Harvard students, staff, and faculty celebrate First-Generation Visibility Week

Students and faculty gathered to celebrate First-Generation Visibility Week at Memorial Church. Photo by Bill McCormack

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Harvard celebrated  First-Generation Visibility Week, Nov. 3-9.

Launched last year, the week included a series of events aimed to empower, celebrate, and validate the identities of first-generation students at the University.

Dean Dunne speaking at podium
Harvard College Dean of Students Thomas Dunne speaks at Memorial Church during First-Gen Visibility Week. Photo by Bill McCormack

FGVW week, which is sponsored by the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations  and the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging, is an expansion of the nation-wide First-Generation College Student Celebration Day, which took place on Nov. 8. The day is sponsored by the Council for Opportunity in Education and the Center for First-generation Student Success. It mark the anniversary of President Johnson’s signing of the Higher Education Act in 1965, which created federal financial aid programs to fund college education and make key investments in colleges and universities.

As part of the celebration, Harvard College Dean of Students Thomas Dunne spoke about his own first-gen journey during Morning Prayers at Memorial Church. Dunne shared Harvard’s commitment to supporting the first-gen community, citing the inscription on the Memorial Church bells, “in memory of voices that are hushed” as evidence of the work still left to do.

Students and community members were invited to join in a post-prayer breakfast sponsored by the Graduate Commons Program in the Memorial Church Student Oasis to meet other first-gen students and staff members who support the community.

Learn more about First Gen Visibility Week by visiting the Harvard Foundation.