Focus on First-Generation Students Earns Westminster National Recognition

Westminster is honored to be named a First-Forward institution by the National Association of Student Affairs Professionals (NASPA). First Forward is a recognition program acknowledging higher-education institutions for their commitment to first-generation student success.

The distinction will allow Westminster to expand current programming for a growing number of first-generation students on campus. Since 2016, the college’s first-generation population has doubled. Existing programs include Westminster Legacy Scholars — a scholarship program for students who are first-generation and are low-income and/or traditionally underrepresented. Legacy Scholars is a four-year program for first-year students and Legacy STEPS is a two-year program for transfer students. Support from the Larry H. and Gail Miller Family Foundation has contributed to the program’s growth.

“We have built something truly unique and special in just three years. This program set out to create a space and community for first-generation, low-income and underrepresented students,” said Daniel K. Cairo, ME.d., director of Westminster’s Student Diversity and Inclusion Center. “We knew that this demographic needed an institutional home, but more importantly, we knew that once we nurtured the potential of first-generation students, we would also realize Westminster’s vision of inclusive excellence.”