First Generation Initiative


banner Alisa Macksey, M.A.
Executive Director
First Generation Initiative

First Generation Initiative: An Equation for Success

The Need

Young people who are the first in their family to attend college can shatter an intergenerational cycle of poverty because when they obtain a degree, they enter jobs comparable to — and earn salaries comparable to — other entry-level professionals. But many students from low-income communities never make it to college.  And too many under-represented students are not graduating at the same rate as their classmates.

The Solution

The First Generation Initiative (FGI) of Saint Mary’s University will raise graduation rates for low-income students by transferring the focus from college access to college completion.

Why We Do It

Saint Mary’s University embraces our First Generation Initiative as a moral obligation.  In addition, it is:

  • an economic imperative — the nation needs more college graduates to fill increasingly complex professional jobs
  • a social imperative — today’s first-generation college students could be the ones who help solve chronic societal problems

Our Students Speak

Four participants from our Countdown to College summer academic boot camp, a four-year college preparation program, explain why benefactors should invest in the FGI program:

Jazmin, a sophomore in the FGI Scholars program at Saint Mary’s, explains what financial support means to her.

For more information, contact Alisa Macksey, Executive Director, First Generation Initiative, at