Lee Hosts Inaugural First-Generation Celebration Day

Monday, November 18, 2019 - by Merritt Jenkins, Lee University
Students enjoy First-Generation Day activities on Lee’s campus
Students enjoy First-Generation Day activities on Lee’s campus

The Lee University TRIO Student Support Services and Lee University TRIO McNair Scholars Program recently co-hosted the inaugural “First-Generation College Celebration Day” on Lee University’s campus.

The event was co-organized by Dr. Roy Y. Chan, director of the TRIO SSS (LEAP), and Dr. Kevin Ung, director of the TRIO McNair Scholars Program.

“First-generation college students have shared beginnings but divergent paths on their route to Lee University,” said Dr. Chan. “The goal of our event is to not only build awareness of these growing populations but to also help the Lee community define, decipher, and discuss the experiences, issues, and successes of first-generation college graduates in the landscape of Christian education.”

The day consisted of several activities for first-generation and continuing-generation students, including a mural for students to write and reflect upon the meaning of identifying as first-gen, a cash cab for students to receive candies and fun facts about first-gen students, first-gen trivia game, a photo booth with the TRIO logo backdrop, as well as free food and snacks.

Presently, more than one-fourth (1,500) of the Lee’s undergraduate body are first-generation college students. The primary objective of this event is to raise awareness of the barriers and challenges first-generation students face, while celebrating the diversity of the students’ experiences. Lee faculty and staff members received a special ribbon to recognize Lee’s first-gen faculty and staff members.

“It was a privilege to work alongside outstanding students, faculty, and administrators to set a day aside to not only recognize the invisible barriers and challenges that our first-generation college students face, but also to celebrate the diversity of Lee’s student body,” said Dr. Ung. “This collaborative effort shines a light on the beauty and complexities of the student experience in solidarity with our university leaders who traversed the same journey in years past.”

Lee University is the only institution in the entire southeastern region and the state of Tennessee with a TRIO SSS and McNair Scholars program that is part of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. Lee University is the first CCCU member institution in the United States to host a first-generation college celebration day for students on campus.

This campus event took place in conjunction with several national organizations including the Council for Opportunity in Education and National Association of Student Personnel Administrators. Hundreds of colleges around the country participated in this national event, with some dedicating the entire week.

For more information about First-Generation College Celebration Day, visit https://firstgen.naspa.org.

The Federal TRIO Programs include eight federal outreach and student services programs designed to identify and provide services for students who face an array of particular challenges to their university success. https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/trio/ 

LEAP (Learn, Engage, and Achieve Program) began at Lee in 2015 to provide individual success coaching, peer mentors, direct student aid, financial aid counseling, financial literacy education, cultural and academic enrichment opportunities, and other personalized services according to individual students’ needs. http://www.leeuniversity.edu/leap/

The Lee University McNair Scholars Program is designed to support highly motivated scholars as they strive to achieve their educational goals by providing them with academic, financial, cultural, and social support and cultivates an interdisciplinary community of scholars who prepare for graduate school through seminars, workshops, campus visits, research experience, and academic conferences.  http://www.leeuniversity.edu/mcnair/

Organizers of the Lee University First-Generation Celebration Day, from left, Dr. Roy Y. Chan; Angela Waltrip, community coordinator of LEAP TRIO grant; Rachel Collins, graduate assistant for McNair; Dr. Michaelia Black, coordinator of McNair Scholars program; and Dr. Kevin Ung
Organizers of the Lee University First-Generation Celebration Day, from left, Dr. Roy Y. Chan; Angela Waltrip, community coordinator of LEAP TRIO grant; Rachel Collins, graduate assistant for McNair; Dr. Michaelia Black, coordinator of McNair Scholars program; and Dr. Kevin Ung

Arnold Elementary Sings On Lee’s Campus

Lee University’s Cross Releases New Book

Despite Disappointment And Disillusionment, UTC's Marshall Cooper Powers His Way To Graduation


Lee University welcomed carolers from Arnold Elementary School choir as part of the B.E.S.T. Partners program on Friday. The elementary students, led by Lee alumna Siema Bailey Swartzel, are ... (click for more)

Dr. Terry Cross, dean of the School of Religion and distinguished professor of systematic theology at Lee University, recently completed his book “The People of God’s Presence: An Introduction ... (click for more)

If you had to pick just one word to describe the way Marshall Cooper might be feeling on commencement day, that word could be “vindicated.” Or maybe “validated.” As someone figuratively ... (click for more)


Student Scene

Arnold Elementary Sings On Lee’s Campus

Lee University welcomed carolers from Arnold Elementary School choir as part of the B.E.S.T. Partners program on Friday. The elementary students, led by Lee alumna Siema Bailey Swartzel, are shown here performing Christmas carols in the Deacon Jones Dining Hall during the Lee student, staff, and faculty lunch break. Lunch was provided for the elementary students, courtesy ... (click for more)

Lee University’s Cross Releases New Book

Dr. Terry Cross, dean of the School of Religion and distinguished professor of systematic theology at Lee University, recently completed his book “The People of God’s Presence: An Introduction to Ecclesiology,” which was published by Baker Academic Press. “‘The People of God's Presence’ is a fresh and exciting proposal of a rigorous theology of the church that seeks to witness ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Suspect In Bayberry Apartments Murder Taken Into Custody In Dramatic Fashion In Courtroom; Police Give Details Of Shooting

A man who was called a suspect in murders on Sunday night at the Bayberry Apartments was taken into custody in dramatic fashion in a courtroom at the Courts Building on Thursday morning. Later in the morning, Chattanooga Police said Mark Caslin, 26, has been charged in the slayings. Police said, "During the preliminary investigation, Chattanooga Police Department officers ... (click for more)

Attorney For Janet Hinds To Seek Change Of Venue; Trial May Be In Late Summer

An attorney for the Chattanooga woman who allegedly ran over and killed law enforcement officer Nicholas Galinger said he will ask a change of venue for her. Janet Hinds, 55, will be back in court in a couple of months. She is to have her trial date decided on Feb. 3. A trial date sometime in late summer was hinted at by defense attorney Ben McGowan. Other pre-trial hearings ... (click for more)

Opinion

Don't Stem The Tide Of Refugees In Tennessee

The Trump Administration has released a new executive order that could change the way that the refugee resettlement program is run in the United States. The first - and most shocking - change that is being implemented is the huge drop in refugees being allowed in the country. For the past decade, on average, around 80,000 to 90,000 refugees have been admitted per year. According ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: So Long ‘Til Next Time

There is a famous class that I’ve heard about years at Sewanee, one that is eagerly anticipated in the theology halls of the Episcopal seminary, where those hopeful of becoming priests must come to grips with one of life’s most daunting realities. Through the years I’ve talked to several of my friends who deeply appreciated the lessons because men and women of faith are each forced ... (click for more)