Williams Firsts Celebration Week 2023

Dear Williams Community,

This year marks the 58th anniversary of the signing of the Higher Education Opportunity Act which expanded college opportunities for low-income and first generation populations. To commemorate this moment, National First-Generation Celebration Day is held each Nov 8th and celebrated by colleges and universities across the country. It was created in 2017 to recognize the achievements of first-gen communities.

Today, Nov 6th, 2023, Williams begins its third annual campus-wide celebration recognizing and celebrating our many students, alumni, faculty and staff who are the first in their families to attend college. Pursuing a college degree is challenging in itself and for a Williams Firsts student an exceptional feat as they learn to navigate the hidden curriculum. We honor Firsts for their courage, resilience and the immense knowledge they bring to this campus.  For more information about the Williams Firsts community, please visit the Williams Firsts website.

This year’s festivities include the annual kickoff with Maud at the Williams Inn, Firsts Career Conversation SeriesFirsts in the Humanities with Williams Firsts Alumni Network, FLI at Williams with Firsts Student Union,Questbridge and IWS, Stories from Study Away, and other purposeful programming to ensure these trailblazers recognize they are supported in their journey. You will also see a number of faculty and staff proudly wearing their Williams Firsts shirt throughout the week!

Williams Firsts students, please view this calendar of events and enjoy the special week of activities and conversations.

As part of the celebration, The Rice Center for Teaching has created a special session for faculty and staff entitled “Uncovering the Hidden Curriculum: Strategies for including, supporting, and mentoring first-generation college students” and I invite faculty and staff to learn more about this first-generation student experience on Nov 29th, 2023 from 12:30-2pm. In this interactive session, participants will explore common first-generation student experiences, and how to design courses and class sessions in ways that are supportive and inclusive. The session will be held in Sawyer Library Instruction Room 328. Lunch will be provided, please RSVP here.

A special thank you to all campus partners and RSOs for their contributions to this year’s celebration. If you have any questions about the week, please contact Dean Garcia at rag4.

Williams Firsts, we salute you and are cheering you on!

All Best,

Dean Long

Dean of the College and Federick Rudolph ‘42-Class of 1965 Professor of American Culture