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First-Generation Initiatives

At the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, we celebrate and support our first-generation students by recognizing their resilience, applauding their tenacity, and providing them with a nurturing environment to thrive.

Through mentorship programs, tailored resources, and a strong support network, we ensure that our first-generation scholars have the tools they need to succeed and embrace the vast opportunities that lie ahead.

UT’s academic-support initiatives champion the success of every scholar, including ones that—based on current data — substantially benefit from personal engagement and community building. While programs change with evolving data, participation is open to all scholars

What is the Purpose of the First-Generation Initiative?

  • To connect first-generation scholars to campus resources, organizations, departments, and professionals in order to foster both personal and professional connections.
  • To provide a sense of community, belonging, and support for first-generation students through intentional programming and collaborations.
  • To identify, acknowledge, and celebrate a shared identity and cultivate shared experiences among first-generation students.

First-generation students at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville bring with them a rich tapestry of socio-economic, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds, which adds to the vibrant diversity of our campus community. a legacy of possibility, empowering others to pursue their dreams and broaden their horizons.

In essence, our first-generation students embody the spirit of courage, determination, and aspiration. They illuminate the transformative power of education, serving as role models and catalysts for change. At UT Knoxville, we are privileged to be part of their journey and committed to fostering an inclusive and empowering environment where they can flourish and leave an indelible mark on the world.


Academic and Career Engagement

  • Provide scholars access to important information, student success resources, and professional development opportunities.
  • Support scholars in their academic success exploration, enhancement of strengths, and development of career readiness competencies.

Social and Cultural Engagement 

  • Provide scholars with opportunities to engage in community building, peer and professional networking, and cultural acknowledgements and celebrations.
  • Exposure to activities and events that increase social and cultural capital and sense of belonging.

Family Engagement

  • Provide families of first-generation students opportunities to learn about campus culture and the higher education experience.
  • Guide first-generation families in effectively supporting their student scholars during their matriculation at the institution.

Campus Advocacy and Engagement

  • Provide the campus community with resources, data, professional development, and best practices for engaging and supporting first-generation scholars.
  • Increase awareness, support, and advocacy for first-generation college students by faculty, staff, and administrators.