There’s something special about being first. You belong here!

What does being first-generation mean?

A definition of being a first-generation college student is being the first person in your family to attend a four-year college/university to attain a bachelor’s degree. More formally, this means you are a student whose parent(s)/legal guardian(s) have not completed a four-year degree. But we understand these definitions may not fully account for the rich diversity of first-generation college students. Therefore, we at Susquehanna welcome students who self-identify as first-generation as it pertains to their own experience.

First-generation students are a vital part of the Susquehanna community, and reflect the university’s commitment of seeking a community that reflects the rich diversity of humanity with the full participation of people who represent the breadth of human differences.

The first-generation identity is one to be proud of – you are part of a group of trailblazers at Susquehanna including faculty, staff, students, and alumni who were also the first in their family to go to college. We are excited to celebrate the different ways that first-generation students trailblaze at Susquehanna!

Important Dates

November 8:
National First-Generation College Celebration Day 

In 2017, the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) and the Center for First-Generation Student Success launched the inaugural First-Generation College Celebration! On November 8 th, college and universities celebrate the success of first-generation college students, faculty and staff.

November 9-13:
Virtual First-Generation College Celebration Week

Susquehanna University will celebrate our first-generation students virtually through social media posts and challenges. Follow @susqufye on Instagram and Facebook to participate in celebrations and challenges throughout the week!

Susquehanna Mentor Collective

An online mentoring community exclusively for first-year/new students that links you and other new students with a personal mentor based on your common interests and experiences. Data has proven that mentoring has strong and lasting positive effects on first-generation students.

Tri-Alpha National Honor Society

Alpha Alpha Alpha Honor Society
Alpha Lambda Chapter

Promoting and celebrating the academic success of first-generation college students.

Tri-Alpha encourages and rewards academic excellence among first-generation college students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in accredited institutions of higher learning.

Students qualify for induction into Tri-Alpha if they meet the following Criteria:

  • The student has earned at least 36 credit/semester hours towards a baccalaureate degree.
  • The student has achieved an overall undergraduate GPA of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Neither of the student’s parents, nor step-parents, nor legal guardians completed a bachelor’s degree.
  • Full-time graduate students who are first-generation students can be admitted if they have completed at least one term of study and have a GPA in their graduate program of at least 3.0.

Faculty and staff may be inducted as well. To qualify, they must have met the definition of a first-generation student listed above at the time they completed their bachelor’s degree. Faculty and staff must be willing to serve as mentors for first-generation students.

A small number of alumni and honorary inductees may be initiated each year. To qualify, these inductees must have been first-generation students (using the definition above) when they completed their bachelor’s degree. They must remain connected in some way to the institution inducting them (i.e. member of the board or alumni association, sibling of current student, volunteer, donor, etc.). Alumni and honorary inductees must be willing to mentor first-generation students if asked.

Questions about Tri-Alpha Honor Society may be directed to Samantha Proffitt, staff advisor or to Dr. James Pomykalski, faculty advisor.


Represent your first-gen pride with social media stickers, a LinkedIn badge, Zoom meeting backgrounds and door posters!

Contact Us

Samantha Proffitt 

Director of First-Year Experience
Degenstein Campus Center, Lower Level | 570-372-4753

Dr. James Pomykalski

Associate Professor of Finance & Analytics
Apfelbaum Hall, Room 211 | 570-372-4529