Ibrahim began his life as one of Africa’s lost children, like so many others. He was born in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and cannot remember life with his birth parents. They were murdered in the country’s violent civil war when he was four years old, a time of horror in his young life blocked from memory.
Recognizing that America has become a society of diverse people and many cultures, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota has wanted to make sure that all people in all strata of today’s America have a fair shot at the dream of higher education. Dr. Jane Anderson is the academic leader behind the programs.
Janet Willis was on Facebook at one o’clock in the morning recently to tell some of her students to get off-line on a school night and go to bed. Such late night duties are not in her job description but rather in her personal commitment to help First Generation scholars to succeed.
Chris has his sights already set on his career goal after college of writing … storytelling … in motion pictures. He knows it’s a field that requires perspective, depth of vision and an understanding for the essence of wisdom. Despite his age, 19, Chris speaks with learned wisdom.
When it comes to succeeding against the odds, Markeise knows no bounds. Markeise Russell grew up living in his aunt’s home as the result of struggles in the personal lives of his parents. He didn’t know his parents well. As a child Markeise suffered from the effects of feeling unloved and unwanted by his parents.
Tiearra’s life growing up was fraught with obstacles, racism and peril at every turn. All odds were stacked against her to become yet another victim of “the system” of children without parents – African American, female and a tragic past that had been beyond her control.
While the principles upon which First Generation Initiative are based are fundamental of a Lasallian education, Brother William Mann broadened the vision during his inaugural address in 2008 at the new President of Saint Mary’s University.
Within the current public discourse about America’s shrinking middle class and the growing gulf between the extremely wealthy and the swelling ranks of poor, First Generation Initiative (FGI) is focused on increasing higher education graduation rate for low-income students.