The First Generation Initiative (FGI) is an institutional initiative that strives to build a connected and supportive community of first generation students, faculty, staff, and alumni/ae. The program was started in 2006 and is currently directed by Christine de Denus, an Associate Professor of Chemistry who is first generation herself. At HWS, we define first generation students as students who are the first in their immediate families (not including siblings) to attend a four-year college or university in the United States. It is important to us that all HWS students (~15% are first generation) are welcomed, supported, and encouraged to succeed to their full academic potential.

FGI News

Life as a First-Generation College Student

Marciniak Gianella '21004On the I'm First! blog, an initiative of the national nonprofit Strive for College, Gianella Marciniak '21 writes about her experience as a first-generation college student. The blog space is…
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HWS Joins the American Talent Initiative

defaultHobart and William Smith Colleges have been accepted into the American Talent Initiative (ATI), an alliance of more than 125 four-year institutions with high graduation rates that are united in enrolling, supporting…
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First-Generation Graduates

FG! Grad-00828More than 20 Hobart and William Smith graduates crossed the stage as first-generation students – the first in their families to graduate from a four-year college. In celebration of their…
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More First Generation Initiative News >>




Christine de Denus
Associate Professor of Chemistry and FGI Director


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.