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The College of St. Scholastica

On November 4, 2022, The College of St. Scholastica will induct 74 first-generation college students who have demonstrated exemplary academic success into its chapter of the Alpha Alpha Alpha First-Generation Student Honor Society. A first-generation student is defined as neither parent having completed a bachelor’s degree. Both undergraduate and graduate first-generation students will be inducted at the ceremony in Mitchell Auditorium on the main campus, starting at 4 p.m. 

At St. Scholastica, 34.2% of current undergraduate students and 31.4% of current graduate students identify as first-generation. That equates to over 1000 first-generation students at the College this fall. In addition, there are nearly 100 faculty and staff who are first-generation college graduates themselves. 

“It is with tremendous pride and humility that we acknowledge the significance of having first-generation students, faculty and staff as part of The College of St. Scholastica,” stated President Barbara McDonald. “Never underestimate yourselves and the power your educational achievements give you to positively impact the world, to lead meaningful and purposeful lives.” 

At the induction ceremony, St. Scholastica will also recognize Stephanie Sklors with the 2022 First-Generation Alumni Award. Sklors has worked at the College for over 20 years, guiding first-generation high school students in the region through the college admissions process.

“I am so proud to be a first generation college student,” wrote Sklors. “When I look back on my college experiences here at St. Scholastica I offer this advice: celebrate the little victories of your journey, learn from your challenges, find your people who bring out the best in you, know that you are brave, and never alone at The College. There are silent lessons all around you that will transform and prepare you to change the world to be a better place. Forever a Saint!”

The College of St. Scholastica has a long and proud history opening the doors of educational access and social mobility. St. Scholastica was founded as a women’s college in 1912 at a time when higher education was predominantly male. In 1930, the College started the Alpha Chi Sorority as a social club for non-resident students — affectionately known as the “day hops” — who did not have financial means to live on campus. Since the mid 1990s, the College has hosted five federally-funded TRIO programs, building a pathway of first-generation student support from middle school to graduate school. In 2017, The Mobility Report Card identified St. Scholastica as the top Minnesota college for economic mobility.  In 2019, the College became the first Minnesota private college to be recognized as a First-Gen Forward institution by the NASPA First-Generation Center for Student Success.  

“First-generation means bringing new experiences, new stories, new strengths and new energy into higher education,” stated Troy Abfalter, director of the TRIO McNair Scholars program at St. Scholastica. “First-generation students not only change their own stars; they also change what is possible for The College of St. Scholastica.”

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