In Lieu of the First-Gen Graduation Ceremony

Dear First-Generation College Student,

As you may already know, all graduation celebrations will be conducted online, including the First-Generation Graduation Ceremony, due to the COVID-19 outbreak. After considering several options, the First-Generation Graduation Committee, has decided to honor the graduates of 2021 on the First-Generation Student Website. We will include information about the graduates that would normally be included in the graduation program book in addition to photos and personal notes from students. Students will be able to share the webpage with their families, friends, and communities to celebrate their accomplishments and graduation from the University of Michigan.

All first-generation students, graduate and undergraduate, who are graduating this Winter or have graduated in Fall 2020, are invited to submit their information to be recognized on the website. The page will include:

– An electronic program or book of graduates WITH
– Pictures of graduates and their degrees
– Personal notes submitted by students
– Pictures of first-generation events and students from the year

Students who register will have the option of receiving an honor cord.

If you are interested in being recognized, please complete this form by April 5, 2021: SUBMIT FORM

Not having a formal ceremony is disappointing particularly for those who are the first in their families to complete such an extraordinary milestone. We appreciate your flexibility and understanding as we try to find new ways to celebrate the Class of 2021.


The First-Generation Gateway
First-Generation Graduation Committee
University of Michigan

Frequently Asked Questions

No, unfortunately, all graduation ceremonies will be conducted remotely; however, we will be recognizing graduation first-generation students on the website. This will be similar to the ceremony in which students’ profiles are displayed and each student had an opportunity to share a note of gratitude, a victory cheer, or a portion of their story. Storytelling is central to building community among first-generation students, and we are keeping storytelling central on the website recognition.

Yes, students who are interested in being included in the book can share their address in the: Graduating Student Recognition Form.

The First-Generation Graduation Committee took into consideration the limitations based on Covid-19 and input from students and staff. We looked at several options including live streaming, recorded reading of names, and more. Based on feedback, we decided the best option is to recognize and honor the graduates on the first-generation website.

Being the first to graduate with a bachelor’s or higher degree is a significant accomplishment for first-generation students as well as the families and communities that support them. We did not want the COVID-19 outbreak to prevent us from honoring and celebrating trailblazers.

Any graduating first-generation student, whether graduate or undergraduate, may complete the form to be included on the website. First-generation students are students who are the first in their families to earn a bachelor’s degree. Graduating students include students who graduate this Spring/Winter term 2021 or have graduated in Fall 2020.