Congratulations Class of 2021!
FIRST GENERATION GRADUATION
Overcoming the Odds
This academic year has presented challenges like none other. In the midst of a pandemic, first-generation students have dealt with changes to the delivery of their education, changes or loss of employment, national social and political unrest, and supporting their own families all the while being the first in their families to get a bachelor’s or higher degree. Having persevered through thick and thin, this year’s graduating class is a testament to Overcoming the Odds.
Words from our Senior Leaders and Best
A Message from Robert Sellers
Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion & Chief Diversity Officer
Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion
& Chief Diversity Officer
Vice President for Student Life
Our Keynote, Heather A. Carlson, PhD
Professor, College of Pharmacy
Congratulations to the Class of 2021!
A Special Video Message From The Following:
Adan HussainProgram ManagerFirst Generation Program
Clayton WickhamLecturerComprehensive Studies Program
Matthew SullivanProgram Director and LecturerSociology
Tim McKayLSA Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education and Professor in Physics, Astronomy, and Education
Beth Dutridge-CorpGraduate Education Program ManagerLSA Dean's Office - Graduate Education
Vickie CrupperSr. Associate DirectorOffice of Financial Aid
"Congratulations on your wonderful accomplishments. We know you will now go and do great things!"
Carole LapidosSuccess Connects CoachOffice of Academic Multicultural Initiatives
"Congratulations and I wish you every happiness in the future and your hard work and diligence is so admirable!!!!"
J. Ann HowerDirectorOffice of New Student Programs
"Congratulations first-generation college graduates! You have achieved an incredible milestone. Be proud of yourselves and I wish you well on your next chapter."
Betsy BrownDirector of Integrated Marketing CommunicationsEnrollment Management
"Congratulations, you did it! The U-M community is so proud of you. We cannot wait to see what you do next. Go Blue!"
Nadia BazzyDirectorMulti-Ethnic Student Affairs
"Congratulations on your amazing accomplishment of graduating from the University of Michigan! We are so proud to watch our First-Gen students move into the next phase of life and celebrate all that you have done during your time at Michigan. Forever Go Blue!"
Danielle DrosProgram ManagerFirst Year Experience
"To my fellow first gens - you are superheroes! It takes such bravery to be the first and to navigate so much newness. May the pride you're feeling never fade. Congrats on your graduation!"
Gloria Derr TaylorDirectorOffice of Academic Multicultural Initiatives
"Congratulations first-gens! You accomplished a remarkable feat for yourselves, your families, and your communities. You have paved a new path for future generations, and I know you will continue to make great strides."
Roman ChristiaensAssistant Director for Learning and DevelopmentSpectrum Center
"You did it!!! This is such an amazing milestone, and I hope that you're finding small and big ways to celebrate this impressive achievement. Congratulations first gen graduates!"
Rosario CeballoLSA Associate Dean & Professor of WGS and Psychology
"Dear First-Gen Graduates, Congratulations on your graduation and all of your achievements! As you move towards future paths that are certain to be bright and important, I hope you always remember the strength that lies in your past experiences. Congrats and ¡Felicidades!"
David SchoemRetired Adj. Associate Professor & Director of Sociology and MCSP
"Congratulations to the First-Gen Graduates! Your graduation from the University of Michigan is a tremendous accomplishment, and I couldn't be more proud of you! It has been an honor to have learned with you in my classes and/or to have worked with you in MCSP. I wish you continued success and much happiness as you go forward with compassion, kindness, and justice."
Amrita DasProgram AssistantFirst Generation Program &Graduating Student, Class of 2021
"Congratulations first-gen graduates! On top of finishing school in the midst of a global pandemic, you're absolutely phenomenal for completing your degree at (what I hear is) a pretty cool school. Please know that you deserve all the good things and the most beautiful part of your body is where it's heading! And do take time being as proud of yourself as we are of you."
Kierra D. TrotterDirectorComprehensive Studies Program
"A warm congratulations to all of you! Being the first is no easy task. You persevered and overcame the challenges in front of you, and I cannot overstate how incredible you are for graduating from one of the best institutions in the world. I know you will continue to make even greater achievements in the future."
Joelle Fundaro RandallAssistant DirectorUniversity Career Center
"Congratulations Class of 2021! As 1st Gens we know you have the courage to create a new set of ideas about what’s possible. Build your energy as if you’re preparing for a marathon, not a sprint. You got this! In the weeks and months ahead, be patient and kind to yourself as you develop and learn. The University Career Center is here to help you in your job search process and beyond. We believe in you! We are so happy for you because you did it! Congrats."
Allie HarteAssociate DirectorFirst Year Experience
"Congratulations on your graduation! You did it! As you close this chapter and move on to new adventures, know that you have worked through challenges, tried new things, made connections, and have left a lasting impact on the Michigan community. I celebrate your accomplishment and send you joy and support in this special moment!"
Kayla AndersonStudent Support CoordinatorKessler Scholars Program and LSA Scholarships
"Congratulations, first-gen graduates! With courage, each of you ventured into the unknown and came out victorious. Hail to the victors! As you look towards tomorrow, take a moment to celebrate your profound success and the example you've set for others. You have worked hard and deserve to feel proud. May you continue to prevail in all your endeavors!"
Dwight LangRetired LecturerSociology
"I was faculty advisor to First Generation College Students@Michigan from 2008 to 2019, had the honor of knowing many first-gens, and witnessed their amazing transformations. I know all of you have had similar experiences and wish everyone the very best. Your Michigan years have enabled you to thrive, not merely survive. This bodes well for you as you graduate and move on to new challenges. Always keep in mind our UM first-gen motto: We may be the first, but we won't be the last. Go Blue!"
Gail GibsonDirectorKessler Scholars Program
"To all of the 2021 first-generation graduates -- and especially the first-gen scholars in the Kessler Scholars Program -- I am thrilled to share my warmest congratulations on reaching this milestone! Each of you have made U-M a better place during your undergraduate journey, and each of you have shown enormous tenacity, curiosity, and resourcefulness. Congratulations, graduates -- we cannot wait to see what you do next!"
Javier SolorzanoProgram ManagerMulti-Ethnic Student Affairs
"Congratulations Class of 2021! You did it! I ask for all of you to use this time to thank yourself, to love yourself, and to be grateful for everything you have accomplished. Remember that there is beauty in everyone's journey. Everyone's story consists of many different chapters. Some chapters are a bit shorter than others. Some chapters are a bit funnier. And some chapters are a bit more serious. The beauty is in living through all of those chapters."
Megan TaylorProgram Manager, First Generation Program
"Congratulations on your graduation! I know you have worked so hard for this moment and that it signifies years of dreaming and dedication! We are so proud of you and your accomplishments, and hope that you take the time to celebrate yourself and allow yourself to feel that pride as well. As you take your next steps into the world, I hope you do it confidently and know that your unique strengths and resiliency will shine wherever you go! Your Michigan family will always be here to support you!"
Paula HathawayManager of Graduate EducationLSA Dean’s Office
"Congratulations First Generation graduates! This is such an exciting time of year for everyone at the UM, but most of all for graduating students and their families. You have worked so hard during your time at the university and we are so happy to celebrate all of your accomplishments. We are proud of you and we hope you are proud of your own success as well. We look forward to seeing where your next adventure takes you. Please have fun, stay safe, and forever Go Blue!"
Congratulations to our Undergraduate Speaker for the Class of 2021!
Kayla Browning is graduating with two Bachelor's degrees in Psychology and English from the University of Michigan College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.
Read Kayla's Speech about Overcoming the Odds
Congratulations to our Graduate Speaker for the Class of 2021!
Guadalupe Cervantes is graduating with a Master of Public Health from the University of Michigan School of Public Health with a concentration in Health Policy and Management.
Read Guadalupe's Speech about Overcoming the Odds
First Generation Graduating Class of 2021