News, Media and Stories | First Generation

Ruth Gomez '19 in front of the Boxer Food Share
When Ruth Gomez '19 told her mother she wanted to go to college, she became her family's "Esperanza" or Hope. With the help of their sacrifices, and critical scholarships, she's on track to be the first in her family to graduate from college
Academic advisor Mike Shingle was the first in his family to attend college. Today, he helps other students navigate the college experience and find their own path to success.
About one in four Pacific University students are the first in their family to attend college. US News & World Report recently offered a series of tips for first-generation students to help them navigate their resources.
Use your social networks and ask people questions, says Mike Geraci '91. The first in his family to attend college, Geraci chose Pacific, where he went on to become an associate professor in the Department of Media Arts.
Jaye Cee Whitehead '00 came to Pacific from rural Wyoming. 'I got here and I had no idea what I was doing," she said. Today, she is an associate professor of sociology, ready and willing to help other first-generation students find their way.
When Mike Steele was told he should go to college, he named the best he'd heard of: Notre Dame. One of the most beloved professors at Pacific University, Steele went from being the first in his family to attend college to earning a PhD and living a career in academia.
The first in his family to attend college, Bob Fitzmorris '08 is a recent Pacific University graduate — who's a visiting professor at his alma mater.
A high-school counselor once doubted Jennifer Hardacker's ability to attend college. Hardacker was the first in her family to go to college and has gone on to earn a master of fine arts, become an award-winning filmmaker, and teach at Pacific University.
Jeff Grundon '80 was the first in his family to attend college. Today, he recruits other students to Pacific University.
"There are people there who are willing to support you and help your dreams come true," says Mai Vo, a Vietnam-born student who dreams of becoming a pharmacist.

Pages