faculty participated in a panel discussion, sharing their educational journey. Participants included Heather Carrasco ’18, CSUSB alumna; Sonia Perez Gamboa ’22, CSUSB alumna, lecturer in the School of Computer Science and Engineering, and information technology consultant in the nursing department; José Muñoz, CSUSB professor of sociology; Trinity Rangel, CSUSB freshman; and Tonya Michaels, CSUSB junior. Victoria Argot, counseling supervisor in the Student Assistance in Learning (SAIL) program, served as the moderator.

Each year, on Nov. 8, colleges, universities, corporations, nonprofits, government offices and K-12 schools partake in the National First-Generation College Celebration to recognize and honor the success of first-generation college students, faculty, staff and alumni in any and every way possible.

The date of Nov. 8 for the National First-Generation College Celebration was picked to honor the anniversary of the signing of the Higher Education Act of 1965. The Higher Education Act (“HEA”) emerged out of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty.

Much like other hallmark legislation of that era, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, HEA was intended to help level a playing field that for too long had been weighed against Americans from minority and low-income backgrounds. In addition to creating federal grants and loan programs to help students finance their educations, the legislation made key investments in institutions of higher education. Additionally, HEA ushered in programs, particularly the federal TRIO programs, necessary for postsecondary access, retention and completion for low-income, potential first-generation college graduates.

For more information on the National First-Generation College Celebration, visit the Center for First-Generation Student Success website.

The panel at the First Generation College CelebrationTwo attendees hold up first-generation T-shirtsA woman speaks at the First-Generation College Celebration Two attendees hold up first-generation T-shirts