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Exciting, terrifying, thrilling, overwhelming, life changing—attending a university or college can be all these and more. For those students who are the first of their families to seek higher education, stepping foot on a campus may feel more daunting.

In 1965, then-U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) on November 8. This act created federal financial aid programs to fund students’ education and made key investments in colleges and universities. The HEA saw the creation of many programs aimed to help students attend higher education institutions, most notably the Federal TRIO programs—federal outreach and student services programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds (learn more about USI’s TRIO and Student Services Programs online).

To celebrate this momentous act, each year on November 8, higher education institutions across the country honor the annual First-Generation College Celebration, highlighting students and graduates who are first-generation and showcase the importance of HEA after 58 years.

Here are the stories of five USI faculty and staff members who are first generation graduates! Stories from current USI first-generation students can be found on our USI Instagram and Facebook pages.

Click the boxes below to read the full stories!