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1850 Society aims to support first-gen grads

More than 1,000 graduates from the University of Utah’s Class of 2023 are first-generation college students. As this portion of the U’s student body continues to grow, the Office of Undergraduate Studies is working to develop innovative ways to serve first-gen students. 

One such effort is the launch of the 1850 Society. Created by the Office of First-Generation Success in partnership with the Office of Alumni Relations, the organization is for first-generation graduates from across the U to access advice, support, mentorship and opportunities to make connections with first-generation faculty, peers, alumni and friends of the U. 

“As a first-generation college graduate, I understand the value inherent in a community of supporters and advocates as first-generation students navigate a university—from a hidden curriculum of degree requirements to oddly-named offices and more,” said T. Chase Hagood, senior associate vice president for Academic Affairs and dean of Undergraduate Studies. 

Through collaboration with partners from the University Innovation Alliance and EAB, the U is drawing on evidenced-based approaches like proactive academic advising, predictive analytics and college-to-career success to enhance the U’s student persistence and completion, Hagood said. 

Over 25% of students at the U are first-generation and the Office of First-Generation Success is a supportive community dedicated to their holistic success. The 1850 Society aspires to extend the community beyond the U through our first-generation U alums, faculty, staff, and supporters.

“The ongoing work of first-generation student success is alive and well at the U. The 1850 Society will broaden the reach of the work beyond the U” said Maria Martinez, assistant dean for the Office of First-Generation Success.

As part of its mission, the 1850 Society will host a variety of events including first-generation celebration events annually in November, a spring first-gen conference, keynotes and workshops.