APRIL 6, 2023 — The University of Texas System’s Chancellor’s Centurions announced a $25,000 gift to support the UTSA First to Go & Graduate Program (F2G&G), which promotes the academic success of first-generation college students.
Chancellor’s Centurions Chair Kevin Zlotnik presented a check to Student Success Senior Director Maggie Floyd during a recent campus visit by the group. UTSA is the first institution to receive funding from the Centurions as part of their new giving program. The Chancellor's Council Executive Committee contributed to the $25,000 gift.
Founded in 2011, the Chancellor’s Centurions is an organization for young professionals who graduated from UT System schools and care deeply about the challenges and opportunities facing public higher education and health care in Texas. Centurions engage with the chancellor, UT System leadership and other leaders interested in promoting higher education and supporting health care initiatives across the state.
“We are thrilled and truly honored to receive such a generous monetary gift in support of our first-generation student program,” said Tammy Wyatt, UTSA vice provost for student success. “The donation will help us continue to empower our students to reach their full potential.”
In fall 2022, the Centurions decided to start providing funding to support pathways programs at UT institutions as part of their charitable mission. UTSA’s support of its large first-generation student population caught their attention. Forty-five percent of the university’s undergraduate students are first-generation college students.
“Once we decided as an organization to re-tool our service project to focus on first-generation college students, we did research on the programs at all the individual system institutions,” said Zlotnik. “We were extremely impressed with what UTSA was doing in the First to Go & Graduate program and the sheer percentage of first-generation students getting their education at UTSA. It was a unanimous decision for us to select UTSA for the first grant.”
During the group’s visit to UTSA, the Centurions toured the Main Campus and learned about various ways the university supports students. The group also had a chance to learn about student success programming at UTSA and heard from a panel of first-generation students who spoke about their personal experiences at UTSA.
Established in 2015, F2G&G promotes academic success, persistence and the successful graduation of participating students. It features a mentorship program where first-generation upperclassmen guide and counsel newer first-generation students at UTSA. Through regular meetings with peer mentors, students build on the assets they bring with them to UTSA as first-generation college students and learn new skills in the process.
The mentee, peer mentor and program staff form a familia or a community of support with the mentee at its core. The familia helps students navigate college life from a variety of different angles. Mentees have the unique opportunity to connect and build meaningful and long-lasting relationships with their peer mentor and fellow mentees who participate in the program. These connections aid students in building an extended network on campus and are pivotal to student success.
The F2G&G program operates out of the UTSA Office of First-Generation and Transfer Student Programs (FGTSP), which is committed to supporting first-generation and transfer students as they pursue their bachelor’s degree. Nationally recognized programs like F2G&G serve as a model for universities that want to embrace, recognize and support their unique populations in ways that increase engagement, encourage retention and positively impact graduation rates.
In 2019, FGTSP was designated a “Program to Watch” by Excelencia in Education. That same year, The National Association of Student Personnel Administrators named UTSA a top university for its programming efforts to create a supportive and empowering campus for first-generation and transfer students.
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