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MMC Receives First-gen Forward Designation

Marymount Manhattan College has been selected as a First-gen Forward institution by The Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and The Suder Foundation. The First-gen Forward designation recognizes institutions of higher education who have demonstrated a commitment to improving experiences and advancing outcomes of first-generation college students. Selected institutions receive professional development, community-building experiences, and a first look at the Center’s research and resources.

MMC has a longstanding commitment to first-generation students, who represent approximately 38% of an incoming class. A first-generation college student is a student whose parent(s) or guardian(s) has not earned a bachelor’s degree in the United States or abroad. 

Among a number of distinctive first-generation initiatives at the College, MMC’s First Generation Cohort Program (FGCP) supports first-gen students from the first year of their college education. Between mentorship, workshops, staff support, and financial aid, students who are accepted into the FGCP are provided the tools they need to succeed and thrive in each year that follows. 

“It has been an honor to amplify the work done and impact had by our small but mighty institution. Entering the First-gen Forward space puts us in a room to grow in wisdom, perspective, mentorship, and support to build deeper, intentional infrastructure for first-gen success from a 4-year lens,” said Monique Atherley, Director of MMC’s Intercultural Center.

As a First-gen Forward Institution, interested faculty and staff will be afforded multiple opportunities to engage with peer institutions who are also creating environments that improve the experiences and outcomes of first-generation students. Selected institutions will send representatives to the First-gen Forward Workshop slated for early June and will participate in monthly calls, virtual professional development, goal setting, blog development, annual reporting, and more. After two successful years in the program, institutions are eligible to apply for the Advisory leadership designation.

“The Center is pleased to welcome Marymount Manhattan College into the 2022-23 First-gen Forward cohort. Through the application process, it was evident that Marymount Manhattan College is not only taking steps to serve first-generation students but is prepared to make a long-term commitment and employ strategies that foster an environment of success for this important population,” said Dr. Sarah E. Whitley, assistant vice president, Center for First-generation Student Success.

Click here to learn more about first-generation efforts at Marymount Manhattan College. 



The Center is the premier source of evidence-based practices, professional development, and knowledge creation for the higher education community to advance the success of first-generation students. Based in Washington, DC, the Center aims to acknowledge the intersectional experiences of first-generation college students. It offers an outlet for sharing cutting-edge research and current media conversations, opportunities for engagement through online learning, conferences, and events, and access to a bevy of programs and services intended to improve first-generation initiatives across higher education.


NASPA is a member-centered association supporting a diverse and passionate network of 15,000 professionals and 1,200 institutions across the globe. It is the professional home for the field of student affairs and is dedicated to cultivating student success in collaboration with the missions of its institutional members—a network of colleges and universities representing every sector of higher education.

Published: March 16, 2022