On Being the First

First-generation Stories From Across the Decades

A collage of portraits of first-generation alumni.

(Illustration: Matthew Hancock)

By Kenna Caprio and Rebecca Maxon

What’s it like to be the first person in your family to graduate from college?

Hard. Scary. Exciting. Gratifying. Life-changing.

Nine alumni and one current student — a group representing eight decades of higher education, individuals who attended FDU starting in the 1960s and running up through 2022 — open up about the pressures, the opportunities and the beauty of being first.